Community Finance | June 11, 2020

Ford, MacArthur and other foundations to issue bonds to scale up COVID relief

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, June 10 – Ford Foundation expects to issue $1 billion in long-term bonds, according to a report by The New York Times. “There’s never been such an existential challenge to the future of the nonprofit sector,” said Ford’s Darren Walker.

COVID bonds. The foundation plans to issue 30- and 50-year bonds and distribute proceeds to nonprofits over the next two years. Ford gave out $520 million in grants last year.

“It occurred to me that the cost of borrowing for highly rated institutions would have to be very low,” Walker said.

MacArthur Foundation will start with a $125 million bond offering. Doris Duke Charitable foundations will issue bonds as well.

The bonds will be marketed as ‘social’ bonds.

Kellogg and Andrew W. Mellon foundations also are working on financial plans to increase their giving, according to the Times. The Carnegie Corporation is among foundations that declined to pledge to spend more.