top of page
  • Writer's pictureCarrie B. VanWinkle, CFP®

How Impact Investing and Philanthropy Work Together in Your Money Life

[This article was first featured as a Smart and Soulful Money® podcast episode.]

A Conversation with Trisha Finnegan of the Community Foundation of Louisville About Impact Investing and Philanthropy


CARRIE: Today, my guest is Trisha Finnegan. She's the Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at the Community Foundation of Louisville. Trisha's a local native and is committed to making meaningful contributions and serving others in doing the same. Before joining the Community Foundation of Louisville, she worked for over 15 years in various positions that included social venture and nonprofit in two fortune 100 corporations. In these positions, she has innovated processes and programs, established extended relationships and elevated the Foundation's community engagement and investment efforts, whether it's through impact investing, poverty alleviation or collaborative funding initiatives.

CARRIE: Trisha works with strategic focus and urgency to drive sustained positive community change in concert with partners, grantees and donors. And I know Trisha is one of the top go-tos in Louisville, if not the state, if not even broader than that for her expertise in bringing impact investing to philanthropy. I'm so excited today to talk with Trisha about this intersection between impact investing and philanthropy. Welcome Trisha to the Smart & Soulful Money® podcast.

TRISHA: Thanks Carrie. I'm so excited to be with you and also with your listeners. I see this really as a bunch of us sitting around a lovely table having a cup of coffee and having a conversation and it feels really great to be with you.

CARRIE: Fantastic. That is exactly my vision, as well, this is sitting around the living room, sitting around a coffee table, and really going deeper into areas of our money life in ways that many of us have not. Welcome. Okay, we're gonna just jump right in. Was there anything that you wanted to clarify or add to about who you are before I jump in with my questions, what work you do?

TRISHA: I think for me, life is about the job you do, but it's more so about who you are, and I take the approach of giving more than I receive each day and leaving things better than I found them. What I'd love for people to know about me is probably a little bit less about my job title and a little bit more about how I choose to live my life.

CARRIE: Super. Well, let's start there. Let's start with what sparked your interest in impact investing and tell us a little bit more about you, personally.

TRISHA: That's great. My nature is someone who solves puzzles and I have a natural curiosity for always figuring out how something can be better. What drew me to impact investing initially was that it felt like something that could make things better in a way that existing tools couldn't do. And so I've, as you mentioned in the Intro, I've got many years of business background. I chose to start applying that to more of a social landscape, a place-based landscape, investing those skills in community, specifically in Louisville. And what drew me to impact investing was that blend of my business background with my penchant for wanting to create social change. And I really see impact investing as the most beautiful union of that ability to create social change, but to do it with a very business savvy approach.

CARRIE: Super. That's the work that you're drawn to do. Tell me a little bit more about you, more personal, that you want to share as you're drawn to do this work.

TRISHA: That's tougher, Carrie. Each of us has so many opportunities to spend our time. I've had great fortune of having success in many states and living in a couple of different countries. I'm a Louisville native, as you mentioned, but lived away and worked away for many, many years and came back to Louisville - it's been 16 years. I came back in 2003 having left at a young age and having sworn I would never move back. One of the things that I noticed when I came back is how much I had missed and loved this place. And the way I choose to spend my days is a direct relation to how much I care about this community. I could certainly have other jobs that may be on some days easier or a little bit less stressful or perhaps a little bit less complex or you could insert whatever adjective might feel right for you. And I can see friends of mine sort of sitting in the same situation looking at their careers. But for me personally, while spending every day, I leave deeply grateful and the opportunity that I have to align myself and who I am with where I get to work is a treasure that I wasn't sure I would ever quite accomplish. This community and the work I do here is a large part of who I am as a person.

