10 Ways GCG Members Can Engage in 2015 & Beyond

October 28, 2015

The calendar year is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your GCG membership in 2015! Here are 10 ways to engage before the end of the year.

DEI Affinity Group Mtg_2-17-2015 1101) Attend a program

We offer about 35 programs annually for GCG Members. Visit our Programs & Events page to see the list of upcoming programs. Or, check out GCG’s Upcoming Programs in our What Gives? weekly newsletter.

2) Pitch a program

GCG Members are in the unique position to work with our staff to develop and present a program to the GCG Membership. Some of our most successful programs in the past were initiated by a GCG Member. Contact Clare at GCG to pitch your program ideas for 2016.

3) Share your news

GCG is always on the lookout for news about our Members to include in issues of What Gives? Whether it’s a press release about your impactful giving or an article featuring your organization or staff,  your peers are interested. Contact GCG and share your news with us. We’ll make sure the rest of the GCG Membership hears about what you’re doing.

4) Like us on Facebook

We regularly update our Facebook page with photos and information. Stay up to date with all the latest news on what GCG Members and Staff are doing in the St. Louis community.

5) Join an affinity group

GCG has several affinity groups within our membership that gather for programs within their area of interest, including sessions for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Funders; Early Childhood Funders, and Education Funders.  We recently added a discussion group on Impact Investing.

6) Utilize the GCG Collaborations Directory

This year, GCG released an updated regional Collaborations Directory, which is a dynamic resource for GCG Members seeking information and engagement opportunities. Catalogued by subject matter, there are a total of 73 listings that can provide grantmakers with opportunities to partner with others.

7) Attend the Annual Meeting

Every January, we host our Annual Meeting—our organizations’ largest gathering of grantmakers, nonprofit partners and community leaders to celebrate the strength of philanthropy in St. Louis. We work hard on preparing an informative and enjoyable event for all. Our theme this year is “Philanthropy on the Map” and the event will be held at the Trolley Room in Forest Park Visitor’s Center on Friday, January 22, 2016.

8) Write a blog post

Be a guest blogger on the GCG Blog. In 2016, we are revving up our social media presence and want to feature our favorite people—our Members! If you have a perspective that you wish to share, a challenging question that your organization has encountered or particular insights about the field, please consider submitting a post.

9) Submit a research request

On-demand research services are available exclusively for Members to learn who’s doing what in the community and nationally, as well as the latest trends and best practices are in grantmaker areas of interest.

10) Join a GCG Committee

As a membership organization, GCG relies on member volunteers to help our staff consider and develop consistent programming and new initiatives.  Committees include: Programs & Services, Finance, Engagement, Governance, Audit and Executive Committee. Contact the GCG staff if you are interested in joining one of our volunteer committees.

Impact Investing: An Overview

July 7, 2015

This spring, five graduate students at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis worked collaboratively to research and report on the rapidly growing field of impact investing.

Under this framework, charitable assets are used to invest in projects that generate revenue (financial return) as well as providing direct community benefits.

Thank you to Jennifer Dilley, Sarah Fisher, Michelle Mowry, Delilah Papke and Gulcan Yayla for their work.

A blog post based on their research follows.

GWB Students

Impact Investing Overview

Impact investing is an investment strategy where “investments [are] made into companies, organizations and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return” (Global Impact Investing Network, n.d.). This strategy merges the financial and philanthropic sectors and allows investors to “do more” with fewer dollars (Kathuria & Murray, 2013). Impact investments can be made across asset classes and generate below market-rate and risk-adjusted rate returns (Global Impact Investing Network, n.d.). There are five main impact investing vehicles: mission-related investments, program-related investments, social impact bonds, enterprise philanthropy, and hybrid models. Success is based on both social and financial returns, which are often measured using the Impact Reporting and Investing Standards (IRIS) metrics as a standardized form of measurement.

