Impact Investing for Foundations & Endowments

Foundations &
Individuals &
Institutions &

Public Corporate Foundation Case Study

Sonen Capital was engaged by a foundation that serves as the philanthropic arm of a large public corporation. The foundation seeks to support inclusive economies where individuals, businesses and communities can thrive. Initially, the foundation worked with Sonen to lead educational workshops, produce an impact investing policy statement (IIPS), and to defined impact objectives and asset allocation.


Since then, the work has evolved into a partnership to implement the foundation’s financial and impact objectives and transition from a 100% public markets portfolio to a diversified multi-asset class portfolio. Sonen’s work allocates to investments that support the client’s mission to promote inclusive economic growth by supporting gender and racially diverse small and growing businesses.


Sample investments for this organization are briefly noted below.

Public Corporate Foundation Sample Investments

  • Fixed Income/Impact Notes

    Senior debt investment in a U.S. non-profit provider of affordable financing to smallholder farmers and agricultural cooperatives in Latin America and broader Emerging Markets

  • Absolute Return

    Woman-led fund providing affordable
    debt financing to women-led businesses
    in Southeast Asia.

  • Venture capital

    Diverse-led fund of funds focusing on emerging fund managers and founders in the U.S. tech sector, specifically targeting funds and companies led by Women and/or Black, LatinX, and LGBTQ individuals

    Family Legacy Foundation Case Study

    A foundation with a 75-year legacy that works to advance peace, health and sustainability works with Sonen Captial to invest in line with this mission. When Sonen started working with the foundation, it was investing with sustainable and social intentions, primarily with negative screens in a largely liquid portfolio. As part of this assignment, Sonen provided educational impact investing sessions with leadership to build a common understanding of impact investing. After extensive portfolio reviews and active listening sessions with the board, investment committee and staff, we co-created a roadmap for an impact investing policy statement (IIPS) for more targeted and mission-aligned investments.


    Since then, we have actively managed the portfolio consistent with their IIPS and added alternative asset classes such as hedge funds, private equity and real assets alongside allocations to stocks and bonds.

    Family Legacy Foundation Sample Investments

    • Fixed Income

      Fund investing in debt instruments supporting home ownership, small businesses, and community development projects in low- and moderate-income areas across the U.S.

    • Impact Notes

      Direct debt investment in a new Black/woman-founded fund-of-funds manager seeking to support black-, indigenous-, people of color-, and women-led managers and companies.

    • Private Debt

      Loan facility providing low-cost liquidity and technical assistance to community lenders and minority-owned small businesses in the U.S.

      Deep Impact Family Foundation Case Study

      For this foundation, building a movement for impact investing, and investing 100% of their assets in impact, has been at the core of this foundation’s work.


      The foundation challenged Sonen to develop a new way to build an investment portfolio that would align with the foundation’s values and purpose, while also ensuring their ability to meet financial obligations. Within an eight-year period, their portfolio went from 2% impact to a diversified (by geography, impact themes and sectors), multi-asset class portfolio that was 99.5% invested in impact investments.

      Deep Impact Family Foundation Sample Investments

      • PRI

        Program Related (low-rate debt) Investment supporting the expansion of a sustainable fishery near Monterey Bay, California

      • Real Assets

        Sustainable timber fund based in the U.S. Pacific Northwest with emphasis on carbon sequestration and carbon credit sales.

      • Real Assets

        Equity investment in a fund seeking to primarily generate profits with the sale of carbon credits generated through sustainable forestry, grasslands restoration, sustainable agriculture, and methane capture.

        Multi-Generational Family Foundation Case Study

        A national, multi-generational family foundation committed to creating a more just and democratic society selected Sonen to lead it through and education and decision-making process on impact investing. We held listening sessions with the foundation’s key constituents including the board, investment committee, staff and family members as part of a plan to determine the extent of the organization’s appetite for impact investing. The outcome was a decision to align 100% of the foundation’s assets with their values.

        Developed strategy and IPS