Intentional Investing

Intentional Investing is one of the six Stronger Foundations working groups. Its principal purpose is to examine, discuss and debate challenging questions about foundation practice related to its theme. On this page you can find snapshots of each meeting to date, including content, reading materials and outputs. The group's work will contribute significantly to the raw material gathered through the initiative as a whole, from which ACF will create a variety of products, including a 'rapporteur's report' summarising the breadth of discussions and evidence gathered.
The group is comprised of senior foundation representatives drawn from across ACF's membership, who will meet 7 times over an 18 month period. The meetings, which will vary in format depending on the topic and desired content, will include presentation of evidence (by experts from within and beyond the foundation sector), small group discussions, whole group exercises and visits. The group's full terms of reference can be found here.
The members of the group are: Danielle Walker-Palmour, Friends Provident Foundation (group chair); Andrew Gibbs, Burdett Trust for Nursing/Junius S Morgan Benevolent Fund; Janie Oliver, Access Foundation; Joanna Heywood, Big Society Capital; Diana Sutton, Bell Foundation; Sian Ferguson, Ashden Trust, Mark Leonard Trust and JJ Charitable Trusts; Mark Bromley, The Hinrichsen Foundation; Matthew Cox, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Christine Oliver, Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation; Helen Carter, Francis C. Scott Trusts; Jackie Turpin, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust; Navprit Rai, Trust for London; Jen Hooke, ThirtyPercy.

Meeting Snapshots

Meeting #1 (February 2019) - Introduction

The working group looking at Intentional Investing first met in February, chaired by Danielle Walker Palmour of Friends Provident Foundation. A round of introductions revealed a variety of approaches to investment, with the age of the foundation and its founding values being central to how foundations view and use their endowments.

Members discussed whether ‘intentional investing’ was the most appropriate title for the working group. ‘Mission-aligned investing’ was suggested as an alternative, but it was felt that this unhelpfully implied that investing should be seen as separate from (although linked to) mission. Another suggestion was ‘good investing’, or to hold off naming the group until further deliberations. 

Some clear themes emerged that the group might address in future meetings. These included using foundation investments to challenge the status quo, the importance of a foundation’s time horizon and its consequences, and the public benefit requirement as a guiding principle.

These themes manifested in the questions that arose for the group to consider, ranging from constructing ethical portfolios to asking why more foundations are not currently viewing their investments through the lens of intentionality.

ACF will now work with the group’s chair Danielle to form a work plan for the next six meetings, inviting external expertise and critique to provoke, challenge and inform the group.


Further reading

Below you will find a suggested reading list, which the working group identified and considered as part of its deliberations. If you would like to send suggestions to us, please do by emailing

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