An Earth Day Guide to Action Through Impact Investing

Since 1970, April 22nd has marked the celebration of Earth Day, an opportunity for many individuals and organizations to renew their commitment to consume less, learn more and explore new ways to protect and preserve our planet. Historically, focusing on the role that investments can play in support of Earth Day isn’t something we’ve heard a lot about. Yet, the growth of the impact investing sector means that more and more socially conscious investors are thinking about the role that capital can play to blend profit and purpose.

In honor of Earth Day 2017, here are a few of ways you can start on your own journey.

Renew your personal commitment

The Earth Day Network, and many organizations like it, promote opportunities, events and resources for each of us to celebrate and recommit to conservation and preservation.

Earth Day Network suggests a few actions we can take this year, such as:

  • Reducing your environmental footprint by exploring how you can reduce your impact on the planet
  • Stop using disposable plastic by taking a pledge to reduce consumption
  • Planting or donating trees to combat deforestation and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions

Explore the opportunity for investment

At the Case Foundation, we’ve been committed to scaling impact investing over the last several years. This work has focused on inspiring and educating a range of investors on the opportunity to align their dollars with personal values. With recent growth across impact investing, many investors are poised to activate their impact strategies. We’re emboldened by the sectors experiencing the most growth and showcasing real investment opportunities.

Climate change is one such sector. The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, a network of sustainable investment organizations recently released its 2016 Investment Review. The Investment Review tracks and reports out on sustainable investment activity worldwide, with specific trends across multiple geographies. Though the GSIA includes investment activity across many approaches to impact—beyond impact investing alone—the increase in activity is inspiring.

According to the 2016 report, $22.89Tr of assets were professionally managed under responsible investment strategies, up 25% from 2014. Responsible investment—as a broad range of strategies and asset classes—represents over 1/4th of professionally managed assets globally.

In the U.S., the report suggests that climate change remains the most significant environmental factor assessed across sustainable assets. Even in smaller asset classes and funds – like private equity and venture capital – the most popular ESG issue last year was clean technology. Climate change and carbon emissions were specific areas where funds incorporated interventions into their investment process.

Growth across sustainable investing—and the role that climate plays—is an exciting opportunity for environmental themes to continue to be front and center as investable opportunities.

Learn from others to kickstart your investment journey

Earth Day is also an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of trailblazing organizations that are similarly interested in protecting our planet.

  • Last month, we wrote about the compelling case study of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund aligning their endowment more closely with their programmatic mission. In a webinar led by Jean Case, Justin Rockefeller of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Jameela Pedicini of Perella Weinberg Partners outlined the concrete steps to blending profit with purpose. In the case of the RBF, they undertook tactical steps, like defining their impact, knowing what you own, and committing to measurement.
  • In March of this year, our partners at The ImPact, continued their broader mission to on-board families into impact investing with a primer on Water. With the growing role that HNW individuals and families will play in scaling impact investing, the primer helpfully outlines considerations for families who want to invest in water to help preserve our natural resources.
  • ImpactAssets has also developed material to explore the more nascent sectors within which impact investing can grow. Sustainable agriculture is one such opportunity. In adding 2 billion people to the planet over the next 30 years, our practices around sustainable farming and food production are in need of reformation. Investment capital can play an important role in revitalizing and innovating current practices.
  • You don’t have to be a big investor or a large organization to make an impact with your dollars – you can also start to look at your own investments. The Divest/Invest movement is one such example. This effort looks to engage a diverse range of investors and individuals in a global effort to reduce investment into fossil fuels. Through this and other efforts, you can make a pledge or take action towards refining your own investment footprint.

Whether your Earth Day commitment involves your time, your community’s energy, or your organization’s assets, there is a role for impact investing to be incorporated into your thinking about conservation, sustainability and preservation of the planet.

From Education to Activation: Exploring the RBF’s Journey into Impact Investing

Over the last four years, the Case Foundation has been deeply committed to catalyzing the Impact Investing movement. Alongside partners, we seek to inspire, educate, and activate investors around the potential to put private capital to work to solve some of our most complex challenges. Today we are excited to see a growing and diverse set of actors engaged in Impact Investing, led in part by innovative first-movers. These include high net-worth individuals and institutions who have begun to seek financial and social returns by aligning their investment portfolio with their values.

As part of our movement building efforts, we’ve learned that sharing stories and insights from those who have transitioned to impact investing can be valuable to those who aren’t as far down the path.  In 2016, we were fortunate to partner with Omidyar Network and The Giving Pledge to take a closer look at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s journey into impact investing, in hopes that it can serve as inspiration and guidance for others.

As part of that work, Case Foundation’s CEO Jean Case led a webinar with Justin Rockefeller, Trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) and Co-Founder of The ImPact and Jameela Pedicini, Director of Perella Weinberg Partners (PWP). Through this conversation, Jean explored the decisions made at RBF to ensure the portfolio was set on a clear path toward market returns, while choosing investments that more closely aligned with their values.

As organizations rethink how to blend profit and purpose, we encourage you to watch the webinar to learn from RBF’s journey. Here, are a few key themes that came to light:

 1. Define your impact

As Jean mentions at the start of the conversation, “impact investing means different things to different people.” At the Case Foundation, we believe that a broader interpretation allows more people to gather around the impact investing table. But that does not relax our expectations around what it means to generate both social or financial returns.

Instead, our definition of impact investing focuses on three necessary conditions to help narrow in on just what each of us means by “impact”:

  • Intentionality – are objectives clearly articulated across social and financial goals?
  • Measurement – will the organization track performance across both objectives?
  • Transparency – does the organization share – or intend to share – insights into their process and performance (as much as is able) to help create more examples around what works and what doesn’t?

