New Year’s Resolution: Invest With An Eye On Impact

The past decade of growth in Impact Investing movement has been impressive. More investors, entrepreneurs, corporations, foundations and non-profits are investing with the intention of generating both financial and social returns than ever before, and we have seen interest in the subject soar. Yet it is still early days and impact investing has a long way to go. As such, we have many investors circling around impact investing, looking for ways to “stick their toe in the water” and experiment before they make a substantial commitment. If you are in this crowd and are thinking that your New Year’s resolution should be to step up your commitment to maximize profit and purpose and learn more about impact investing, we have created a number of resources to help you. None provide investment advice. Instead, they give you the tools to learn about impact investing, inform your research and be well informed as you contemplate investing with your values in mind.

The Short Guide to Impact Investing: This guide lays out the basic principles and examples of impact investing across the field. The guide’s content reflects crowd-sourced wisdom from dozens of our partners in the space. We kept it short and, we hope, fun to read. We developed a flexible framework and a simple taxonomy to help people get their arms around what impact investing means. Case studies and examples of organizations and investors will help illustrate how to create meaningful, measurable impact.

Impact Investing Network Map: Those inside impact investing and those new to the field often ask “who makes impact investments, and what do they look like?” That is why the Case Foundation built the Impact Investing Network Map. The Network Map demonstrates the publicly available transactions between investors and companies within impact investing. We believe that by bringing the connections between actors to life—looking specifically at the investments that connect them—we can foster a better understanding of the size, breadth, depth and, importantly, the enormous potential of this field. The Network Map is not intended as a diligence tool, but instead offers a way to view the ecosystem more broadly based on data sets made available in the sector.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the pivotal milestones that have led us to today, and to better understand the experiences and lessons learned from pioneers in the field. To celebrate 10 years of growth in the sector, and to highlight these key moments, we put together an interactive timeline. The timeline looks back at the last decade of growth in impact investing, and spotlights the many investors, entrepreneurs and leaders who jumped in and propelled it forward. The moments captured on this timeline are just some of the activities that have helped to shape the ecosystem we have today, but they bring to light the importance of distinct actions that have created opportunities for others and how the movement has progressed in key areas like intentionality, measurement and transparency. While celebrating the progress made over the past decade, the timeline also shows the promise the future holds for impact investing.

As I wrote earlier this year, we believe that forces are at play that demonstrate a promising future for impact investing. A wider and wider range of actors are jumping in, leading others who historically remain on the sidelines to start to explore impact investing allocations. We see Millennials and women playing a greater role in the next decade around how wealth might be deployed with purpose in mind, but we also see continuing momentum from all sectors of the market. Relatedly, we also see a growing number consumers are using their voices, their dollars and their careers to have impact, as well.

While these signs give us hope, there is much more to be done to keep the momentum going. And that is why we are reaching out to those of you looking to learn more about impact investing in 2018, offering the resources you need to learn more about this exciting field. To those new to the movement, we want to welcome you to impact investing! We look forward to you joining a community committed to putting investment dollars to work in the pursuit of profit and purpose.

B Lab 2017 Best for the World Funds Are Featured on the Network Map

As the momentum for Impact Investing grows, we continue to see organizations raise the bar around standards and benchmarks that begin to measure social and financial performance. This week, we celebrate the release of the 2017 Best for the World Funds list. Utilizing the GIIRS Impact Rating system developed by B Lab, funds can evaluate their impact performance against others in the field. Twenty-eight funds are being  honored as 2017 Best for the World Funds for their deep commitment to having this rigorous and transparent third-party review of their impact. By sharing and comparing fund performance that includes social and environmental metrics, these featured funds help empower the companies that aim to do good in the world.

The Case Foundation is proud to partner with B Lab to showcase the profiles of these 28 leading funds on our Impact Investing Network Map as the two efforts are working towards the same goal: accelerating the Impact Investing movement through transparency and open data.  

Check out the BLab press release here, and feel free to explore the Network Map here.

A Video Demo of the Impact Investing Network Map

As those of you who follow the Case Foundation’s work know, we have been hard at work building the Impact Investing Network Map for the past two years. The map demonstrates the publicly available transactions between investors and companies within impact investing. We believe that by bringing the connections between actors to life—looking specifically at the investments that connect them—we can foster a better understanding of the size, breadth, depth, and, importantly, the enormous potential of this field.

To provide a first look at what the Network Map is capable of, I led a live webinar demonstration last week of the Beta version. By walking through its many features, here’s what we covered:

  • The type of data used in the Network Map, including how it’s sourced and managed through our data partners;
  • The Map’s searching and filtering capabilities, including company, investor, impact objective, industry, and more;
  • Profile and Financial details about the companies and investors included; and
  • The Insights page, which provides high-level insights into the data included in the Network Map.



We also issued a call for those in the Impact Investing field to #ShareYourData. A map is only as good as the data used to create it and we need accurate data to show the true potential of the Impact Investing movement. More data will ensure we can capture the range of connections taking place in the Impact Investing space.

We hope this demonstration provides the foundation necessary for folks to jump in and explore all the Network Map has to offer. If you’d like to explore the map, you can sign up to be a Beta tester by visiting You can also submit your data directly to ImpactSpace, by visiting to see it included on the Network Map.

