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Advice & Support

Impact Investing

What is impact investing?

Impact investing refers to investment practices where social and environmental impacts are considered in addition to financial return.

An impact investor goes beyond simply avoiding investments with a negative impact (such as those in firearms or tobacco) by actively seeking investments that promote positive social change and protect our environment.

Philanthropic structures often have a corpus that is invested and used to make granting distributions from. Putting both the grantmaking and the investment of the corpus towards the pursuit of positive social change can heighten philanthropic impact while using capital in support of the trust or foundation’s mission.

Our approach to impact investing

At Australian Communities Foundation, we firmly believe that you can invest for positive impact without compromising on financial returns. That’s why we’ve recently appointed one of Australia’s leading impact investment firms, Brightlight Advisory, to support us on our journey towards 100% responsible investing by 2021.

Useful resources

The following resources have been collated by our Philanthropic Services Team as useful starting points for exploring impact investing.

Impact Investing Australia

Impact Investing Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to accelerating the growth of impact investing in Australia and participating in international efforts to grow the market globally.

Resources compiled by Impact Investing Hub

The Impact Investing Hub connects potential investors, investees, and intermediaries in the Australian impact investing ecosystem. Their Resources page contains guides, case studies and reports related to impact investing in Australia.

Research Centre (Global Impact Investing Network) (US)

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading sources of data and perspectives on impact investing. GIIN’s Research Centre is regularly updated with resources on impact investing and evaluation, authored by the network and partner organisations.


ImpactGen advises, invests in and supports enterprises that deliver financial as well as social and/or environmental returns. Connect with ImpactGen for support on impact investing in Australia.

Field Guide to Impact Investing (Social Impact Hub)

This 2015 report from the Social Impact Hub, the Macquarie Group and the University of New South Wales serves as a practical guide for charitable trusts and foundations looking to design, implement and manage an impact investment strategy. It is the outcome of research and analysis, including interviews with both local and international industry experts, led by students of the Social Impact Hub.

A Short Guide to Impact Investing (The Case Foundation) (US)

This short guide from 2015 from The Case Foundation seeks to help individuals better understand how business can drive social change and create social impact. It introduces a flexible framework and a simple taxonomy to help people get their arms around impact investing.

Impact Investments: Perspectives for Australian Charitable Trusts and Foundations (Evans & Partners)

This 2014 report from Evans & Partners, Herbert Smith Freehills, The Ian Potter Foundation and others provides detailed commentary on navigating the investment duties of charitable trustees. It also explores other common challenges to the adoption of impact investment including availability of investment product, adaptation of mainstream investment decision frameworks and access to expertise.

Can we help you?

Contact us to learn more about our approach to impact investing.