Invest Northwest Ten Year Performance Review

Tom WoelfelImpact Investing, InSight, Publications

Invest Northwest Ten Year Performance Review

We are pleased to share our latest report: Invest Northwest: Ten-Year Final Performance Review.

For ten years Pacific Community Ventures has worked with the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF) and the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) to annually evaluate the social performance of Invest Northwest, a place-based mission-related private equity fund.

Invest Northwest was created in 2004 with the twin objectives of generating market-rate financial returns and social returns aligned with NWAF’s mission — to support efforts by people, organizations and communities to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity in the northwestern states of the U.S. As a place-based investment, Invest Northwest was established to support business growth and retention as well as the creation of good jobs for residents within NWAF’s eight-state service region that encompasses Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington. 

Invest Northwest was developed at a time when mission investing was still an emerging practice, and when few investors were prioritizing impact measurement to better understand the social performance of their investments. Now ten years later, the experience of developing, launching, managing, and evaluating Invest Northwest has provided important lessons that have informed NWAF’s and AECF’s respective mission investing programs. These lessons are also relevant to impact investors and place-based investors across America. With the fund coming to a close, this report documents these important lessons and reflections, as well as the history of Invest Northwest, the fund’s financial performance, and its strong social performance.

Download (PDF, 7.21MB)

Invest Northwest: Ten-Year Final Performance Review represents the culmination of our evaluation of Invest Northwest. Our work examining Invest Northwest has provided an important model for rigorous ongoing impact measurement and reporting that we have sought to build on and openly share as part of our field building efforts, including in our recent quality jobs research, Moving Beyond Job Creation. Invest Northwest has furthered our understanding of the underlying characteristics of a quality job as well as how to collect data that provides meaningful insights into changes in job quality over time.

At PCV InSight, we believe that rigorous impact measurement can better equip investors to understand their impact, make data-driven decisions, and maximize the effectiveness of their investments. We hope this report can assist mission investors and other impact investors in reflecting on their own investment strategies, and encourages investors to prioritize impact measurement and share results from their own investments with the broader field.

We look forward to your comments and questions on this report. Please feel free to contact us at twoelfel@pcvmail.org.