2. Know what you own; then develop an investment process that leverages your strengths

The RBF’s programmatic approach spans several sectors, including democratic governance, sustainable development and peacebuilding. The grantmaking arm of the RBF has developed a thoughtful approach to promoting sustainable development, particularly around the environment and climate. When the time came to evaluate how the entire investment portfolio – and ultimately the endowment – could reflect the principles and values of the RBF, they looked to their strengths.

“25% of our program dollars go to fighting climate change,” Justin says, “we thought this was so fundamental to the work we do, that we should start there.”

By leveraging a diverse set of tactics, including divestment, an ESG lens (integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance factors), active ownership, and investing with Impact managers, RBF and PWP set out on the task together. With these tools in mind, they looked to activate RBF’s vision on what a thoughtful climate-focused strategy might look like.

We’ve seen time and again Foundation’s struggle between focusing on grantmaking vs. using their investment levers, but as Justin points out, “every foundation has different tools on its tool belt – the endowment is just one of those tools.”

3. Commit to a measurement framework

Once the mission was clear and the rigor made explicit, activating the strategy was next. The RBF and PWP started by shifting the Investment Policy Statement (IPS), transforming the objective of the portfolio from “maximizing returns” to “continue in perpetuity with generational neutrality.”

Formalizing this mission– and bringing stakeholders like the Board, senior leadership, and the Investment Committee along in the process – is a critical step to ensure that impact is sustainably interwoven into the way investments are identified and selected.

Jameela Pedicini also suggests that practices around consistent measurement can lead to broader behavior change. “Regular impact reporting,” for example, “will help us assess long term tends.”

By drawing on the journeys of organizations like the RBF, we will develop a stronger narrative around what impact investing can look like across actors. We hope that sharing these insights will provide high net-worth individuals and families, foundations, corporations, and others concrete examples to follow. We will continue to look for opportunities to showcase case studies and lessons from various organization, as part of our broader efforts to take impact investing to the next level.

We invite you to watch the full conversation here. You can also learn more about the RBF’s journey through The ImPact’s recently launched case study; “Rockefeller Brothers Fund: Impact Investing Case.”

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Year In Review: A Look at How Far Impact Investing has come…And Will Go

In mid-December, the New York Times reported on the launch of a new impact investment fund, RISE. RISE, a fundraising effort overseen by TPG Growth, is engaging philanthropists, venture capitalists, investors and development proponents alike in the quest to pursue rigorous financial and impact goals. The $2 billion effort—one of the largest of its kind—is yet another empowering sign that more mainstream investors—and their clients—are looking to Impact Investing as a viable opportunity to pursue a range of material returns.

While this announcement creates continued confidence around the momentum in this space, the article references a supposed laziness of Impact Investing efforts to-date. Most notably failed experimentation, relaxed expectations on returns (social or otherwise) and the sacrifice of charity. But that criticism, while valid in the early days of the movement, doesn’t ring true today. In fact, in the last two years alone, a combination of diverse engagement, deeper performance tracking and diligent impact measurement is driving Impact Investing from a niche to mainstream strategy.

Three observations in particular encourage us on the way forward, and should be more heavily featured in the overall Impact Investing narrative:

  1. Market size and opportunity indicates the potential for real growth

In 2016, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) estimated that 157 respondents committed USD $15.2 billion toward impact investing, with 7,551 total investments tracked during the year. In the 2015 report by the same group, 146 respondents committed USD $10.6 billion, with a total of 5,404 impact investments tracked.

The number of investments and the number of engaged investors continues to increase year over year. Strong platform and product development by financial institutions like BlackRock and Prudential, expansive divestment efforts by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and impact investments by historically “traditional” venture capitalists like Mark Andreessen indicate that “niche” is no longer an appropriate qualifier.

But, we’re not home yet. The continued growth of Impact Investing will require a lot more catalytic capital brought to bear through varied instruments across the risk/return spectrum. It will also require new thinking around expectations, goals and tools—moving past traditional norms around investment behavior.

  1. Exit tracking and performance indicates the potential for real returns

Across the field, varied definitions of “Impact Investing” have slowly merged into a more common set of principles. Often used to exclusively describe private investment activity in key geographies and sectors, Impact Investing now spans multiple investor types and asset classes. The bulk of historical activity, however, continues to include investments into companies and funds, and funds remain a predominant choice. Particularly for large investors, first time LPs, and organizations looking to co-invest with peers, this vehicle allows investors to learn, explore and meet their goals together.

The pressure for General Partners (GP) to find liquidity in their funds and generate a sizable return for their LPs means that exit performance dominates the conversation. For impact fund managers, according to a Wharton Social Impact Initiative report, that pressure is even more intense given how little track record, performance management and all around evolution we can point to for such a young industry.

But that track record is building. Cambridge Associates, in partnership with the GIIN, conducted research to determine performance within private equity and venture capital impact investment funds. Their analysis covered 51 private funds launched between 1998 and 2010. Findings indicate that impact funds outperformed comparable non-impact funds. At the $100 million fund size and below, impact funds realized returns of 9.5% (IRR) compared to non-impact funds which achieved 4.5% (IRR). Impact funds underperformed non-impact counterparts at differing fund levels and in certain regions, though performance in emerging markets (particularly across Africa) was stronger.

Continued quantifiable analysis such as this is critical in hammering home what the research shows—that impact investments are not inherently concessionary. Understanding where Impact Investing is most successful, where it’s not and how it has evolved in a short period of time are all equally important elements of successfully talking about this space.

  1. Sophistication around the articulation and measurement of social objectives indicates the potential for real impact

Early criticism of Impact Investing focused on a lackluster process for prioritizing and/or measuring social impact. Either the framework was absent, or the rigor of measurement was missing altogether. Since formalization of the term in 2007, various groups have been working to increase the sophistication of the tracking and articulation of non-financial objectives. The IRIS standards, GIIRS ratings and B Impact Assessment are just a few tools that help us to determine what to measure, what that means and how to compare our performance across similar benchmarks.

