Texas Women’s Foundation Adopts ‘Gender Lens’ Investment Strategy With $10.5M Fund

The foundation is pairing money with mission as it becomes the "first, and to date only, women’s fund or foundation to move its entire assets into gendered impact."

Texas Women’s Foundation’s “gender lens” investment strategy led to 100 percent of its financial assets being invested in a 100 percent gendered impact portfolio. This yielded strong financial returns and social benefits to women and girls—and led to TWF being the first and only women’s fund or foundation to move its assets into gendered impact.

A result of this strategic alignment is a new $10.5 million donor-advised fund opened by Lisa Simmons and Serena Simmons Connelly.

“Lisa and I were eager to be part of Texas Women’s Foundation’s groundbreaking gendered impact strategy,” said Connelly in a statement. “We are excited to see how much more can be achieved by putting financial capital and philanthropic capital to work toward gender equality and greater opportunities for women and girls.”  

The gendered lens investment strategy means Texas Women’s Foundation aligns its financial assets, including endowments, operating investments, and donor-advised funds, with its mission in a move that was “many years in the making,” according to Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Texas Women’s Foundation’s president and CEO, in a statement.

The strategy required a commitment from the group’s Investment Advisory Committee and Board. Dawson Thompson added that the Simmons sisters joining as a donor-advised fund is an affirmation of the strategy and reinforces the opportunity it offers donors looking for a “multiplier effect” in their philanthropic goals around women and girls.

The 100 percent gendered impact portfolio will be managed by the Chicago office of Graystone Consulting, an arm of Morgan Stanley. Portfolio funds are vetted according to financial benchmarks and gendered impact and are measured by manager activation and intentional focus on one or more of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals directly affecting women and girls, according to a statement.

“We hope that we can inspire others to become part of what is now a global movement around impact investing,” Dawson Thompson said. “And specifically for women’s funds and foundations, we can demonstrate how, by mission-aligning 100 percent of our assets with our philanthropy, we can powerfully accelerate the change we seek in the world.”  

Texas Women’s Foundation was founded in 1985, originally as Dallas Women’s Foundation, and is one of the world’s largest women’s foundations with a donor base including individuals, foundations, and corporations. The group invests more than $6.3 million yearly to advance economic security and leadership for Texas women and girls through research, advocacy, grants, and programs.

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