CARRIE: Yes, I see that. Let's jump in to talk about impact investing and philanthropy a bit more. The work that I do is with impact investing, with socially responsive investing. And it's really referring to the area of our money life that's in our investable assets, the part of our money life that we are investing to get a financial return on for those typically longer term goals, like retirement for example, and doing that in a way that is aligned with our values. There are two things we're going to be talking about here. Tell us first a little bit more about how you at the Community Foundation are bringing impact investing under that philanthropic umbrella.

TRISHA: I'm so glad you called out that distinction. In principle, I think your work and our work is really well aligned. What we're really both talking about is how do you align your money in your values and how does your money and how it goes to work, how does that represent who you are? We feel the same way for partners that choose to work with the Community Foundation of Louisville, people that work with us, they're usually people who care about the soil under their feet. There are people who care about this place and they want to see whatever goals they have - helping others or making this a better place, or parks or whatever it may be.- they want to see that happen locally and they want to invest in a local business, with local knowledge to make that impact.

TRISHA: That's really the place of the Community Foundation of Louisville. They are about 900 foundations across the US, many communities have their own community foundation. The model is broad. It's, in fact, global. We happen to be Louisville's home base for a community foundation. The intersection between impact investing and philanthropy is really fascinating. Where it differs a little bit from what you referenced, as far as your work and where it lands for us, is that you referenced where your money is invested so that it can support a future goal. In retirement or another personal benefit where impact investing comes in for us and where you see that sweet Venn diagram, that overlap of philanthropy and investing is where that investment can do benefit to people or place. And so where does an investment help our community?

TRISHA: Whether it's building a new building for a nonprofit or whether it's job creation or whether it's providing care for members of our community who may be struggling with addiction, for example, it's making an investment that benefits people or places. And it does in most cases have a return. Much like what you mentioned, you mentioned that financial return that's coming back and feeding your retirement portfolio or whatever your portfolio may be. The return here is two-fold with impact investing. It's social and it's financial. The financial element for us at the community foundation is that we have an interest rate associated with each investment. So let's say for example, it's 4%. You invest $10,000. Every investment comes with risk, as you well know, as we all well know, but the intent is that those funds, that investment will be paid back at 104% over time.

TRISHA: And in the meantime, while that money is out at work, it will have created social good for our friends and neighbors. That's really where we define impact investing and how that overlaps with philanthropy. Impact investing, even by foundations, means very different things. There are a couple of different ways that a foundation, whether that's a private foundation, like locally you may have heard of the James Graham Brown Foundation, for example, or the Gheens Foundation. Those are private foundations. You may have heard of a corporate foundation like Brown-Forman Foundation or a community foundation. Each one of us is our own type of entity and type of structure, but within the field of community foundations. And, at last pulse check, Carrie, we are very plugged into a nationwide network of community foundations that are heavily engaged in impact investing and have been since we began our practice about seven years ago.

TRISHA: Across the field I mentioned the 900 community foundations in the US at last check, there were about 60 of us doing impact investing. So this is still a fairly small group of people, of which Louisville should be very proud. We've had a practice, as I mentioned. We extended our first loan in the spring of 2014, just over five years ago. But we've been building this practice since before that. It's still fairly new amongst the community foundation field at large. There's a tremendous amount of diversity of how you see impact investing play out differently for a private foundation, a corporate fund agent community and there are some private foundations that may say 100% of their assets under management are impact investing.

TRISHA: For example, a family may have $100 million. They give away, on average, 5% a year, which is what the IRS requires. And instead of just relying on that 5% as their impact into the community, what that private family may say is 100% of our money is making a difference because of where that money is sitting and what that money is supporting. That may be one model that a foundation could use. For our foundation, we have 1800 partners and donors that work with us, and most of whom, based on when we were founded about 35 years ago, are still with us, are still living and are still advising over where they would like their grants to go. People in Louisville love their causes, they love what they care about, they love to see the impact they make. And we have many living donors who direct their grants.