But the proliferation of these tools also requires real adoption. In the 2016 GIIN survey previously referenced, respondent activation increased in standardization across IRIS, integration of impact measurement across investment teams and integration of impact performance into decision making.

Investors have often been urged to clearly articulate and track their goals around social impact, but those metrics have been under-developed, prohibitive or clunky. As the articulation of social impact objectives becomes increasingly sophisticated, the actual monitoring of performance across indicators will also improve. This early data demonstrates that we have a long way to go, but consideration of impact objectives is an important part of the broader performance conversation.

As the field continues to develop around terminology, performance measurement and the growing market opportunity, we are excited about the potential for even more capital to flow into the Impact Investing space. In our work, we’ve seen increasing commitment on all fronts to further develop the field in a way that enhances the ability of Impact Investing to meet its full potential. It is our hope that continued rigor and sophistication will get us one step closer to tipping point.

Biggest Trend in Social Good? Women in the Driver’s Seat!

I was recently asked to open up a dinner conversation with a room full of social innovators—a mix of foundations, entrepreneurs, impact investors and companies—by laying out what I saw as the top three trends in social good. These trends are important in that they inform our arenas for action and the clarion call we, at the Case Foundation, are making to all citizens to “Get in the Arena.” That night, I picked three distinct trends because I felt it opened up more conversation. In hindsight, I wish I’d gone with my original three: women, women and women. 

Trend 1: Women as Investors

You may recall an earlier blog I wrote about Trailblazing Women in Impact Investing where I talked about women emerging as a driving force behind the growth of the Impact Investing industry. From founding firms focused on impact investors, to creating tools and products to catalyze capital, to leading nonprofits and foundations focused on educating and activating a host of actors, women are spearheading and populating this sector more so than any other financial services sector.

A recent Calvert Investments report asserts that women, along with younger investors, will indeed drive the growth of the broader responsible investment industry. In a study of affluent women, 95 percent ranked “helping others” and 90 percent ranked “environmental responsibility” as important. And beyond driving the growth of Impact Investing, woman may be our greatest hope to unlocking the kinds of game-changing innovations required to solve the most persistent problems. Turns out that women wealth holders exhibit more risk tolerance toward new and innovative solutions, once they have met the financial security needs of themselves and their families. As Sallie Krawcheck wrote in her thought-provoking piece, women investors exhibit a slightly different values-based perspective. More women want their investments to not just generate excellent returns, but also have a positive impact on the world they live in. And they’re willing to make some big bets to deliver on that perspective.

This data reinforces the importance of ensuring that women continue to be aware of the momentum in the Impact Investing space. Remember, their purchasing power and, therefore, their potential social impact power is enormous—women control 39 percent of investible assets in the U.S. today. That number will continue to rise; women currently control 51 percent, or $14 trillion, of personal wealth in the U.S. and are expected to control $22 trillion by 2020.

Trend 2: Women as Consumers

Women represent the largest market opportunity in the world. Globally, they control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending. In the next five years, it is expected that this number will rise to nearly $30 trillion. For context, that is more than the two largest growth markets typically identified—China and India—combined! In the U.S., women control somewhere between $5-15 trillion, with estimates that they will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next 10 years.

Women handle the bulk of purchasing decisions for everyday items like groceries and clothing and are also heading up and/or highly influential in large ticket purchases like cars, homes and appliances. Here’s another kicker—they even purchase 50 percent of the products marketed to men!

Why is this a trend worth watching in social good? Because women often make purchasing decisions based on their personal and social values. The HBR piece on the “Female Economy” is a must-read on the role women will play as consumers, members of the workforce, productivity drivers and caregivers. On the women as consumers front, my favorite quote:

“Once companies wake up to the potential of the female economy, they will find a whole new range of commercial opportunities in women’s social concerns. Women seek to buy products and services from companies that do good for the world, especially for other women. Brands that—directly or indirectly—promote physical and emotional well-being, protect and preserve the environment, provide education and care for the needy, and encourage love and connection will benefit. And women are the customer. There’s no reason they should settle for products that ignore or fail to fully meet their needs, or that do so cynically or superficially. Women will increasingly resist being stereotyped, segmented only by age or income, lumped together into an “all women” characterization, or, worse, undifferentiated from men.”

Given the forthcoming wealth transfer predicted, many of these upwardly mobile consumers and asset owners are Millennial women. Millennial customers, employees and importantly—entrepreneurs—lead their lives and make choices with a more holistic worldview. They contribute to and support the things they believe in and they use their dollars to exercise those views and beliefs.

Trend 3: Women as Entrepreneurs

And perhaps the greatest trend of all to watch in terms of opportunity to drive social good is the rise of women in entrepreneurship.

American Express OPEN’s 2016 State of Women-Owned Business report is a must-read. The number of women owned firms and their economic contributions continue to rise at rates higher than the national average. As of 2016, this data shows 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues.

The report show that between 2007 and 2016:

  • The number of women-owned firms increased by 45 percent, compared to just a 9 percent increase among all businesses. That’s five times faster than the national average.
  • Their employment growth increased by 18 percent, compared to a 1 percent decline among all businesses.
  • Their business revenues increased by 35 percent, compared to 27 percent among all U.S. firms. That’s 30 percent higher than the national average.

And check out the growth of firms owned by women of color! Their numbers have more than doubled since 2007, increasing by 126 percent.

Now, let’s turn our attention to venture-backed companies in particular, given their potential for high growth. Less than 10 percent of venture-backed companies have female founders, despite the evidence that gender-diverse companies drive greater market returns and innovation; that VC portfolios show women-founded companies outperform those founded by men; and that funds declaring gender diversity an “investing factor” give higher returns with women at the leadership level.

I think we are going to see these dreadful statistics change over the next couple of years. Increased attention being paid to these numbers, including by our own #FacesofFounders campaign and others (UBS, Blackstone Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs, Kapor Center, 500 Startups, JumpStart, to name just a few) will help. Why is this a social trend worth accelerating? To put this into perspective, according the Economist, if women entrepreneurs in the U.S. started with the same capital as men, they would add 6 million jobs to the economy in five years—2 million of those in the first year alone.

