Blog | 14 July 2020

Mission Critical Investment

When the Heron Foundation revolutionised its investment model it raised eyebrows and plaudits across the spectrum from small non-profits to Wall Street. Its mission to help people and communities help themselves out of poverty drove a massive revision of its strategy resulting in a commitment to invest in organisations able to help achieve its mission no matter what the sector or tax status. The Heron Foundation blazed a trail investing 100 percent of its endowment for mission in 2017.

At the helm through this huge strategic change was Clara Miller, now President Emeritus of the Foundation, who found herself honoured in the Nonprofit Times “Power and Influence Top 50”, Inside Philanthropy’s “50 Most Powerful Women in US Philanthropy” and the University of New Hampshire’s Social Innovator of the Year, 2017.

In an article for Stanford Social Innovation Review Miller urged others to take a critical look at their investments in line with mission, making it a priority for her and the Heron Foundation to form networks to share thought, learnings and action with others.

“We harbor [sic] no illusion of being a unique, prophetic voice in American philanthropic or financial markets. In fact, success requires a chorus rather than a soloist.” wrote Miller, continuing “the F. B. Heron Foundation is not in a position, purely on its own, to make much of an aggregate difference in the way investors, enterprises, and labor [sic] markets function. Neither, for that matter, is any other single philanthropic actor, even much larger ones. Ultimately, we will succeed by influencing the attitudes and behavior [sic] of many other investors, perhaps beginning with philanthropy but extending well beyond.”

Clara Miller appears in this year’s Summit Special Edition to share her work and her learnings driven by an intellectual curiosity to address the urgency and size of the problems we face, exploring a new look Philanthropy Financial Tool Kit which includes investment as a mission critical resource accessing all asset classes and all enterprise types.

Read more about Clara Miller’s 7 lessons learned on the way to 100 percent in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Clara Miller Biography

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