Conventional wisdom has it that money is either charity or an investment; there is no in between.

Impact investing has changed that. And foundations now endorse the model.

The Council on Foundations in a memo six months ago endorsed impact investing. This is a big deal because it puts impact investing in the sights of more than 1,700 foundations representing some $300 billion. In November, Forbes profiled the Omidyar Network, a foundation begun by eBay pioneer Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, that has embraced impact investing. And Parade magazine in December put Howard Buffett on its cover. Buffett’s venture philanthropy model spans post-conflict countries and hunger in America.

The more foundations that engage in impact, the better. The mindset is there. The systems are there -- accounting, and otherwise. Expectations just need to be adjusted for returns, because there are returns. This is new terrain for foundations.

Financial advisors, too, should open their eyes to this $300 billion investment opportunity. Foundations are used to giving money away, not getting it back. And that means they need advisors to help them. Top foundations hire consultants all the time -- management consultants, specialists, etc. They’ll need advice now on designing new financial plans to accommodate for returns and all that goes along with that: risk, due diligence, etc, etc.

Expectations must be set higher.

Not a bad way to start the new year.

Check out what the COF says about impact investing here.

And what Forbes wrote about Omidyar here.

Thomas M. Kostigen is a bestelling author. His latest book, Golden Dawn, is available in bookstores and online.