As we ring in 2017, with all of its uncertainties, I for one commit to getting in the arena of investing in women with intention. For one thing appears pretty certain—our economy, as well as our social fabric, depends on them.

Our Most Popular Blogs of 2016

As we kick off the new year, we are taking a look back at our most popular blogs from 2016 to revisit key moments that inspired us here at the Case Foundation. We’ve collected the 10 most popular pieces—as determined by our community of readers. These blogs represent our areas of work in catalyzing movements and inspiring ideas that can change the world. We hope thes will remind us all to be bold, take risks and fail forward together around the issues you care most about in the coming year!

  1. Our Fearless Journey From Mission to Movements, by Jean Case

2016 was a year of transition for many, and the Case Foundation was no different. In August, our CEO Jean Case wrote about the journey we have taken from mission to movements, and how—as we have taken a journey of self-exploration and come to better understand our work & DNA—the Case Foundation has reframed our work. We’ve always been in the business of transformative change, but have come to realize that our real “special sauce” is that we use a Be Fearless approach to catalyze movements around social innovation and tip the scales form intention to action.

  1. Words Matter: How Should We Talk About Impact Investing?, by Jean Case

In March, our CEO Jean Case joined partners from Omidyar Network, Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation, together with the Global Impact Investing Network and the Global Social Impact Investing Steering Group, to unveil research that tracked and analyzed coverage of the topic of impact investing in traditional and social media and shared insight into how the way we talk about impact investing can play a powerful role in informing, educating and activating people around the movement.

  1. Trailblazing Women in Impact Investing, by Sheila Herrling

2016 was a year of momentum for Impact Investing. From the Treasury Department and IRS’s release of new PRI regulations, to high profile new social impact funds like TPG’s $2 billion Rise fund, it’s evident that the movement is picking up steam. And another noticeable trend has stood out: women are emerging as a driving force behind its growth. In August, our SVP of Social Innovation, Sheila Herrling, wrote what would go on to become our second most popular blog post of the year, highlighting these trailblazing women in Impact Investing. We can’t wait to see the momentum continue in 2017.

  1. The 2016 Millennial Impact Report – Phase 1, by Emily Yu

One of the hottest topics of 2016 was the election, so it is not surprising that on of our top blog posts of the year was about our Millennial Impact Report, which looked at how Millennials were engaging with the election and how the election effected their cause engagement. Among our top blogs was also “Millennials Cast Their Vote For Cause Engagement,” another post on the Millennial Impact Report, this time about Phase 2.

  1. 2016 Conferences On Our Radar, by Jade Floyd

2016 was an action packed year for the Case Foundation, and much of the great momentum we saw this year was fueled by wonderful in-person interactions at conferences and convenings. From SXSW, to SOCAP, to crisscrossing the country for #FacesofFounders activations at the White House, the New York Stock Exchange, Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, Google’s headquarters and more, we loved getting the chance to reach beyond our bubbles and meet so many changemakers face-to-face. Keep an eye out for our upcoming list of 2017 Conferences On Our Radar.

  1. Twitter Lists:

We’ve loved the conversations we have and information we learn from the engaged social impact communities on Twitter. In 2015 we started a series of Twitter lists to help people join in these conversations and better know who to follow to find out more about topics we care deeply about. Several of these lists made it into our top blog posts of 2016:

  1. The Myth of the E-Word, by Sheila Herrling

Our Myth of the Entrepreneur series was started in the fall of 2015 to take a critical look at the common stories and myths told in startup culture, and as it continued into 2016, it was clear that the myths were striking a chord with our readers. The Myth of the “E Word” post contemplated the term “entrepreneur” itself as a possible barrier to expanding and diversifying entrepreneurship. “The Myth of STEM; The Only Way,” and “The Myth of the Coasts” also found their way into our top blog posts this year. We look forward to busting more myths in 2017 that are holding us back and breaking down barriers to entrepreneurship faced by women and entrepreneurs of color.

  1. One Fearless Question that Paved the Way for Women in Government, by Jean Case

On International Women’s Day, our CEO Jean Case shared a story about the fearless trailblazers Vera Glaser and Barbara Hackman Franklin. Vera Glaser’s #BeFearless question to President Richard Nixon questioning why more women were not a part of his cabinet set off an effort, headed by Barbara Hackman Franklin, that changed women’s access to high-level appointments in federal government. Our readers also enjoyed other Be Fearless examples that made it into our top blog post lists, such as our spotlight on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Jean’s blog post “Confronting Risk in Today’s Nonprofits.” You can learn more about how to Be Fearless in your pursuit of social good on our Be Fearless Hub.

  1. What’s Trending—Using Your Business as a Force For Good, by Sheila Herrling and Hardik Savalia

We are proud to partner with B Lab and their ground breaking work to help businesses identify and measure their social impact, and through the popularity of this blog post, it is clear that our readers are also excited about the potential of the B Impact Assessment. We’re excited that the Assessment can help all businesses, not just certified B Corps, to join the movement to redefine success for business, and measure their ability to build stronger communities, create environmentally sustainable operations or cultivate empowering employment opportunities.

  1. Innovation Madness: Elite Eight, by Jessica Zetzman

In conjunction with the NCAA Tournament, the Case Foundation decided to put our own twist on March Madness and introduced Innovation Madness, a celebration of Women’s History Month and the women who have been influential innovators in exploration, business and the STEM fields—yet are not recognized as often as their male counterparts. Our whole staff got in on the fun, chosing their favorite innovators, and we loved that hundreds of people voted and participated in Innovation Madness on social media. Check out the original bracket, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and the Champion.