TRISHA: We also have a much smaller portion of money where people have chosen to say whether they take all of their money or a portion of their money or they say that after they pass, they'll leave their money. But they say the community needs are changing and we may have needed something in the space of transportation before, but now we need something by way of job creation. And in the future we may need more support for seniors or young children. And so they leave the money in something that's called unrestricted. And that unrestricted money is what the community foundation leverages to support our impact investing. It's a bit of nuance there.

CARRIE: My understanding is that you all just have some more moving parts you've got to consider.

TRISHA: Yes. I didn't want to be on record as making like we have our $540 million corpus invested because we don't.

CARRIE: No, right.

TRISHA: We have that traditionally invested, so I'd never want to create the perception that we've moved to the underlying assets because that's on my list, but we're not there yet. And so I think the point I would want to be made is we have a lot of partners. We have a lot of donors who advise. We also have separate pools of funding that we have more flexibility over. And with board oversight we are able to use those funds for more innovative philanthropy, including impact it.

CARRIE: Got it, thanks for that clarification.

TRISHA: We talked about impact investing. We've also talked about philanthropy. For me, words matter and philanthropy is simply generosity. It's a sharing of what one has with others. That can be money. It can also be your time, your expertise. It could be services, it could look like a lot of things. And we have a lot of philanthropic people in this community, but philanthropists give for the benefit of others, whether that's individuals or families, they give for the benefit of place or they give for the benefit of causes that they care about.

CARRIE: Let me ask or just insert this real quick. I think my impression is that people tend to view a philanthropist as a Rockefeller. I found this with investors, too, that we don't usually think of ourselves as investors and we don't often think of ourselves as philanthropists either. But it's really not about the amount. A lot of times it's about your intention.

TRISHA: It is. I would say someone dropping off a bag of clothes or household items they no longer need to an area nonprofit or church or ministry or synagogue that could use those is a philanthropist. It's not even a dollar amount. I think people have lots of resources. Those resources may be financial. And often people go directly to that as being what they think of initially. But a philanthropist is someone who serves on a board. A philanthropist is someone who helps make phone calls and activate people for political change. A philanthropist is someone who invests in their community by being on their neighborhood board or neighborhood association. It's really giving of yourself for the benefit of the community or others or causes you care about it. So for me, philanthropy is quite broad. Most people think of the very typical writing the check nowadays, making the online donation, but philanthropy for me is really about sharing yourself for the benefit of all or others.

CARRIE: Yes. And so with your particular place within this very broad scope of philanthropy, when would someone think about coming to the Community Foundation of Louisville to get your support in their philanthropic efforts?

TRISHA: Most folks come to us for a couple of different reasons. One may look like efficiency, so simplification and efficiency. If you're someone who knows the causes that you care about, but you want to make sure that money is delivered regularly and there's continuity and peace of mind and those sorts of things, we can certainly execute on efficiently and effectively executing your charitable desires, your goals or your hopes. Do you want to see your educational institution supported or the park system, or the arts, etc.? We can certainly manage philanthropy and philanthropic giving to provide that sense of, as I said, consistency, peace of mind, efficiency, effectiveness. That's one type of person who may come to us. Another type of person or family or corporation who may come to us is someone who wants to do more than they thought possible.

TRISHA: Someone who wants to say, okay, I've got a set amount of money and I know sort of what I want to do, or I have an inclination of what I want to do, or I know three things I want to do, but I also may want to do more or I want to see how far this dollar can go. Or, I'd like to try something new with this money versus simply writing the grant that I'm used to writing. How could I do something different? Or, I care about youth, but can you tell me specifically who's focused on creating equitable outcomes for youth when it comes to out of school time or test-taking or creative opportunities? The donor or the person who comes to us, the philanthropist that comes to us may have an inclination of what they do want to do or they may know very clearly what they want to do, but they want to see what's possible, how we can do more together.

