Connections between programs and investments facilitate impact. Philanthropic foundations are increasingly looking to use their balance sheets to deliver impact directly through impact investments. Gaps in knowledge, terminology, and problem solving approaches between program staff and impact investors create challenges, however. We have helped foundations, both long-standing impact investors and new institutions just building their capabilities, more closely integrate their program strategies and impact investments. For example, working with the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, we reviewed their mission investments over the last 30 years to gather lessons and propose changes that could better align investments and grantmaking for the sake of impact.

Sector-specific strategies that integrate grantmaking and investing inform decision-making. Bridging the institutional gaps only solves part of the challenge of effectively deploying impact investments. We have helped develop strategies that build on the grantmaking activity already underway and identify the opportunities for impact investing to increase the social impact of the whole portfolio. We helped the Packard Foundation, the ClimateWorks Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation scan the climate sector for grant strategy-aligned opportunities for impact investment. With these opportunities in hand and set in the context of a clear strategy, foundations can invest more quickly and accelerate their deal flow.