February 2020, just before the pandemic was daily news, Realize Impact launched it’s philanthropic investment service. At the time we had just one signed partner, Seattle Foundation.
In February we quietly launched, informing just a few people in the impact investing industry. By June, over $1.1 million of capital had flowed through the service from a few dozen donor/investors into five investees.
By the end of the year, millions more was donated and with that Realize Impact took those donors’ advice and invested the capital into 17 companies and funds.
Another unknown from February is how well this service would work with the other community foundations and other DAF sponsors. It worked seamlessly. There were almost 100 donations in total for the year, including multiple donations from Fidelity Charitable, Schwab Charitable, and Vanguard Charitable, from Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Jewish Community Foundation of San Francisco, Seattle Foundation, and a few other smaller community foundations, and from other DAF sponsors such as Impact Assets, Bessemer Trust, RSF Social Finance, and Tides. Plus there were a few fresh philanthropic gifts including cash through PayPal and appreciated shares through Fidelity Investments.
In short, the service works. It worked in 2020 far better than any of us imagined back in February when it was launched.
What comes next? More. It wasn’t until the end of 2020 that we started spreading the word around the industry that this service exists. Those conversations led to us spinning up more turnkey funds, including one with Mission Driven Finance.
We have new ideas beyond just more donations, more investments, and more funds in 2021. More on that as those ideas turn into add-on services.
Meanwhile, if there is an impact investment you’d like to make using your DAF or foundation or fresh philanthropic gift. Our service really is as simple as it sounds. Donate. Recommend. We’ll do the rest, and if whatever capital comes back from that investment, we’ll donate 99% back into your DAF/foundation to be recycled to do more good.