TRISHA: And those are the types of folks that we often see come to the Community Foundation. Most people don't realize you can open an account at CFL with just a hundred dollars. We worked very hard and you'll often hear the team and the leadership team and the board talk about democratizing philanthropy. You mentioned the Rockefellers. We don't have very many Rockefellers in Louisville and we are a foundation. We are an organization that works to help all philanthropists at all levels. You may be familiar with the giving day, Give for Good, that that happens every fall. You can be a philanthropist for $10 on that day. Philanthropy, while the word may be off-putting or the term may be off-putting, folks come to the Community Foundation of Louisville when they want to partner, when they want to make sure that whether they're getting $100 or $10 million, that that money is going where they intended it to go, that it's creating impact that they intended it to create.

TRISHA: And more and more we're hearing from folks that say, here's what I think I want to do, or here's what I know I want to do, or I'm reading about this happening in our community. How do we fix this? How do we make it better? And what do you guys know about resolving issue X, Y, or Z that's happening? They're looking to us for that localized knowledge of how we make this a better place. And that's really what we see when folks come to the Community Foundation. We all have our own money life and we divide that into bills and savings and long-term investments and, hopefully, we also save a portion for helping others or giving to others. Within that money life, I would say that's philanthropy. Certainly, you could choose to work with nonprofits, which is most common, or you could choose to do something else on your own, etc.

TRISHA: Within that money life you've got, you're paying your day-to-day bills, you've got your short term, long term savings, you've got those investments and then you've got that wedge that's reserved to help others or philanthropy. Within that philanthropy wedge, we have several tools to help people create the impact that they hope for. A very simple one would be a grant. You may want to provide supplies for a program or seats for a program for people to be able to participate in.

CARRIE: Give us a really specific example of a grant that you all do with the Community Foundation. I know it's probably hard to pick - you do tons. You're involved with so many nonprofits in the community, but just give us one.

TRISHA: Sure. Well, this is a wonderful one and easy one. We do capacity building grants and so we try to focus our grants on strengthening the organization or the leadership of an organization over time. We try not to fund things that, once the money is used, the value goes away. For example, we may invest in leadership training or development or board development for a nonprofit such as Volunteers of America, an organization that we've partnered with in the past. Volunteers of America is doing tremendous work. They're helping people across our community with so many things, from housing to addiction to job training, to social support networks, really tremendous organizations of which there are hundreds. Please know I'm not playing a favorite here, but we may say this leader or this board or the staff could really benefit from new technology or a training program or a strategic plan, for example.

TRISHA: We would then spend, for example, $20,000 to invest in something to make the organization stronger over time, help their board be more effective at their leadership, be more effective, help their staff be more engaged, help their technology run more quickly so that they can service their clients. That's an example of what we may spend a grant on. In turn, there's also, for us, impact investing for which we have about $4 million and we've invested locally in the zip codes that surround us $2.7 million to date. Similarly, an example would be Volunteers of America. Let's stick with that one and run it through so we're looking at apples to apples here. Volunteers of America was building and expanding Freedom House, which is a place for pregnant and parenting mothers who also are struggling with addiction to birth and raise healthy non-addicted babies.

TRISHA: These women are coming in either pregnant or having recently given birth. They're raising and providing for their families and they need support. They need support to get through a struggle that they have personally been going through and their family, their children need a healthy start and they need some support to be able to do that. There are wonderful human, heartwarming returns on that investment, if you will. But we also know that helping people, babies, children, families start out strong from an early age means that those children have the chance to live healthy, productive, full, fulfilling life. They can be ready for education, they can be ready for the job market, they can be ready for their lives. Expanding a building and creating new rooms and new beds for moms and babies to live and breathe and sleep and be healthy in is not something that we could do with a grant. That grant that I mentioned that was $20,000 to provide strategic planning or technology is not going to go very far when it comes to building a place to live for a family or many families in this case. An example of a wonderful time and, in fact, a wonderful opportunity that Community Foundation had to make an impact investment was a loan that we were able to make to support expanding Freedom House.