We are thrilled that these blog posts resonated with our readers in 2016, and look forward to continuing great conversations on and offline in 2017. Tell us what you want to read more about by using #CaseBlogs on Twitter.

50 Impact Investing Influencers You Should Follow On Twitter

2016 has been a year of real momentum within Impact Investing—whether it’s confronting the myths in Impact Investing, recognizing the trailblazing women building this movement, or the palpable shift in the discussion at the Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conference. As we look to the future, we know that no movement advances to tipping point without bold thinking, big ideas and strategic alliances. As 2016 comes to an end, we want to give a shout-out to 50 influencers in the Impact Investing space—investors, intermediaries, researchers, and engaged thought leaders—who continue to share their vision about the evolution of Impact Investing and who you should be following on Twitter.

Below is our curated list of these 50 Impact Investing influencers. We recognize that there are thousands of others who are actively engaging in this conversation on Twitter, and we hope that you’ll be one of them! Join us in the conversation by using #impinv, adding your favorite influencers to the discussion and subscribing to our Twitter List to follow the whole group below with just one click. And of course, be sure to keep in touch with the Case Foundation and our team as we share our Impact Investing work:
@CaseFoundation   @JeanCase   @SteveCase   @Rehananathoo  (Full Team List)

Andrew Beebe
@andrewbeebe
#worldpositive investor
Anne Field
@annefieldonline
Business journalist/writer/editor. Focus #entrepreneur, #impinv, #smallbiz, #socent, plus #financialadvisor, #iot, #management, #socialgood, #supplychain, #tech
Antony Bugg-Levine
@ABLImpact
CEO @nff_news unlocking potential of mission-driven orgs w/investment, advice, ideas. #Impinv book http://amzn.to/tQji0s & Springsteen. @WEF #YGL
B Corporation
@BCorporation
The Official Twitter Feed of B Corporations, companies using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems #BtheChange
B Magazine
@officialbmag
B The Change Media is the voice of Business as a Force for Good, founded in conjunction with B Lab and the community of B Corporations.
BlueHaven Initiative
@_BlueHaven
Blue Haven Initiative is an innovative family office dedicated to #investing for profit and with purpose. #impinv #socent
Bridges Ventures
@Bridges_BV
Specialist fund manager dedicated to using an impact-driven approach to create superior returns for both investors and society at-large #impinv #socinv
Calvert Foundation
@calvert_fdn
Investments for social good.
Cathy Clark
@cathyhc
Professor at @CASEatDuke; Director of #CASEi3 Initiative on Impact Investing, #SocEnt Accelerator at Duke (@DukeSEAD)
Cecilia Munoz
@Cecilia44
Director of the @WhiteHouse Domestic Policy Council, former Director, WH Intergovernmental Affairs, Mom. Tweets may be archived. More at http://wh.gov/privacy .
Clara Miller
@ClaraGMiller
President, F. B. Heron Foundation
ClearlySo
@ClearlySo
We raise capital for high-impact business & run impact investing network #impinv #socent #investing #finance #startup #InvestWithImpact
Cynthia Muller
@cynmull
#Impinv Program & Portfolio Officer @WK_Kellogg_Fdn Board member @Grndswell & @E_LoanFund Alum @Stanford @UW. Aspiring nasty woman. High-fiving a million angels
Debra Schwartz
@ImpactBanker
Managing Director #impinv @MacFound. Love creating capital solutions for #nonprofit #socent #affordablehousing #communitydev #climate +++
Devin D. Thorpe
@devindthorpe
Champion of Social Good: Author, Rotarian, Forbes Contributor, keynote speaker, helping you use #crowdfunding, #impinv, #socent, #nonprofit to make your mark.
Durreen Shahnaz
@durreen
Mom, Wife, Daughter, Social Entrepreneur, Founder of @asiaiix and @shujog — leaders of impact investing/social finance #impinv #socent in Asia
Enclude
@EncludeHolding
An advisory firm dedicated to building more inclusive and sustainable local economies through integrated capital and capacity services. #ImpInv #SocEnt #SocImp
Fifty Years
@fiftyyearsvc
We back entrepreneurs using technology to solve the world’s biggest problems.
Fran Seegull
@Franseegull
Executive Director, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance @ImpactInvestUS impact investing
GIIN
@theGIIN
The Global Impact Investing Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing.
GIIRS
@GIIRSRatings
GIIRS assesses the social & environmental impact of companies & funds
Impact Alpha
@ImpactAlpha
Investment News for a Sustainable Edge. Led by @davidbank. Also check out our open database, @ImpactSpace, aka CrunchBase for Impact.
ImpactAssets
@IAimpactassets
Catalyzing investment capital for maximum environmental, social and financial impact #impinv
ImpactEngine
@TheImpactEngine
We invest in early-stage, for-profit technology businesses improving education, health, economic empowerment, and resource efficiency. #ImpInv #SocEnt
ImpactUS
@ImpactUs_co
ImpactUs connects impact investors and mission-driven organizations to transform people and places. View our SoMe guidelines at http://bit.ly/2cQWHHv .
Jacqueline Novogratz
@jnovogratz
Founder/CEO of @acumen to find solutions to poverty & build dignity. Author of The Blue Sweater, lover of poetry, believer in possibility.
Jean Case
@JeanCase
CEO of the Case Foundation, Chairman of the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees
Jessica Matthews
@jessmatthewsCA
Impact investor, oenophile, equal parts Virginia lover & California dreamer. Twitter neophyte. All views my own. #impinv
Kesha Cash
@KeshaCashIAFund
General Partner @ Impact America Fund
Kresge Social Invest
@kresgesocinv
Working to expand opportunity, strengthen neighborhoods and improve quality of life in America’s cities by providing access to capital.
Lisa Hall
@LisaGreenHall
Passionate about impact investing. Champion 4 economic and social justice. Committed to a #betterworld thru #impinv
Matthew Weatherly White
@i3impact
Driving, shaping #impinv. Capitalist philosopher. Occasional punchbowl spiker. Stoked papa. Omnivore. Guilty of #hashtag #overuse
Min Pease
@MinPease
Director of impact investing @EchoingGreen. Effective philanthropy and the intersection of business + social impact.
Mission Investors Exchange
@MissionInvest
Mission Investors Exchange is where philanthropic innovators share ideas, tools and experiences to increase the impact of their capital.
Nancy Pfund
@NancyPfundDBL
Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner, DBL Partners, a double bottom line VC firm delivering strong returns withpositive social, environmental and regional benefits.
Nesta Impact
@nestaimpact
Investing in innovation for impact.
Omidyar Network
@OmidyarNetwork
A philanthropic investment firm harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. #PositiveReturns
Rehana Nathoo
@rehananathoo
VP of Social Innovation (Impact Investing) @CaseFoundation. Obsessive hockey fan, bookworm, and travel glutton.
Rethink Impact
@rethinkimpact
Investing in ecosystems of change
Ross Baird
@rossbaird
Executive Director of @villagecapital; also teach at @UVA. Enable entrepreneurs to solve major global problems. Big fan of @UVa basketball, @braves.
Sarah Cone
@impcapital
Managing Partner, Social Impact Capital #Impinv I invest in Seed-Series Z, in deals that provide top decile returns in addition to a positive social impact.
Sheila Herrling
@Sherrling
SVP Social Innovation @CaseFoundation; ex @MCCgov @CGDev @USTreasuryPassionate about family, friends, fun, well articulated views, bourbon. Views are my own.
SocEnt Alliance
@SEAlliance
A movement of social enterprises creating effective impact in the US & beyond. #Socinn, #GlobalDev, #Localize & #ImpInv. Let’s change the world through #socent.
Social Finance Inc.
@SocialFinanceUS
Social Finance US is a nonprofit dedicated to mobilizing capital to drive social progress through our work on #PayforSuccess and #SocialImpactBonds
Sonal Shah
@SonalRShah
Exec Director @BeeckCenter | Board @CaseFoundation @OxfamAmerica @SocialFinanceUS, @nff_news, Co-Founder @IndiCorps | Passionate about Social Change. Views own.
The ImPact
@theimpact
A Network of Families Committed to Make More Impact Investments, More Effectively.
Tideline
@TDLNE
Tideline is a consulting firm that provides tailored advice to clients developing impact investing strategies, products, and solutions.
Toniic
@ToniicNetwork
Toniic is the global action community for impact investors. #impinv #100impact #socent
US SIF
@US_SIF
Advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes.
WhartonSocial Impact
@WhartonSocial
Wharton Social Impact Initiative leverages @Wharton’s strengths to foster business strategies for a better world.

