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Research & Reports

Program-related Investing for Nonprofits


For more than four decades, foundations in the U.S. have used program-related investments (PRIs) to address urgent societal needs ranging from housing, education, and health to community development, environment, and arts and culture. PRIs are investments made by foundations to support charitable activities, and, unlike grants, PRIs provide foundations a return on their investment through repayment or return on equity. According to the Ford Foundation, since their initial use in the 1960s, PRIs have helped organizations establish a loan repayment history, generate earned income, gain access to new funding, and develop new financial management history. As the world faces increasingly complex social and economic issues, there is renewed interest among foundations and philanthropists in harnessing the promise and potential of program-related investing to fulfill individual and community needs. 

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