CARRIE: So instead of the nonprofit going to a bank to try to borrow, get a loan from a bank, and maybe, maybe not qualify for that. Who knows what the interest rate would be, what the terms would be if you partnered with them to provide that loan to expand their facility, expand that space or a portion of that.

TRISHA: So that's a multimillion dollar project, of which they are creating tremendous results. If you haven't been over to the campus, definitely check it out. Read about them online. That's a multimillion dollar project. We couldn't be the only funder. We couldn't be the only source of capital, but we were able to come in at an early stage and help provide and make that financing package more palatable for a bank or take some risk out or provide money at a lower interest rate so that you're bringing down that overall cost burden of borrowing the money. For some loans, we are the only financier. We are the only source of money for some loans. We're a small part of a much larger package, and either way we look for what social impact we can create by allocating our money in that way.

TRISHA: The wonderful part is the money goes out. It does wonderful things in communities, such as provide a place for moms to have healthy babies and raise healthy children, and in time that money also returns to us. So the major difference in a grant or in this case an impact investment comes down to the amount of money. We can certainly lend much higher dollars than we can grant. Then we also have the chance to use that money again. So let's say it's $200,000 or $250,000 - it's 10 times the size of a grant, but it comes back, it's paid back. And that $200,000 or $250,000 can then go help another mission. So size is different. The fact that the money is coming back is different. The third difference is we can make a charitable investment in a for-profit company.

TRISHA: You cannot write a grant for-profit company.

CARRIE: And why does that matter? Why is that so important to be able to do?

New Speaker: Well, we've got a bunch of folks doing great work in this community, but they're structured in a way to sustain themselves and provide for themselves over time. You may have a company that is creating jobs and they need some capital. They need some money to be able to expand a warehouse provider, buy a new piece of equipment, etc., but they know over time they're going to have that increased revenue. They're going to have more customers, they're going to be able to grow their business and grow their facilities and their staff and all of those sorts of things. And because there's that social impact, we can also be a low cost, flexible, friendly source of money for that in addition to our nonprofit partners.

CARRIE: That would be a social enterprise. It is on the side of for-profit and a social enterprise that you can really support in a way that in the past you could not have supported.

TRISHA: Not have supported and gotten a charitable deduction.

CARRIE: Right, yes.

TRISHA: There are always tax law changes and different things. We consider charitable dollars to be those that serve others, but it's also commonly associated with tax benefits. You could certainly go to a caterer in west end who maybe needed a new piece of equipment or needed to expand their services to support more employees and build their book of revenue and their book of business, but you couldn't receive a charitable contribution or tax benefit if you wrote that as a loan or went through a bank and lent money to that for-profit on your own. If you do impact investing with a community foundation, you could take charitable dollars for which you have received a tax benefit or will receive a tax benefit and you can apply those dollars to the social good, as well, as long as that there is that defined social benefit. We have a very rigorous due diligence process, much like a bank where we evaluate the social impact, which is what we care the most about, as well as the financial return and the likelihood of stable financial return for every loan that we execute in community.

CARRIE: When you make an impact investment as the Community Foundation, partially from a donation that I've made through the Community Foundation, you make that impact investment, you get the principle back, the principle and interest back. I don't receive financial benefit back from that as a donor. I think that's a big difference, too. So I've got to be clear, that's a donation that I'm making. The benefit is coming back to the Community Foundation to continue to, like you said, move that back. It's reusable. You're able to repurpose, reuse that money.

TRISHA: We'll often say we're recycling charitable capital. If you have a fund and we have your impact investing dollars in that fund, your fund will grow. We don't assume that interest into our own funds. So if you have the Carrie VanWinkle impact investing fund...

CARRIE: Which would be a donor advised fund?

TRISHA: It would be an advised impact investing fund that we would have. We would take dollars from a charitable checking fund, which is a no fee fund. There are several ways that you could fund it, but let's say you had $10,000 in that fund, which wouldn't we all love to have the $10,000 in the fund. So you had $10,000 net funding. You chose to participate in impact investing with us on a loan that has a 3% return over five years. Then assuming full payback in five years, you would have $10,300 that you certainly couldn't cash out and take back home, but you could then use all $10,300 of that for your next grant, your next loan or anything else that you wanted.