Trailblazing Women in Impact Investing

Special thanks to Ramya Tallapragada, intern with the Case Foundation, for her contributions to this blog.

In the years since the Case Foundation became a champion for Impact Investing, the movement has really taken off. In the U.S. and around the world, there has been a flurry of activity among traditional investors, policymakers, philanthropists and researchers. We’ve seen traditional investors begin to realize the value of private capital deployed for good, without the need to sacrifice profit. We’ve seen concerted efforts from the social sector to build necessary infrastructure for the Impact Investing and social enterprise community. We’ve seen government catalyze progress by enacting policy changes to increase the amount of capital available for good. We’ve seen impact investments empower entrepreneurs with transformative ideas to solve real world problems.

The Impact Investing movement also stands out in another important way: women are emerging as a driving force behind its growth—as investors, as entrepreneurs and as leaders of the movement. A recent NASDAQ piece notes that women are spearheading and populating this sector more so than any other financial services sector. I suppose there are a host of reasons why this is, but I particularly like a quote by Jackie VanderBrug of U.S. Trust in this article:

“I wouldn’t want to say it’s pink, but it has been a field where, philosophically, women have led. Part of that is because women have a more holistic view of investment. Yes, they do care about returns, but they also care about the role of their investments in society. It’s partly because they are looking for more opportunities to differentiate themselves. And it’s partly because they are looking to meet objectives beyond the benchmarks.”

A recent Calvert Investments report asserts that women, along with younger investors, will drive the growth of Impact Investing. In a study of affluent women, Calvert found that 95 percent ranked “helping others” and 90 percent ranked “environmental responsibility” as important. Women have also demonstrated that they often make purchasing decisions based on their personal values. Still, only 4 percent said that they understood how to make investments that align with their values. 70 percent did not know about sustainable or responsible investing.

While business and investing continues to focus on boomers, this data shows the importance of ensuring that women are aware of Impact Investing strategies. Remember, their purchasing power and, therefore, their potential social impact power is enormous—women control 39 percent of investible assets in the U.S. That number will continue to rise, as 50 percent of private wealth in the U.S. will be in the hands of women by 2020. And, amongst that group, it’s worth keeping an eye on Generation X and Millennials set to inherit $41 trillion of wealth over the next 40 years, with a higher degree of millennial women who are educated and look to have decision making power (vs. their male counterparts).

Education about opportunities and the how-to’s of Impact Investing remain an essential component of leveraging the impact of women in Impact Investing. Activating more investment dollars into the space is what’s required to tip the movement from niche concept to mainstream investment strategy. And typically in the early stages of movement catalyzing, we require some “Be Fearless” actors just “doing it” as we say in our Short Guide to Impact Investing.

