Client Case Study

Impact Investing

A Mission Aligned Framework for Investing for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation


Client profile

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 by breakfast cereal pioneer W.K. Kellogg. Over the years, the Kellogg Foundation’s programming has continued to evolve, striving to remain innovative and responsive to the ever-changing needs of society. Part of this has been finding additional ways to put their endowment dollars to work in making a difference to the lives of vulnerable children, including through their Mission Driven Investments (MDI) program. Through this they support private-sector, for-profit entities working for social change. 

The challenge

Impact investing is an exciting, fast-growing field that can generate both social and financial returns to create equitable opportunities for all. However, its full potential has yet to be realized, and the efficacy of funded projects is not always measured in a consistent way. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation were looking for a way to evaluate different potential investments for alignment to their mission, and to measure the ongoing impacts of their investments in a rigorous way. 

Our solution

KKS developed a framework to better enable all types of mission-oriented investors (e.g., large, small, above-market, below-market) to better weigh up alternative opportunities for impact in the marketplace. The Mission Aligned Framework for Investing, is a management and governance tool created by KKS Advisors on behalf of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and seeks to help mission-driven investors in four ways:

  • First, as an assessment tool for spurring systems-level impacts during investment due diligence.

  • Second, as a diagnostic tool post-investment to understand portfolio level interactions and synergies across investments.

  • Third, as a monitoring tool for assessing whether investees are delivering the anticipated impact.

  • Fourth, as a collaboration tool where different teams working across investment and philanthropic projects could have a platform for cross-learning, information exchange and collaboration

It focuses on the assessment of the following four categories: alignment and evidence, measurement quality, scalability of impact and potential for disruption. We applied the framework to three Kellogg Foundation mission-related investees to verify and showcase its practicality and decision usefulness.

Key outcomes

“You've done an excellent job capturing our mission and methods.  It's going to be so helpful for us to refer to this document, particularly as we plan deep internal impact measurements.”  Karama Neal, President, Southern Bancorp Community Partners

Although originally developed for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Mission Driven Investment Portfolio, the learnings and approach are designed to be applicable to any impact investor. The impact assessments conducted during the project were also hugely valuable to W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s investees.

“Our team was very excited to see the academic impact data associated with our program, and we are eager to share this data with our partners.” Kirsten Tobey, Founder and Chief Impact Officer, Revolution Foods