Impact Investing


How and where Better Way Foundation invests our endowment is as important as grantmaking. As we live out our mission to support the positive development of all children, we are aligning our investments with the values that guide our grantmaking.

Through impact investing—practices meant to achieve both social impact and financial return—our investments aim to address a broader array of challenges Native children face in and outside of school.


Our journey encompasses learning, reflecting, and making initial shifts in strategy:

  • 2016

    Partnership with Echo Hawk Consulting helps illuminate the landscape of early childhood development across Indigenous communities; research highlights the interconnected nature of ECD and issues impacting Indian Country, including barriers to economic opportunities for wealth building and health disparities

  • 2018

    New program-related investment policy aims to strengthen the alignment between our mission and vision with our investments


  • 2021

    Strategic plan elevates full values-alignment of all investments as a goal for the foundation, included with it is evaluation of impact

  • 2022

    Updated Investment Policy Statement commits us to values-aligned investing with the goal to increase our charitable impact through a broader range of financial assets that align with our values and programmatic focus areas



By ensuring Native children, families, and communities have access to housing, healthcare, and economic opportunities through PRIs, we multiply the impact of our grants and the work of our partners. In 2023, we successfully allocated 5% of our assets to socially responsible investments via PRIs.

Current PRIs support Native Community Development Financial Institutions:


CDFIs expand economic opportunity in under-invested areas by providing access to financial products and services. The CDFIs that we invest in (through low-interest loans) offer a range of services to Indigenous communities, including investment capital, home loans, consumer loans, financial education, and business training. Their work creates and builds wealth, and results in new jobs, new businesses, and more financial success for the community.

Together with our CDFI partners, we continue to learn and reflect on the ways impact investing can best support children and families.


We’re aligning our assets with our values to ensure that every dollar we invest advances our mission.

Our investing objective remains a return of 5% plus inflation to ensure perpetuity of the foundation and mission alignment. Values-aligned investing complements PRIs; the process of screening investments is underway and, in the years ahead, we hope to share lessons learned and inspire others to engage in impact investing.


From our Investment Policy Statement and Investment Values Statement, all investments must:

  • Comply with at least one Environmental, Social and Governance, or “ESG,” principle.
  • Comply with the US Catholic Conference of Bishops Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines

Investments that meet the above guidelines and one or more of the following criteria are given priority:

  • Further the foundation’s mission, vision, and values
  • Make positive advancements in business practices, products, and services in at least one of the four areas of focus
    • Education: Strengthen educational opportunities for children of all ages
    • Economic opportunity: Strengthen the economic prospects for families; create jobs, strengthen access to housing or otherwise produce economic benefits to families and their communities
    • Environment: Improve environments in which families and children live
    • Equity: Advance racial equity by redressing structural inequities
  • Support impact or benefit to partners and their communities where possible


Impact investing can provide stable and profitable returns, ensuring our long-term ability to create and sustain effective change. We make use of and evaluate multiple asset classes and funds to help reach our long-term investment return objectives and manage volatility.

In addition to measuring the financial return of investments, we will partner with an external evaluator to measure the long-term social return of our impact investments through a formal evaluation process.

If you’d like to learn more about impact investing at the Better Way Foundation, please reach out to Nicholas Banovetz, executive director:

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