Program-Related Investing

Program-Related Investing (PRI) is an impact investment vehicle in which a foundation finances charitable organizations or commercial ventures for charitable purposes. PRI involves financing methods often associated with banks or other private investors—such as loans, loan guarantees, linked deposits, and equity investments—requires principal return, and earns a below-market, risk-and mission-adjusted return varying from 1-3% (Emerson 2003). To be program-related, the investments must significantly further the foundation’s exempt activities. The Internal Revenue Service defines PRI as any investment by a foundation that meets the following three criteria: (1) Its primary purpose is to further some aspect of the foundation’s charitable mission, (2) The production of income or the appreciation of property is not a significant purpose of the PRI, and (3) It may not be used to support any lobbying or political campaign activities (Internal Revenue Service, 2015). Between 2000 and 2010, the Foundation Center tracked 427 foundations that provided 3,757 PRIs totaling $3.39 billion.

PRI allows foundations to achieve their program-related goals, such as allowing the Rockefeller Foundation to increase asset ownership, accessing financial services and creating jobs for marginalized individuals. It also benefits foundations by helping them generate earned income, gain access to new funding, and develop new financial management history. However, PRI includes many challenges for smaller foundations that lack knowledge of PRI and expertise in PRI management. First, PRIs entail significant transaction costs that disadvantage smaller foundations. In addition, appropriate opportunities for smaller foundations may be difficult to find because of necessary due diligence and having programmatic, financial, and legal skills on staff (Raymond, 2010). Although PRI is a viable investment vehicle with the potential to generate financial and social returns, it is not an appropriate strategy for all investors.

Mission-Related Investing

Mission-related investing advances an organization’s mission and align its fiscal policies with its social objectives (Trillium Asset Management Company, 2007). It reduces disparities between funding and mission by using up to 100% of an organization’s assets to promote its mission and carry out fiduciary duty (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 2008). MRI is feasible for foundations, nonprofits, and for-profit corporations and can be made through cash deposits, fixed-income securities, private and public equities, and real estate (Aspen Institute, 2015). A key aspect of MRI is generating a satisfactory financial return. Optimally, MRIs earn a market-rate return (Richter, 2010) large enough to fund grants (Trillium Asset Management Company, 2007). Resources like the US Community Investing Index or the Calvert Mutual Fund can help organizations identify MRI opportunities.

MRIs’ strengths are their ability to align a foundation’s mission and fiscal policy by using the endowment to advance the mission. The return on an MRI can be used to fund grants, increasing the impact an organization can have on a social issue. Furthermore, as MRIs can be made at various rates of social and economic risk, organizations with both large and small asset portfolios can engage in MRI. Challenges include concerns about the risks to fiduciary duty, which requires the leadership to preserve the endowment by investing prudently (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 2008). Some organizations may feel forced to choose between social and financial returns in MRI (Aspen Institute, 2015). Furthermore, as it can be hard to recruit financial advisors who are well versed in MRI, these concerns can be difficult to resolve (Kramer & Cooch, 2007).

Social Impact Bonds

Social impact bonds (SIB) are utilized through performance-based contracting in social sectors, where the government pays for the project financing only if predetermined goals are reached. There are four main with SIB: nonprofits, or service providers, are responsible for offering services to the communities; investors finance the project and expect to be repaid by the government with a rate of return at the end of the project; governments pay back the investors if the predetermined performance criteria are achieved; and finally intermediaries are responsible for the facilitation of the process and also may serve as an independent evaluator of the results. The evaluation process is the basis of SIBs. Defining the evaluation metrics and assigning targets to these metrics directly determines the success of a project.

Although SIBs are acclaimed to be innovative solutions that can potentially address high cost social problems while removing the burden of financing and the risk from government to private investors, real world applications are limited. The first SIB in the world (UK, 2010) was established with the goal of reducing recidivism among male offenders in Peterborough Prison by 7.5%. 17 investors raised £5 million for the 6-year project. Since the results will be evaluated at the end of 2016, it is too early to tell whether the goal of 7.5% reduction will be achieved. However, early official results indicate a possible success. Following the UK, the US started experimenting with SIBs. The pilot projects started in 2011, and last year, in 2014, the largest SIB in the US was financed with a total of $21.3 million in the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Pay for Success Initiative. Goldman Sachs became the main sponsor of the project by investing $9 million. Although the official results of this investment vehicle are yet to be seen, SIBs can be potential tools to finance huge social problems, as long as the players do not sacrifice addressing the root causes of complex problems by favoring a few short-term performance metrics.

