Two residents of Boston standing in front of a building.

Advancing Equity in Greater Boston through DAF Impact-First Investing

Impact Investments, Education, Homelessness & Housing, Workforce & Economic Mobility, Children & Families


$6.1MMobilized from donor-advised funds into Boston-focused, impact-first investment opportunities


TBF donors who now have access to recoverable grant portfolios

Social Finance partnered with the Boston Foundation (TBF) to curate impact-first investment portfolios, which enable TBF donor-advised fund (DAF) holders to support local organizations that are advancing equity in Greater Boston via recoverable grants. Recoverable grants are impact-first investments made to mission-driven organizations with revenue-generating programs—they are similar to loans, but more flexible and borrower-friendly.


  • Advance equity in Greater Boston: Mobilize capital to repair harm caused by systemic and structural inequalities in the region, including closing racial wealth gaps.
  • Cultivate donor alignment: Create new opportunities for donors to deploy capital to high-impact organizations advancing TBF’s strategic vision.
  • Engage donors: Build awareness of impact-first investments with donors as a tool for having more impact today with the portion of their DAF invested for the long term.
  • Provide new impact-first investment offerings: Curate thematic portfolios for donors of all account sizes to easily support diversified sets of pre-vetted, local organizations via recoverable grants.

Recoverable grants increase your charitable mileage by giving you a chance to recycle capital. While making modest grants periodically, I got frustrated seeing money sitting in our DAF account and wanted to make a bigger impact sooner.TBF Recoverable Grant Portfolios Donor

The Work

  • Donor Education and Engagement: Engaged donors through focus groups and educational events and developed training materials and resources to facilitate outreach by TBF relationship managers.
  • Portfolio Curation: Sourced and vetted impact-first investment opportunities, beginning with a landscape scan of more than 80 potential opportunities in Greater Boston. Through our vetting process, we identified nine financial intermediaries serving Greater Boston with strong financial and impact track records and packaged these opportunities into four thematic portfolios that would allow DAF donors to direct capital to the issues they care about most.

To learn more about the recoverable grant portfolios, visit

  • Opportunity Distribution: Developed a white-label platform for TBF donors to browse the recoverable grant portfolios and initiate the transaction process.
  • Structuring and Execution: Supported TBF in mapping processes to efficiently pool capital from donors and deploy recoverable grants to recipient organizations.
  • Program Sustainability: Facilitated a process to identify TBF’s business model goals and conducted a business modeling exercise to quantify costs and potential revenue from ongoing program operations.
  • Financial and Impact Reporting: Mapped processes for collecting and analyzing data from recoverable grant recipient organizations to regularly assess and report on program impact and financial performance.


Portfolios Overview

Boston Foundation Portfolio descriptions

We’re really excited about recoverable grants because they unleash flexible, low-cost capital, allowing us to provide capital to businesses that otherwise don’t have access to it.Glynn Lloyd, Executive Director of MCCI, Recoverable Grant Recipient

This engagement further expanded TBF donors’ charitable toolkit, challenging the traditional binary paradigm of “giving from” and “investing” DAFs.

Recoverable grants allow our donors to support the impact areas they care about most with the potential to recover those charitable dollars in the future and reuse them. It’s a game changer.

Kate Guedj

Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, The Boston Foundation

Kate Guedj headshot



Portfolio Organizations

Website Notices

Header photo courtesy of LISC Boston.

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