CARRIE: Yeah, I still have that charitable pot of money that's then being reused and reused and reused.

TRISHA: Exactly. You don't pull that into your own pot of money, if you will.

CARRIE: Yes, I think this can be a little complex for people coming into the conversation. Hopefully you're hanging in there for this and just starting to get some ideas and understanding about how people can engage in ways you might not have realized through their philanthropic efforts, through their charitable efforts and how that complements what they're doing with somebody like me with their investments and having all of that aligned with their values.

TRISHA: You can start to see why having a knowledgeable staff and having people to talk to is helpful. Right? We can line things out, but someone coming in and saying, okay, here's my personal situation, here's the dream I have for helping others. Sitting down one-on-one with a team here, you can start to see why just talking about it kind of doesn't quite get everybody there. Right? You kind of have to say, okay, here's my situation. Here's what I care about. Here's the amount of money I have. Here's how I want to involve my children or my parents. And looking at how do we customize a solution that works for you? Thanks to anybody who's still bearing with us because it's a lot to digest, but it really does sort of prove the concept of why you need to work with somebody to make it...

CARRIE: Less overwhelming and more clear. Yes, it's very doable, I think, is the bottom line. And there are possibilities that people didn't realize are out there. Local investing. A lot of times people, when we have our conversations around their aligned investing through me, their impact investing through me with that portion of their money life, a lot of my clients and people I talk to are very interested in what you call place. What did you say? Place-based investing? Typically, they'll say local, call it local investing with me. "I want to invest locally, Carrie." I work with clients all over the country and different areas have different ecosystems to be able to engage in local investing. In our Ecosystem in Louisville's, it's still a little bit tougher to do some types of local investing.

CARRIE: But what's exciting, one of the things that you're talking about in that ecosystem, is somebody who can create the impact, want to create with local investing through the structures that you have in place at the Community Foundation. For example, a local woman-owned very small catering business. They went to support that micro enterprise or that small woman-owned business and they don't have another way to do it exactly. They can do some really great things like that through you all. Is that right? Tell me a little bit more...

TRISHA: That's exactly right. I'll give two examples because I think that always helps. One of the things would be, if we stick with that Freedom House example, the Volunteers of America example, I as an individual person could not go over to Volunteers of America and, sticking with the $10,000 example, walk up and say, I hear you're building a building. I would like to lend you $10,000, but I want that money back and I want it back in three years or five years or 10 years and I want to charge you 2% for that loan. Certainly, if you wanted to walk in and simply write a check and say, I, I believe in your work and I want to support you with a gift, anyone in Louisville can do that.

TRISHA: But the only way that you can negotiate a loan would be by working with someone like the Community Foundation. If I had $10,000 and I wanted to know I'm part of a $2 million project, I'm part of making two bedrooms available for families or five bedrooms available for women with children, I can't do that and have it be a loan and have it come back to me or have it come back to my charitable pool. I'm on my own. And so really it's the only way to do that. That's one example. Another good example would be - let's take that micro enterprise. Let's take that women-owned business that you mentioned. We partner with the Navigate Enterprise Center, which is at Jewish Family Career Services. We partner with Chef Space, which is part of Community Ventures. Both of those local nonprofits give micro loans out to entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who are underserved, entrepreneurs who are having a hard time getting capital elsewhere. Maybe it's $1,500, maybe it's $5,000 or maybe it's creating Chef Space, for example, where people can come and actually at a lower cost, much lower cost, develop their product, perfected-use catering space and a commercial kitchen versus buying a building and a kitchen on their own.

