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Impact investing: Foundations doing well by doing good

August 27, 2016 - Maja Beckstrom, Pioneer Press.

Two years ago The McKnight Foundation took a close look at its $2 billion endowment and found a contradiction. The large Minneapolis family foundation was giving millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations to slow climate change and simultaneously making money off coal mines and power generating companies that burn coal and put carbon into the atmosphere.

“We had investments that were working at cross purposes with our grant-making goals,” said McKnight president Kate Wolford. Since then, McKnight has removed coal from its bond and some stock portfolios. But even more radically, it has changed its investment approach entirely and is reinvesting 15 percent of its endowment, or $300 million, into a range of assets that reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable growth...

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