Enterprise Philanthropy

Enterprise philanthropy, also known as venture philanthropy, performance philanthropy, or high-engagement grant making (Fahmy, 2004), “applies the principles and tools of venture capital to the social sector” (Day, 2015). This type of investment strategy targets funds towards early stage for-profit and nonprofit organizations well suited to make a significant social impact. Venture philanthropy can be made across asset classes and recoup varying rates of return; however, many investments simply add more accountability to the traditional grant making process and do not achieve any return on the principal. This type of investment is catalytic, viable across sectors and very transparent to investors. However, it can also be risky, and limited data has made its overarching success unclear.

There are five key elements to successful enterprise philanthropy: 1) a long-term plan (three to six years); 2) a managing partner relationship; 3) accountability for results; 4) provision of cash and expertise; and 5) a well-crafted exit strategy (Center for Venture Philanthropy, 2014). The defining features of venture philanthropy are the managing partner relationship, the accountability for results and the provision of financial and nonfinancial resources. Investors and fund managers remain intimately involved with the investee for the duration of the investment. Because the investment is contingent upon reaching concrete goals, they also typically receive quarterly updates on the organization’s progress. Finally, investors and fund managers provide nonfinancial resources, often in the form of consulting resources, which help the investee implement successful management practices.

Hybrid Models

Created through classic non-profit and for-profit structures, hybrid organizations function as integrated models that create deep social impact and revenue, aligning social benefit and profitability. They achieve social goals through their business practices and extend into various sectors, such as career development, the food industry, healthcare, and technology. Hybrid models offer a bold, sustainable infusion of humanitarian principles into modern capitalism (Battilana et al. 2012) and should be led by individuals who can strategize, analyze, and operate a business while remaining devoted to a social cause. There are two forms of hybrid organizations: a Low-Profit Limited Liability Company (L3C) in the United States and Community Interest Companies in the United Kingdom.

The advantages of hybrid models are that they retain the integrity of the explicitly business and nonprofit worlds, can protect the non-profit status of an organization, and they offer flexibility and adaptability to change (Furr et al. 2014). Hybrid models encourage investors to engage in impact investing and collaborate with other investors. The versatility of the model attracts different types of investors on both the for-profit and the non-profit side. Hybrid models can grow out of either a for-profit or a non-profit, thereby making it an accessible and versatile impact investment tool.  However, special care must be taken to ensure for-profit funds go to non-profit efforts, and additional overhead may be required for both branches of the organization to thrive. Navigating the different forms of funding for hybrid models – and the difficulty of rigidly and completely defining hybrid models – can be intimidating for grant makers unfamiliar with the process (Muller, 2015). Finally, limited research on hybrid models may discourage traditional funders who seek low-risk investments from entering this investment space (Dichter et al, 2014).

Impact investing represents an exciting form of innovation within the philanthropic sphere, and the many different vehicles of impact investing make it accessible to various types of funders and philanthropists. Although its newness can seem intimidating to prospective investors, the potential for addressing social issues through collaboration and effective use of donor dollars renders impact investing an innovation worth exploring.

Gateway Center for Giving Corporate Roundtable: June 3, 2015

June 5, 2015

Engaging Veterans:  This week the Gateway Center for Giving Corporate Roundtable featured FullSizeRender (2)“Engaging Veterans: Philanthropy and Employment Practices,” an online program offered by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC).

The BCCCC webinar focused on the ways that companies are using the valuable skills and experience of military veterans, both through their philanthropy initiatives and employment efforts.

Participants heard from Robin Boggs, US Corporate Citizenship lead at Accenture and Maggie Pollard, Manager at Accenture, who discussed Operation: Employment, their overall effort to support veterans through external efforts (e.g. build capacity of NPO partners, engage Accenture’s employees in veterans’ initiatives in their local communities) and internal efforts (e.g. recruit, retain, and engage military and veterans as employees). The Accenture representatives provided highlights on their own targeted tools that help them to employ veterans, from military career coaching to online digital and technology skills training. Accenture partners with local, national and flagship organizations, which they say is the key to their success in building out their veterans’ employment practice.  By 2020, Accenture has committed to hire 5000 veterans.

