Big Funders Pool $12.5 Million for Policy, Advocacy and Research

Some of America’s largest investors in social impact issues got together and mulled over the question: What do organizations involved in social impact work have the hardest time getting money to do?

The answers: The public engagement necessary to draw more investments, and the evaluation required to assess the impact of those investments.

Thus spawned the Tipping Point Fund (TPF), a $12.5 million account that will support areas of operation “best suited for collective action but that are unlikely to be funded through market activity alone.”

“We must take a more collaborative approach that brings together the financial and intellectual resources of those who are committed to growing this field with integrity,” said Fran Seegull, executive director of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, which will assist in managing TPF on behalf of its funders, in a statement.

The alliance put together a coalition of impact investors to study the gaps in support for the organizations that carry out work in fields including child welfare, justice and environmental protection. The group singled out two:

Public engagement: Communications campaigns and policy advocacy
Data, metrics and measurement: Standard impact measurement and management fundamentals, and “data interoperability.”

Ford Foundation CEO Darren Walker described the fund as “a clarion call to action for those who are committed to the sustainability and well-being of the impact investing market. While we are pleased to welcome so many new entrants to this space and to witness the surge in capital invested for impact, there is also a shared obligation to support the field in order to close these critical market gaps.”

TPF’s initial funders are:

• Blue Haven Initiative
• David and Lucile Packard Foundation
• Ford Foundation
• John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
• Omidyar Network
• Rockefeller Brothers Fund
• Surdna Foundation
• The Rockefeller Foundation
• Visa Foundation
The fund expects to announce an inaugural slate of grantees in early 2020. The fund will put out more specific eligibility rules, and a request for proposals, in the coming weeks.

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1158 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.