MaRS Awarded $1.3 Million By Rockefeller Foundation and J.W. McConnell Family Foundation to Launch Centre For Impact Investing

Leading national and global foundations announce their support for Canada’s first Centre for Impact Investing

Toronto, September 29, 2011 – MaRS Discovery District announced today that substantial funding support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation will be made available for the Centre for Impact Investing, to be housed at MaRS.

The Centre for Impact Investing will build upon the foundational work of MaRS and Social Innovation Generation (SiG), including the landmark report, Mobilizing Private Capital for Public Good, by the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance. The Centre will be a national hub that will increase awareness for and effectiveness of social finance to catalyze new capital, talent, and initiatives dedicated to tackling social and environmental problems in Canada.  The Centre will act as a point of global connection for Canadian efforts into the emerging field of impact investing, delivering programs and initiatives focused on research and policy, market and product development, and education and engagement initiatives to build the collective ability to mobilize private capital towards public good.

The great promise of the Centre is to help move Canada’s current nascent impact investing ecosystem from pockets of uncoordinated innovation through a process of marketplace-building, resulting in a robust investment hub.

With this contribution, both Rockefeller and McConnell have issued a call to action for Canadian investors to support the Centre and engage with this emerging market.

The Centre is expected to open for operation in early Winter 2011.


“MaRS is proud to receive funding from The Rockefeller Foundation and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and to continue our role as a convener and collaboration hub. The Centre for Impact Investing will compound and centralize the already significant but widespread momentum for the development of impact investing in Canada. This is a terrific example of convergence innovation – linking a growing array of social entrepreneurs with investors seeking both a financial and social/environmental return.”
Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District and Chair of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance

“The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to the growth and development of an impact investing sector that benefits the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. We are very pleased to support a national hub that will increase the impact of social finance for the benefit of these populations in Canada and hopefully create replicable innovations that can be expanded to other countries.”
Judith Rodin, President, Rockefeller Foundation

“The McConnell Family Foundation is committed to supporting those engaged in social purpose work, not only through our grant making, but through the investigation and practice of impact investing. We are so pleased to be supporting the Centre and we encourage others to join us in this work.”
Stephen Huddart, President and CEO, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Quick Facts

  • Report by J.P. Morgan and the Rockefeller Foundation estimates that impact investing assets will grow to between $400 billion and $1 trillion; investment opportunities that have demonstrable social and/or environmental impact alongside financial return, from affordable housing to renewable energy.
  • A recent study of 250 social ventures in Ontario reported total capital demand of $170 million over the next two years.
  • The total Canadian impact investing market is $2B today; it is expected to grow to $30B in ten years.

Learn More

  • For more information about MaRS Discovery District, please visit
  • For more information about social finance in Canada, please visit
  • For more information on the Rockefeller Foundation, please visit
  • For more information on the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, please visit

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and entertainment technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose businesses.

For more information, please contact:

Chris Stevenson
Director, Communications
MaRS Discovery District
416.673.8100 x8104


Geraldine Cahill
Communications Coordinator
Social Innovation Generation (SiG)