TRISHA: We are enabling micro enterprise and we're using what we call an intermediary. We're using a middle organization to help make that possible. As an individual person in this community, you could certainly go write a check, but you could not participate in a loan on your own in either one of those cases. What I try to leave people with is you're thinking about the change you want to create. We can help you figure out the tools that help you get there. In one tool, maybe writing that grant check. We're good at it. We've been doing it for 35 years. We can do it again, but another tool may be helping participate in a loan or something else. As we all know, money life can be complicated and overwhelming. For me, personally, and many others, if you ask me what I care about, I can tap into my heart center and tell you what I care about very quickly. If you ask me how I plan to do it, I may pause a little bit or I may struggle to say the exact way I want to make it happen. Where I think we offer help is if someone can tell us what they care about, we can tell them what we think are various ways that those dollars can stretch further when it comes to making this community better.

CARRIE: Fantastic. I'm going to have a second conversation with your colleague, Anne McKune, which I'm really excited about, and we're going to talk about that what they care about part, creating a mission based on your own values as the donor and what you all do at the Community Foundation to help someone with that piece that really then guides exactly what you're saying, what you do with your money from there. With that, to wrap up, a couple of questions. One is - if someone nationally who's not local to Louisville is listening, what do you recommend they do if they're excited about the conversation here and they want to find out if there's a community foundation in their area?

TRISHA: Well, that's a great question. We support our sisters and colleagues and friends all across. Many communities will have a community foundation. For example - let's stay local for a second - if you go to Oldham County, Shelby County, Green River, you mentioned Owensboro - even if you go to some surrounding communities, the Community Foundation of Louisville actually services those areas. We have affiliates that are local and we service those areas. For those of you who are in cities, I would say you absolutely have a community foundation in your city. But for those of you who may be in a more rural or suburban setting, you probably also have a resource in a community foundation. They may or may not be doing impact investing. Most people will have it on their website.

TRISHA: If you care about applying your money and you letting your money work for causes that matter, you can do impact investing with many community foundations just simply by setting up a fund. What I would say is most work in place. For example, if someone from Austin, Texas called and said, we want to make an investment in Austin, Texas, I would say there are some folks in Austin I can connect you with. But if someone in Austin, Texas said, I really like what you guys are doing in Louisville and I want to help job creation in Louisville, we could certainly work with them. It depends on where you're located, but I would encourage folks to simply Google whatever city they're in or community they're in and the word "community foundation." You'll probably find a friendly person happy to help.

CARRIE: Fantastic. And then specifically with the Community Foundation of Louisville, if there are some people listening who are local to either Kentucky or to Louisville, what should they do as a next step if they've been intrigued and want to talk to someone there about how they might use philanthropic dollars to create impact with your help?

TRISHA: Well, we would love to work with folks. We really do believe that we can do so much more together than any one of us can do on our own, so whether that's the hundred dollar partnership or much more than that, our doors are open. We are here for all and a great starting point would be with my colleague, Anne McKune. A great starting point would be with our website,, and taking a look at what we do. Take a look at what we stand for. Take a look at how we create results in community. And if you feel like we can be a good partner for you, we would love to have a chance and to earn the opportunity to help extend your charitable giving or really help extend your reach into the causes and issues that you care about.

CARRIE: I know just with the day of giving, I remember, and that has not happened yet this year. Is that right?

TRISHA: No, that's right. So Give forGood, Louisville is on September the 12th this year. It's 24 hours, midnight to midnight. The minimum gift that day, as a reminder, is $10. We like to say anyone with a cell phone can be a philanthropist. Anyone can be a philanthropist and we have, I think, 500 nonprofits that'll be participating. The hope there is that people have some fun with it and get engaged and realize that there are so many organizations doing great things in our community and whether it's $10,000 or a hundred or a thousand dollars, there's so much energy that comes from each one of us tossing our drop of water into the bucket and watching the bucket get to that place of overfilling and they're eligible for prizes and it's a great day. We are happy to host it and happy to help make it available for folks and hopefully that nonprofits in our community will feel the love from Louisville on September 12th.

