Gingras Global Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 46

Battle Creek Community Foundation Embraces Impact Investing

Q & A with Brenda Hunt and Romy Kochan

Romy Kochan: When did you start to consider 'impact investing' as a

community foundation? What was the attraction?

Brenda Hunt: We have been doing a number of unique “one-off”

transactions for nearly 15 years. However, we really came to begin to

recognize this work as Impact Investing approximately 6 years ago. Staff

spent over a year learning and being involved with some of the private

foundation leaders and private investor leaders. The CEO attended the

first mission/impact investment conference in New York City in 2012.

Other staff and a Trustee attended in 2013. In 2014 we began an

education process with the Board of Trustees. This education process

turned in to a pilot with the formation of a task force in the spring of

2016. After 18 months we are still in the pilot “task force” stage.

However, we completed some transactions and much research during

this time period.

Romy Kochan: Why do you feel your organization needs to consider it

seriously now?

Brenda Hunt: There are two very important reasons: first of all, given the

complexity of the social needs and the level of capital that is required,

we will not be able to “grant” our way to success. We need to deploy

more resources (assets) in order to make a significant impact that even

touches the need. Second; historically, Battle Creek has had

philanthropic dollars available. Many, many situations have been

addressed both successfully and not so successfully thru the granting of

funds. Battle Creek needs to overcompensate in putting a focus on

business practice, revenue generation, and investor attraction. By adding

impact investing to the philanthropic “tools” portfolio philanthropy can

attract and drive more business and more investment from more sources

and thus create more positive impacts!