“But For Us?” Is It Still a Useful Impact Investing Question

ON August 7, 2017

“But For Us?” Is It Still a Useful Impact Investing Question

Minnesota Council on Foundations

This month’s blog post which is takes a hard look at the “but for” test and its role in impact investing.

When I worked for Prudential Financial Impact Investments, we could only invest in projects that met the but for us, this project won’t happen” test. For example, but for Prudential,the first grocery store built in Newark since the 1960s would not have been built.

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What I'm doing now

When COVID-19 and the ensuing economic disruption hit, I worried that impact investing would recede as investors sought comfort in old-style investing and social entrepreneurs kept their day jobs. Luckily, my worries were for naught: more investors are interested in doing good and doing well. More philanthropists are looking for innovative ways to address the multiple crises we face: health, economic, racial, civic, climate, and rural. Social entrepreneurs are launching and growing their ideas to address the world's problems. These leaders give me hope!