January 24, 2011; Source: PRNewswire | It was announced yesterday that Clara Miller, one of NPQ's most widely read authors, is moving from her post as president and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) to take over as president of the F.B. Heron Foundation. It is clearly a well-conceived match.
As the NFF press release states, "Clara Miller founded Nonprofit Finance Fund 30 years ago and built the organization into an important financial resource for social sector organizations and their funders. NFF is one of the country's leading community development financial institutions. Directly and with others, it has invested over $1.3 billion in nonprofits, including direct and off balance sheet lending, New Market Tax Credit transactions and various forms of philanthropic equity.”
Widely acknowledged as one of the most incisive minds on nonprofit finance, Miller will take over as the head of the Heron Foundation, also well known for its willingness to "push the envelope" on the financial practices of foundations. Created in 1992, Heron is a $240 million foundation with a grant portfolio of about $11 million annually. Multiply the grants by 10 and you have one of Heron's remarkable achievements over the years – a significant commitment to Program Related Investments (PRIs) and Market-Related Investments (MRIs).
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As of the end of 2009, Heron had $21 million in PRIs and $89 million in MRIs on its books. Heron has been institutional philanthropy's leader in promoting MRIs, and a prime mover behind the More for Mission effort (the campaign for mission investing by foundations that challenges foundations to increase mission investing by $10 billion over the next 5 years by devoting at least 2 percent of their assets to MRIs and PRIs). Heron is the model for this effort as its combined PRIs and MRIs amount to almost half of its assets.
Heron is just as much a leader in its grantmaking, by dedicating three-fourths of its grants as general operating support grants. Programmatically, Heron's grant support builds community assets and wealth through homeownership, enterprise development, and support for new approaches to opening and accessing the capital markets.
NPQ congratulates the Heron Foundation for its excellent decision and looks forward to watching where the foundation goes from here!—Ruth McCambridge