Amid unprecedented economic fallout from Covid-19 and renewed racial equality and climate change action efforts, Social Finance is reexamining the role charitable capital can play in supporting local communities in need. Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are charitable giving accounts administered by public charities. Despite this, most of the $200 billion in DAF assets worldwide are invested passively in traditional market-rate investments that don’t directly contribute to charitable purposes.

Our Approach

Social Finance works with DAF sponsors and impact-first recipient organizations to deploy more DAF capital toward impact-first investments, such as affordable housing, climate solutions, financial inclusion, and education and training. Investments are made through recoverable grants to create a sustainable, recyclable pool of capital. Our offerings are turnkey to meet the specific needs of our partners. We accomplish this by:

  • Activating DAF sponsors through surveys to assess donor demand for impact-first investments and determining impact investing solutions that align with their donors’ philanthropic interests and their organizations’ charitable priorities.
  • Engaging and galvanizing DAF donors via surveys, focus groups, webinars, and email campaigns.
  • Curating, vetting, and packaging thematic portfolios of place-based, impact-first investment opportunities.
  • Building the capacity of DAF sponsors to broaden their toolkit beyond traditional grantmaking to include recoverable grants and low-cost, impact-first loans.

“Silicon Valley Community Foundation believes we have the responsibility to help guide our donors in maximizing their philanthropic dollars not only through traditional grantmaking but also through place-based and impact-first investments. Partnering with Social Finance has allowed us to expand the tools we offer our donors to help them amplify their impact, achieve their philanthropic goals, and contribute to equitable recovery efforts.”

— Nicole Taylor, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation


DAF Market Research

We conducted extensive market research, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, to determine whether there is significant potential to unlock DAF capital for the greater good through impact investing.

San Francisco Bay Area Impact-First Investment Pilots

Design and implement programs with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco to mobilize nearly $9 million of DAF capital to place-based, impact-first investments to equitably support low-income communities.

Our Team

Social Finance has a range of experience in structuring and managing different impact investments. Our team brings experience with program-related investments for private foundations, loans and equity investments directly into for-profit and nonprofit entities and through funds, recoverable grants from DAFs, and loan guarantees. Learn more >>

Contact Us

If you are interested in learning more our investment work, contact Vice President Jackie Khor or Director Mike Silvestri.