CARRIE: There is so much great energy during that time period. The nonprofits work so hard. You all work so hard. It's really fun and inspiring to be a part of it. And like you said, whether you have $10 or so much more, you all make it really easy. I am reminded of some of my favorite nonprofits in town and I'm very excited to help support them. And maybe sometimes I even discover some new ones that are exciting to contribute to, as well. It's a fantastic effort.

TRISHA: Thanks for asking about that. I always set aside a certain budget for myself and I'll go through and I will reserve several for folks I've not heard of even working in this space. There's always an organization that's doing something really cool that I'm not familiar with and I'll give my wild card gifts that day - to some folks that just have a great Twitter feed or that really have a lot of energy and are showing their commitment to their work that day. And, like I said, whether it's just a small gift or a large one, I always try to find a couple of organizations that are new to me, as well.

CARRIE: Is there anything else we haven't talked about or that you'd like to bring in or anything we talked about you want to clarify or add to?

TRISHA: I think I'd take the chance to offer two things. The first is for the Community Foundation. Impact investing is a journey. All of our work is a journey and we're really, really proud of this practice that we built. We're proud of the $4 million that we've secured. We're proud of executing $2.7 million to 13 organizations across this community. We're proud of the jobs we've created and the children that we've helped. But we know that we have much further to go and we, in fact, spend quite a bit of our time not just working with and managing the folks that we're already partnered with, but looking at really bold ways that we can do more than even we thought possible. And it is our distinct hope and our plan, in fact, that we grow our impact investing work multi-fold over the coming 24 months. We're working really aggressively to continue to increase our sophistication, our resources, our capabilities, so that in a couple of years' time we can say, "Hey, Carrie, we've now invested $4 million or $5 million or $10 million locally and look at what it's done."

TRISHA: I would say I'm very, very proud of what we’ve built. I'm just as equally excited about and eager for the next milestones ahead for us because we really have a lot more beautiful ground to cover ahead of us. That's one thing, and then I think simply money life can feel complex. Personally, there have been times where I've felt really disempowered with a personal budget. As much as five years ago or 25 years ago, how do I manage my budget at this stage? Or how do I manage my expenses now that I have a life change? I think money life can feel quite complex and as such, charitable giving, philanthropy can feel complex.

TRISHA: What I would say is each of us should start where we feel comfortable and take that one very best next step. We don't all have to be at the same place. We don't all have to have it figured out. We don't all have to have the same level of sophistication. But what is the very best one next step that you can take? What is the one question you could get answered? What's the one person that you trust that you could reach to for some advice? What's the one change you want to see happen, that you want to try to unravel and figure out how you can make your own difference for whether that's money or time or board service or something else? I often can look at something and feel overwhelmed or disempowered at times and think about, gosh, how to get started or where to start. I would just hope that folks are left with in this conversation that there's always a next step, a best next step. And I would hope that each one of us feels empowered to say, okay, with where I am right now and where I want to be, what's the one next thing that I could do that would help me feel really great and really proud and really on fire about how I contribute to my community?

CARRIE: Fantastic. Thank you so much. Thank you for all of the work that you do, that the Community Foundation of Louisville does. I have no idea, I'm sure, how much of an effort it has been to start and begin to implement this impact investing effort under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Louisville. I know it's culture changing in so many ways, it takes a lot of education to help open people up to what's possible. I've had the honor of being a part of a few of those conversations with you all and just seeing glimpses of it there. It really matters. The work really matters. Thank you for all that you're doing, and again, the Community Foundation is doing, and thanks for being on the podcast. I appreciate your time, Trisha.

TRISHA: Well, this was super fun and thanks, Carrie. I believe that on the for profit side, the nonprofit side, each of us is doing our best work and it takes your work and our work, and I'm so thrilled for the chance to be with you and your listeners today and to have a little bit of time to talk and think about where we spend and invest our money.


bottom of page