Download the PDF


Cultural institutions across the country face a growing chorus of questions about how they invest the collective $64 billion held in their endowments. The Guide: what cultural institutions need to know about investing for values and mission is the first primer on impact investing specifically for leaders of museums and other cultural institutions. 

Making the Case

Intended to support C-Suite executives and trustees at museums and other cultural institutions, The Guide answers foundational questions such as What is Impact Investing? Does impact investing mean sacrificing financial returns?  Why do institutions engage in impact investing?

Dispelling the misconception that considering social and environmental risk factors lowers financial returns, The Guide shares evidence across asset classes and from a range of institutional investors affirming competitive performance and out-performance through SRI (socially-responsible investment) and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) strategies. 

The Guide describes how impact investing can help organizations put diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments into action, and makes the case for cultural institutions to invest in the creative economy. The report includes lessons from first-mover cultural institutions, along with examples of relevant impact investing opportunities in the creative economy.

Featured in The Guide

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts moved 25% of its $300 million endowment to a socially-responsible strategy in 2019.

Brooklyn Museum has been considering the relationship between its endowment and mission since 2014, and in 2020 the board committed to a deeper exploration.

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) made a commitment to divest from fossil fuels in 2015, and reports that the shift generated approximately $700,000 of investment gains from 2016 to 2020.

Creative Capital invested from its endowment into the Local Initiative Support Corporation NYC Inclusive Creative Economy Fund.

Louvre Museum has allocated 5% of its €250 million Endowment Fund to socially-responsible investments since 2018 with a focus on artisan and traditional craft businesses, cultural tourism, cultural heritage and education.

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) has shifted a portion of its small but growing endowment to an ESG investing strategy, and most new funds raised for its endowment will be placed in ESG-screened accounts.

Souls Grown Deep Foundation adopted a 100% for impact investing policy in 2019.

The Walters Art Museum began impact investing efforts in 2015, when its new strategic plan made a commitment to diversity and inclusion as guiding principles. As part of that commitment, the board’s investment committee launched an investment manager diversity initiative, placing over 10% of its endowment with diverse-owned managers.