Double Bottom Line Project Report: Assessing Social Impact in Double Bottom Line Ventures

By Cathy Clark, William Rosenzweig, David Long and Sara Olsen

The Double Bottom Line (DBL) is a relatively new concept for business leaders. We think of Double Bottom Line (DBL) businesses as entrepreneurial ventures that strive to achieve measurable social and financial outcomes. In the past few years, as the lines between grantmaking and investing have begun to blur, the idea of measuring social return concurrent with traditional financial accounting has caught on among investors, funders and entrepreneurs. There has also been widespread movement toward more tangible accountability for the social impact created for each invested or granted dollar. “The Double Bottom Line Project” has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation’s ProVenEx fund, which makes double bottom line investments in businesses that further the foundation’s charitable mission. The DBL Project aims to help the field of DBL ventures better apply rigorous and useful methods to assess social outcomes and return.

Rockefeller Foundation, 2004