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Impact Investing

Impact Investing

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation strives to exercise a positive influence for a just social order. Accordingly, no investments are made in industries or entities that are considered socially undesirable, as determined by the Catherine Donnelly Foundation from time to time. In addition, in all its investment decisions the Catherine Donnelly Foundation will take into consideration relevant environment, social and governance factors. We acknowledge that it is a challenge and struggle to continually invest funds to the highest ethical standards however we have benefited from developing policies to guide us.

Facing injustice against Indigenous peoples, the environment, the impoverished and uprooted peoples who arrive here, Canadians need extraordinary solutions. Given our mission to promote positive change, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation (CDF) joins a growing momentum of Impact Investing.
Mary Corkery, Board Chair

Impact investing is a subset of responsible investing (RI) and socially responsible investing (SRI). The Catherine Donnelly Foundation embraces all three strategies. RI and SRI take environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into account in investment selection. SRI often uses positive or negative screens on investments in what can be seen as a do no harm proposition. Impact investing goes a step further, as investors actively seek out the positive social and or environmental objectives they wish to see delivered together with a financial return.

For the CDF, our impact investing has materialized as the purposeful advancement of investor-defined social and/or environmental objectives through direct investing. Embracing impact investment as direct investment has been an important aspect of the CDFs evolution. In a practical sense, this is the major operational shift impact investing requires of foundations or endowments. While traditionally most foundation investments are managed through an investment broker or other intermediary, impact investment often requires hands-on deal analysis and decision making.

Engaging with our capital, and fully understanding its power, is a matter of ethical integrity for foundations and endowments. For the Catherine Donnelly Foundation (CDF) there is an inherent contradiction if our granting towards a healthier environment is funded by the proceeds of “dirty” investments.
Jason Dudek, Past Chair/Investment Committee Chair

Impact itself should be simple and not laden down with complexity, vagueness or defined externally by experts. Impact must be measurable but more importantly it should be fundamentally linked to an investments core revenue generating activities. Specifically, the CDF seeks what we call an Integrity of Return from its impact investments wherein the investments core business is directly linked to the desired social/environmental impact. Check out our current impact investments here.

The CDF has made considerable progress to date in reaching our own internal impact investment goals. Our findings, learnings, successes and failures are documented in Impactful Investment Capital as a Force for Good: Moving from Theory to Practice.

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Divestment Report


Impactful Investment Report cover



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The Catherine Donnelly Foundation's work extends to regions across Canada, and we acknowledge the treaty rights and the unceded Aboriginal rights and title of Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island.