The announcement follows reports in the Los Angeles Times that the foundation -- led and funded by the chairman of Microsoft Corp. and his wife -- takes in significant financial gains each year from investments that run counter to its beneficial works.
The foundation said on its Web site that it will "review other strategies that can fulfill a social responsibility role, both in terms of their aspirations and in understanding the impact that they may have."
The Times reported that the foundation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in companies that contribute to health, housing and social welfare problems that the foundation tries to address.
The David & Lucille Packard Foundation and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation both said Wednesday they also will re-evaluate their investments to measure social and environmental impact.
"Because people are pointing out the kinds of inconsistencies between investment behavior and mission," said Lance Lindblom, president of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, "we may be reaching a tipping point."