Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has reaffirmed its commitment to impact investing through a $200 million allocation for social investments and the announcement of Kimberlee Cornett as director of its impact investment strategy. The funds are being targeted at bolstering the Foundation’s program goals and the community development finance system by providing capital and guarantees to organizations that lend and/or invest in low- and moderate-income communities.
Done strategically, impact investing can create both bottom-line financial returns for investors and improve health, well-being, and equity. Philanthropic investment and loan guarantees can also lower perceived risk and encourage other investors such as banks, insurance companies, or family offices to come to the table.
“We see impact investing as an important tool in concert with grantmaking, research, policy change, and communications,” said RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser, MD. “Our hope is to engage a broader set of philanthropic and commercial investors who share our goal for a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being for everyone in America.”
Cornett is widely known for her work in impact investing and was previously managing director of the Kresge Foundation’s Social Investment Practice. Her appointment acknowledges the Foundation’s belief in the value of impact investing as a tool to promote health equity.
“RWJF has a unique set of assets that position the foundation to be a catalytic investor—a focus on community conditions, deep content expertise, strong partnerships with government, business, community and faith-based groups, significant grantmaking resources, and a commitment to capitalize on investable ideas,” said Cornett. “Accelerating its impact investing work provides the Foundation new tools to make engaging capital markets a necessary part of changing community conditions.”
As part of the $200 million effort, RWJF has completed several impact investments to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and to support the community development finance system:
- A $2 million guarantee to New Jersey Community Capital to support small businesses economically hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic
- A $5 million guarantee commitment to the Community Investment Guarantee Pool, the first multi-investor pool of guarantees for community development in the United States
- Up to $4 million guarantee for Inclusiv to support community development credit unions
Learn more about the Foundation’s impact investment work.