December 10, 2014
There is no greater challenge in the United States today than income inequality. It has been 50 years since the War on Poverty began. We have made progress but not enough. More than 32 million children live in low-income families, and racial and gender gaps persist. For the first time, Americans do not believe life will be better for the next generation. We have both a moral and an economic imperative to fuel social and economic mobility in this country.The Aspen Institute was founded in 1950 as a place to address the critical issues of our time. Today, ensuring that the American dream can be a possibility for all and be passed from one generation to the next is that issue. This commitment is at the heart of the work of many policy programs at the Aspen Institute. Ending the cycle of poverty requires leadership and hard work across all sectors, from nonprofit organizations, philanthropies, and academia to the government and private sector. This report recognizes the importance of learning from all sectors in tackling any challenge. Specifically, it builds on opportunities in the growing impact investment field. The report draws on the lessons from market-based approaches to identify tools and strategies that can help move the needle on family economic security. In this report, you will find the following: Case studies -- An opportunity to go under the hood on deals with the Bank of America, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Acelero Learning, and others; Point of view essays -- Insights and lessons from leaders in the field; Deals at a glance -- Snapshots of impact investors and what they have learned, including the Kresge Foundation, Living Cities, and the MacArthur Foundation; and Survey results and lessons learned -- Trends among active and emerging players in the U.S. impact investment field and the lessons that can be applied to economic mobility in the U.S. We are pleased to offer this expanded perspective on impact investing in the U.S. and the lessons for investors, philanthropists, and non-profits working to build strong and prosperous families and communities.