Reports / Reports

Unlocking Capital, Activating a Movement

Impact investing involves “investors seeking to generate both financial return and social and/or environmental value—while at a minimum returning capital, and, in many cases, offering market rate returns or better.” The Rockefeller Foundation’’s impact investing initiative has sought to address the “lack of intermediation capacity and leadership to generate collective action” that was constraining the small but rapidly growing impact investing industry.

Carried out in 2011, the evaluation of the initiative aimed to evaluate the relevance, rationale, effectiveness, influence, and sustainability of the initiative through document review, portfolio analysis, interviews with more than 90 impact investing leaders based in 11 countries, participant observation at industry events, and organizational assessment. The external evaluation team also conducted a scan of the impact investing industry’s evolution over the past four years (summarized in a companion report).

Given the rapidly changing and emergent nature of the impact investing field, the evaluators were asked to frame their findings for the initiative in the context of findings for the field as a whole, to help guide the recommendations for the Foundation and for leaders in the field more broadly.