Here are some of the fearless women leading the charge. It’s by no means comprehensive, but rather a spotlight on the mix of players from philanthropy, the investment community, the financial services industry and government:

In Philanthropy:

  • I would be remiss not to start with our own Jean Case*. She is an avid champion of the concept of putting private capital to public good. Her work on the U.S. National Advisory Board for Impact Investing helped craft a hugely successful coalition of change agents around a collective policy agenda. And she remains one of the most powerful influencers in the field, as an advocate, an ecosystem builder and an investor.
  • Clara Miller*, after assuming leadership of the Heron Foundation in 2010, has led the foundation’s effort to deploy all of its assets towards its mission, breaking down the traditional method of giving within the organization and ensuring that Impact Investing was totally integrated into the foundation’s operations and mission.
  • Debra Schwartz* has led the MacArthur Foundation’s Impact Investing arm for 15 years, directing capital to improving affordable rental housing across the U.S.
  • Laura Arnold, co-Chair of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, is a leading advocate and supporter of Pay for Success, a potential break-through financing scheme for social ventures.
  • Kimberlee Cornett*, Managing Director of The Kresge Foundation’s Social Investment Practice, spearheads the foundation’s effort to identify and fill gaps in funding for enterprises in economically stressed communities using a strategic combination of grant making and investing.
  • Paula Goldman, Vice President and Global Lead for Impact Investing at Omidyar Network, is a critical thought-leader and movement builder in the space. And Omidyar Network’s early movement in the Impact Investing arena and continued big bets in the space continue to pave the way for future followers.

In the Investment Community:

  • Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner of DBL Partners, is a venture capitalist that has proven that striving for a double bottom line can be profitable for investors and companies. Her current fund has committed to making early investments in companies to not only facilitate impact, but also encourage the integration of impact into corporate culture and operations.
  • Deborah Winshel of BlackRock Impact is transforming the way the traditional investing community views impact. BlackRock Impact oversees $200 billion in assets, offering clients values-based, ESG-based and Impact Investing strategies. A passionate advocate for metrics, Winshel is also leveraging BlackRock’s quantitative capabilities to measure investees’ social impact.
  • Dina Habib Powell, head of Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group and President of Goldman Sachs Foundation, is another example of a leader moving Impact Investing to the mainstream. Managing the firm’s housing and community-development investments, Powell is directing billions of dollars to neighborhoods and underserved communities in need across the U.S.
  • Lisa Hall is Managing Director of Anthos Asset Management, a privately owned investment manager based in Amsterdam. Former President and CEO of Calvert Foundation, Hall is a champion for investing in enterprises that aim to solve critical social issues.
  • Maya Chorengel* is the founder of Elevar Equity, a fund manager committed to using impact investments to empower entrepreneurs around the world. Elevar Equity’s early-stage investments have enabled enterprises to develop innovative business models to solve critical development problems around the world.
  • Jenny Abramson, founder of Rethink Impact, brings her diverse background in consulting, education, technology and media to Impact Investing. Rethink Impact is focused on investing in companies managed by women and leveraging technology to create impact. Listen to this podcast and her focus on enhancing returns through gender lens investing.
  • Jennifer Pryce, President and CEO of the Calvert Foundation, is at the forefront of the effort to democratize Impact Investing. Through Vested.org, the Calvert Foundation offers an inexpensive way to become an impact investor by using the foundation’s Community Investment Notes.
  • Erika Karp, Founder and CEO of Cornerstone Capital Group, leverages her expertise working at UBS and as a founding board member of SASB to advance sustainable investments.
  • Tracy Palandjian*, Co-Founder and CEO of Social Finance, is leading the charge to promote public-private partnerships through Pay for Success and Social Impact Bond models.
  • Audrey Choi*, CEO of Morgan Stanley’s Institute of Sustainable Investing, brings her experience working in journalism, the social sector and government to build cross-sector partnerships that promote sustainable investing in building resilient communities across the globe.
  • Durreen Shahnaz, Founder of Asia IIX and Shujog, is building a robust Impact Investing ecosystem in Asia. After establishing Asia IIX, the world’s first social stock exchange, Shahnaz founded Shujog, which strives to amplify the impact of social enterprises. Keep an eye on her latest idea—the Women’s Livelihood Bond.

In Research and Metrics:

  • Jean Rogers, Founder and CEO of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is filling a critical gap in the current Impact Investing industry: measurement standards. SASB is the social side of FASB, and will enable investors to evaluate corporations on their environmental, social and governing performance.
  • Cathy Clark*, at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University, is using her 25 years of experience as an impact investor and private foundation executive to conduct rigorous research and data collection to build out the case for Impact Investing. Her most recent report examines the challenges and barriers to Impact Investing.
  • Michelle Greene*, former head of Corporate Responsibility at NYSE Euronext is bringing her extensive experience to academia as Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. She also recently joined the Long-Term Stock Exchange, a new securities exchange focused on long-term value creation, as Chief Policy Officer.
  • Sonal Shah, Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Innovation at Georgetown University, has taken on a leading role in promoting innovative finance and social innovation policy in the public and private sectors.
  • Lisa Woll, CEO of the US SIF, leads a vibrant network and hub for sustainable, responsible and impact investment, with a host of essential programs and resources. See the 2014 US SIF report here.

In Government:

It is becoming increasingly clear that women—at every intersection of the Impact Investing movement—are serving as trailblazers and practitioners for its advancement. We just wanted to take a quick moment to say thanks and keep up the hard work.

*Member of the U.S. National Advisory Board on Impact Investing (NAB)

Another Policy Win for Impact Investing

This week marks another important moment in the growing global impact investing movement, and an important reminder of the critical role that government policy can play in catalyzing social progress.

In response to a 2013 call from G8 leaders for nations to designate Task Forces that would work together to identify policy recommendations to accelerate the growth of impact investing, the U.S. National Advisory Board (NAB) on Impact Investing was formed. This incredible group of cross-sector changemakers, including our own CEO Jean Case, presented its recommendations in the summer of 2014 at the White House in the form of a report—Private Capital, Public Good. The report zeroed in on a number of key policy changes that held the potential to significantly increase the amount of capital available for socially responsible business. And over the past two years, in strong partnership between the private sector, philanthropy, civic leaders and government, those recommendations are being adopted through policy change.

