Clara Miller is President of the Heron Foundation, a US foundation that helps people and communities help themselves out of poverty. Heron began as a grant-maker 25 years ago. Over time, Heron has aligned an increasing portion of its assets to mission related investment. In 2011, it made the decision to invest all its endowment in mission related investment, which it achieved at the end of last year, under Miller’s leadership. In this podcast, Clara talks about the background to this decision, and explores some of the key insights and lessons on this journey. She discusses in detail the different kinds of financial support, and scale, the Heron foundation provides, and what they look for in the organisations for support. Clara also explores the broader implications for other foundations looking to invest a greater proportion of their endowment in mission.
Prior to assuming the foundation’s presidency, Clara was President and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, which she founded and ran from 1984 through 2010. In addition to serving on Heron’s board, Clara is on the boards of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Family Independence Initiative, The R.S. Clark Foundation and StoneCastle Financial Corp. She is a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee to the G8 on Impact investing, named in 2014. She is a member of the Social Investment Committee of the Kresge Foundation. Clara has won numerous awards for her work–in 2015, Miller and Heron were named Investor of the Year by Institutional Investor Magazine in the category “small foundations.”