Next, Paul Weigel, Directory of Community Affairs at Outerwall (which is the parent company for Coinstar, Redbox and ecoATM; with 66,500 kiosks worldwide), discussed the company’s efforts in this space.  Outerwall uses internal business resource groups, such as “Armed Forces & Allies,” to support organizational initiatives that engage veterans and to drive the corporate behavior which attracts new employees. The corporation also utilizes tools like a micro-site for veterans to conduct job searches that match civilian job codes with military job codes.  Additionally, Outerwall participates in job fairs targeting transitioning veterans and partners with veterans groups that assist in skill set development and foster community involvement, giving leaders within the company the opportunity to coach and mentor veterans..

Both companies recommend looking for opportunities that align with your own business operations, and encourage organizations to think broadly about intersections that exist in the space in order to have holistic impact in the internal and external communities. Many good national partners are out there; employees can tell you what is important to them, so encourage that feedback.

Local funders: A number of Gateway Center for Giving members are currently funding a range of initiatives focused on engaging veterans, including Enterprise Holdings, Boeing, Express Scripts, Maritz, Ameren, and the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation.

Funder Strategies: Updates & Information A ‘Meet the Donor’ Program

April 30, 2015

Nonprofits, Community Members, and Grantmakers: Join the Gateway Center for Giving to hear from a panel of local funders describing updates they have made to their funding strategies in order to support increased impact in our community.

Featured grantmakers will include:

  • The Boeing Company
  • Deaconess Foundation
  • Mid-America Transplant Services / Donate Life Foundation
  • Nestle Purina
  • St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund

As at all Meet the Donor programs, it is important to note that we follow a Good Guest, Good Host policy, in which attendees are asked to refrain from making fundraising requests during, and immediately before and after the program.

When:  May 27, 3:00-5:00pm
Where:  The Missouri History Museum, Des Lee Auditorium
Open to:  Center Member Grantmakers, NonMember Grantmakers, Nonprofits, Community Members

Register for this program by clicking here!


  • General Admission (Nonprofits, Grantmakers, Community Members): $20.00
  • AFP Members: $15.00

Thank you to Wells Fargo Advisors and AFP for supporting this program. Special thanks to the Missouri History Museum for hosting.

Please contact Clare Brewka at clare@centerforgiving.org with questions about this program.

New Grant Reporting Tool Helps Funders Assess Effectiveness

March 25, 2015

The Gateway Center for Giving is pleased to announce the launch of a new Grant Reporting Tool, consisting of general tips and a menu of core questions that are considered best practices in effective grant reporting.  The Grant Reporting Tool and accompanying resources are available on the Gateway Center for Giving website, www.centerforgiving.org. Read the rest of this entry »

Gateway Center President & CEO Highlights Philanthropy in DC

March 20, 2015

Gateway Center President & CEO, Deb Dubin, traveled to Washington DC for the past week to highlight the positive impacts of philanthropy.

Philanthropy creates thriving communities: I spent several days this week for Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), the centerpiece event during Philanthropy Week in Washington. FOTH is hosted by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, in partnership with the Council on Foundations.

This year, more than 190 foundation leaders and regional associations from 31 states and the District of Columbia met with their members of Congress to highlight the role and impact of philanthropy.

During my visit, I had the opportunity to meet directly with Missouri leaders including Congressman Lacy Clay and his staff, Senator Roy Blunt and his staff, and tax counsel to Senator Claire McCaskill.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gateway Center for Giving Celebrates the Strength of Philanthropy in St. Louis

January 30, 2015

St. Louis, January 30, 2015—The Gateway Center for Giving convened 165 grantmakers and nonprofits at the Gateway Center’s Annual Meeting today to celebrate the generosity of donors in the St. Louis region and recognize four award winners for their grantmaking excellence and impact. Gateway Center members collectively represent more than $3.8 billion in charitable assets, of which more than $274 million are deployed in the St. Louis region each year.  Read the rest of this entry »


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