We welcome for-profit partners who are creating charitable social and environmental impacts alongside financial returns to apply through our Social-Impact Investment (SII) Application.
Our For-Profit Social-Impact Investments program enables us to work with businesses and capital markets to pursue promising opportunities for charitable purposes that promote social good and address market failures. We primarily use Program-Related Investments (PRIs) to provide funding to for-profit partners.
What is a PRI?
A PRI is a financing tool that allows foundations to provide funding to for-profit businesses to create solutions to social problems in furtherance of the foundation’s charitable purposes. PRIs can take many forms, including loans, equity investments, or financial guaranties. Foundations do expect a PRI to be repaid according to the terms of the investment. When that happens, a foundation distributes the returned funds to other charitable purposes within one year.
How is a PRI from a foundation different from other types of investments in a company?
The primary goal of a PRI is to achieve charitable benefit. The IRS allows a foundation to provide a PRI if the investment fulfills all three of the following criteria:
- The primary purpose is to accomplish one or more of the foundation's exempt purposes,
- Production of income or appreciation of property is not a significant purpose, and
- Influencing legislation or taking part in political campaigns on behalf of candidates is not a purpose.
The IRS provides additional nuanced guidance that further clarifies each of these criterion. We encourage you to consult with your legal counsel and review the IRS guidance and other resources about philanthropic PRIs before you submit an application.
The Foundation's SII application is the starting point for a rigorous due diligence process which will be pursued as expeditiously as possible. Applications may be submitted at any time.
Your company may incur legal fees during this process, for which the Richard King Mellon Foundation cannot provide reimbursement. Also, your leadership team and other staff will need to dedicate time to meeting with Foundation staff, providing materials, and answering questions.
Application and Diligence Process
The first step in the application process is for you to submit a proposal through the SII application portal on our website. In the application, you will provide information about your company and how your company contributes to broader social good. We will also ask for information about where that proposed charitable benefit will occur, along with further detail about your business plan and the charitable benefit that your organization proposed to further with funding.
The Foundation’s staff and legal counsel will use this information to conduct an initial assessment of whether a proposed PRI aligns with our 2021-2030 strategy and meets the IRS charitable purpose requirements. If we determine that your initial proposal is not a good candidate for a PRI, we will inform you and decline your application.
If we determine that your initial proposal is a good candidate for further consideration, we will reach out to schedule time to meet and initiate our diligence process. During this meeting, our staff will address questions around impact, executive leadership and management, business models, financial projections, operations and strategy, among other areas of importance. If necessary, staff may conduct site visits or require further diligence inquiries to determine whether an investment is appropriate.
Start the SII application Here
Saved SII applications Here
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
We use Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to solicit great ideas for a specific strategic effort. Those requests enable us to focus our funding on critical topics and cultivate partnerships with a variety of organizations. Each RFP has specific guidance about topics, timelines, and other funding considerations. We currently have four RFPs for nonprofit and public sector partners.
Information about the For-Profit RFP can be found here.
Start the new RFP application Here
Saved RFP application Here
If you have additional questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.