A MESSAGE FROM FEDERATION LEADERSHIP
At the Federation, we aspire to become a participatory and innovative Jewish community foundation that is infused with Jewish values and reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of our region. We are humbled to be entrusted with the significant philanthropic assets of our donor community — over $2 billion in more than 1,100 donor-advised funds and supporting foundations, plus our endowment funds — and we feel a deep and moral obligation to seek out meaningful, impactful ways to put it to work. Inspired by Maimonides’ teaching that the highest form of giving is to help someone in need become self-supporting, in 2020 we developed a strategy and roadmap for impact investing with an initial focus on “impact lending.”
Loaning money from philanthropic funds is an important and increasingly accessible way to build economic equity and inclusion for perennially underserved individuals, small business owners, and nonprofits. We are doing this together as a community by pooling assets from multiple philanthropic funds. We then make low-interest loans to mission-driven financial institutions that are working to close persistent funding gaps in marginalized communities across the United States and in Israel.
Because we expect to be repaid, often with some interest, these loans are considered investments, but they are investments focused on impact first. This is not about maximizing financial return. It’s about leading with impact, as a complement to the grantmaking that we have always done and will continue to do. The goal is to enable our significant philanthropic capital to do good — in the form of providing fair, affordable credit to those who need it — while it is waiting to be granted out.
We have now invested $21 million with 13 different mission-oriented financial institutions, and we are delighted to share our progress and aspirations for the future with you here.
It is a privilege to work with our donors, community, and strategic partners as we apply our Jewish values in innovative ways to create transformative impact.