From Mission-Related Investment (MRI) regulations issued in September, 2015, to new Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulations issued in October, 2015, to last week’s issuance of new Program-Related Investment (PRI) regulations, the U.S. government has listened to stakeholders and taken action to remove uncertainty about impact investing among capital providers (foundations, charitable organization and private investors alike) wishing to invest for both financial and social returns.

The Latest Policy Win: PRI Regulations

This week, the Treasury Department and IRS finalized highly anticipated PRI regulations. This new guidance removes some of the uncertainty about impact investing among foundations by confirming new examples of the types of investments that qualify as PRIs. These examples were recommended in 2012 to modernize the list created more than 40 years ago, and identify foundations using PRIs to further their mission through:

  • Different financing methods, including equity, debt or loan guarantees—as is frequently the case in Pay for Success models.
  • Greater flexibility in determining a prudent, mission-aligned exit from an investment in a for-profit company that has become profitable.
  • Investments in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and even to individuals through, for example, microloans in developing economies.
  • Strategies that aren’t limited by geography or charitable purpose—PRIs can go to support the arts, the environment, health, urban development and more, both within the U.S. and internationally.

This new guidance is very welcome news. Historically, limited PRI examples left many foundations that wanted to take advantage of PRIs to support their charitable efforts on the sidelines. They questioned what was “allowable,” given their unique tax status and the changing landscape of investment seeking social enterprises and revenue generating nonprofits. At a time when our communities are in great need and traditional resources are being stretched thin—we need the power of all sectors working together, and PRIs provide foundations with a powerful tool to make that happen.

We Know These Kinds of Policy Changes Can Matter

We’re encouraged by the recent steps taken by the federal government, knowing that their actions can, and have, greatly influenced market activity. If we think back to 1979, the U.S. government issued highly impactful guidance on the prudent management of pension funds—stating that investments in venture capital funds could be consistent with ERISA guidelines. Directly following this guidance, venture investment in the U.S. jumped from just over $450 million in 1979 to a peak of $5 billion by 1987, effectively catapulting venture investments into the mainstream.

Taken together, the MRI, PRI and ERISA policy changes remove obstacles (or excuses) that have stood between good intentions to seek out impact investments and action. Even a relatively small percentage increase in pension fund impact investments would add up to billions in new capital—funds governed by ERISA manage roughly half of the $18 trillion in US pension assets. And on the PRI front, a Center for Effective Philanthropy report points to the great potential to scale impact investing—of the 64 foundation CEOs surveyed, only 41 percent said their foundations are making impact investments. Of those who are, they are deploying a median of only two percent of their endowments and 0.5 percent of their grants to PRIs.

At the Case Foundation, we believe we’re on the verge of seeing impact investing gain traction like never before. The impact investing road has been further paved by this latest policy change—let’s make that road paved more with robust actions than good intentions!

For more on the new PRI regulations, visit the White House blog post: Steps to Catalyze Private Foundation Impact Investing.

Photo credit: Roman Boed

Words Matter: How Should We Talk About Impact Investing?

For a number of years, the Case Foundation has been an active champion of the Impact Investing movement. In this work, which encourages institutions and individuals to align their capital more closely with their values, we have hosted more than 300 dialogues to better understand interests and concerns of audience segments as we seek to accelerate the movement. Yesterday, I had the privilege of joining more than 600 people on a webinar to discuss important new findings.

Thanks to a group of partners that included the Omidyar Network, Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation, together with the Global Impact Investing Network and the Global Social Impact Investing Steering Group, we unveiled important new research that tracked and analyzed coverage of the topic of impact investing in traditional and social media over a 12-month period. This report provides a clear picture of common messaging either being received or shared through the coverage that appeared in these months. This data, taken together, provides a unique roadmap to guide those of us championing the movement to key audiences and working hard to build out the impact investing ecosystem. As with any movement, words matter and can play a powerful role in informing, educating and activating those on the sidelines.

The good news is that impact investing has enjoyed mostly positive coverage and engagement in both traditional and social media. But equally good news is that it has been balanced by some skepticism or negative coverage that helps identify for us the work we have to do in the days ahead. An important insight provided by the research is that we must be careful to adapt our language and emphasis depending on who we are trying to reach. For instance, there was a clear difference in how impact investing is talked about in the U.K. as a “powerful government tool” versus in the U.S., where coverage and sharing is dominated by such phrases as “taking off,” “reaping returns” and “Millennials demand it.”

Another clear takeaway from the research is that we have work to do in the realm of measuring impact —reported to be the most common negatively associated narrative; on this point, I think there is broad agreement in the field. We must continue to commit ourselves to measuring the “impact” in impact investing. While this may take some time, there have been exciting developments to help close the gap in this area. For instance, the Case Foundation has partnered with B Lab to bring new tools to companies everywhere who want to measure their social impacts—”Measure What Matters” impact assessment tool has engaged more than 40,000 companies to date—an important step forward.

The research also shines a light on how different audiences, investors, policymakers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and high net worth individuals are engaging with each narrative, as it relates to a particular issue area. For example, two important audience segments— philanthropists and entrepreneurs—are more closely associated with the more negative “not a silver bullet” references. Indeed, within the field we recognize that it is decidedly unhelpful to paint impact investing as a silver bullet, but rather it becomes a new arrow in our quiver as we seek to champion all means in our efforts toward social impact. For those of us that speak about the movement routinely, we can use this research to remind us of the importance of making this point.

With all movements there are stages. While I believe that the impact investing movement is experiencing great traction and momentum, we are still in early days. This important research confirms we’re making strides in communicating effectively to broaden the tent and invite more participants from the private, public and nonprofit sectors to catalyze transformative social change. At the same time, it helps to guide us in our words and actions to fill gaps and address concerns.

If you didn’t have the chance to join us, the full webinar can be accessed, here. I’d like to extend my gratitude to the partners who invested in this important work and invite you to share your thoughts and insights on Twitter using hashtag #impinv.