Looking to Build Momentum: A First Glimpse at the Impact Investing Network Map

Our CEO Jean Case wrote in SSIR last week, “the most common question we hear when we are out speaking about Impact Investing is a simple one—‘who has done what in this space?’”

That’s why, over the last two years, the Case Foundation has worked hard to develop the Impact Investing Network Map.

Our vision is to build a tool that will answer these questions by showcasing the publicly available transactions between investors and companies within Impact Investing. We believe that by bringing the connections between actors to life—looking specifically at the investments that connect them—we can foster a better understanding of the size, breadth, depth and, importantly, the enormous potential of this field.

But that vision is part of a deeper desire to change behavior. We hope that the Network Map will spur investors to publicly share investment data and make transparency a hallmark of the Impact Investing sector. We firmly believe increased sharing of data and better mapping of the ecosystem will result in more robust activity from investors and entrepreneurs. Only with data that is both in-depth and accurate will a wider cross section of actors engage, and that is key to propelling the Impact Investing movement to tipping point.

To realize this vision, we need you.

Here are three ways you can join the movement:

  1. #ShareYourData—visit our data partner, ImpactSpace, to submit your data today.
  2. Be a part of early testing—stay informed by signing up for updates and to receive a link directly to the Network Map so you can explore it and give us your feedback.
  3. Spread the word—share this Call to Action with your network and encourage others to join the movement.

Want a guided tour of the Network Map? Join our webinar on July 12, 2017 at 2:30 PM EST for a demonstration of all this tool has to offer. Register for the webinar today

SOCAP 2016: A New Chapter

Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) is a conference series dedicated to exploring, innovating and collaborating around the ideas and solutions that can increase the flow of capital toward social good. The annual flagship event concluded last week at the historic Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA.

SOCAP has played a special role within the Impact Investing field since the first conference in 2008. It has continued to draw crowds of impact investors, social enterprises, field-builders and thought-leaders to discuss the latest and greatest in Impact Investing.

In recent years, particularly as the Impact Investing movement has gained serious traction, the need for SOCAP to expand beyond “the choir” to include major investors—inclusive of asset managers and owners—has never been more important. Similarly, the need to shift conversations from Impact Investing being an “emerging field” to a “growing industry” has been much needed.

We observed that shift this year, and were happy to be a part of it.

Members of the Case Foundation team travelled to SOCAP last week to engage in a global conversation around money and meaning. We left with a renewed sense of inspiration, as well as fresh ideas for collaboration. Here are a few of our key takeaways from the week:

1. We’re no longer discussing the “emerging field” of Impact Investing. It has emerged.

Since the Impact Investing field was first formalized, much of the conference has focused around persuading broad audiences to embrace it. For the impact community, it has been particularly challenging to bring along mainstream investors to explore another tool in their investment toolbox.

This year, however, numerous individuals in the opening plenaries, panels, sessions and breakouts had a different message. No longer were experts advocating for the importance of Impact Investing, but rather that Impact Investing is already here. In a time of finite resources, heightened importance around business sustainability, need for holistic risk assessment and demand for matching capital with individual values, the question of whether Impact Investing is real has been answered.

Instead, there was an intentional pivot to “how?” How do we make Impact Investing tools broadly accessible to diverse markets and audiences? How do we equip wealth advisors, CIOs and institutional investors with the knowledge, training and resources they need to explore the integration of Impact Investing into their product suite? How do fiduciaries continue to meet stringent expectations around their financial duty, while also responsibly integrating impact? The signaling here is critical, and we were pleased to see the thoughtful and creative conversations around how to address these questions.

To dig deeper, check out a recap of our session on Thursday about leveraging the advisor community as a gateway to Impact Investing.

2. Levelling the entrepreneurship playing field is a must.

Just as the rhetoric around Impact Investing has changed in recent years, so has the conversation around entrepreneurship. At SOCAP, a concentrated effort has been made to provide entrepreneurs with a chance to connect, pitch and seek mentorship. But that’s not the only way the conversation has changed; an entire track of the conference this year focused on inclusive entrepreneurship. These sessions tackled important topics of diversity and inclusion across race and gender within entrepreneurship, and brought to light both critical shortcomings and tremendous benefits from access and opportunity for all of our changemakers.

At the Case Foundation, entrepreneurship has always been a big part of how we think about our movement catalyzation efforts. For nearly 20 years, we’ve continued to believe in entrepreneurship as a driving force behind growth, development—and importantly—inclusion. To that end, SOCAP was an opportunity to give a sneak peek of our #FacesofFounders campaign with a photo and storytelling booth at the Festival Pavilion. In partnership with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the Case Foundation’s #FacesofFounders campaign will shine a spotlight on the millions of diverse entrepreneurs in America, and reinforce the importance of an inclusive approach to entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs and supporters of entrepreneurs were invited to take free headshots, share their stories, showcase their varied backgrounds and share their journeys of learning and success.

SOCAP Photo Booth

Check out a recording of Senior Vice President Sheila Herrling’s lively panel, Am I an Entrepreneur?, with changemakers Monique Woodard, Tony Tolentino and Kelechi Anyadiegwu.

3. Transparency is essential.

In the Impact Investing space, metrics, measurement and the data that supports these activities have observed a transformation in both necessity and importance. Often considered a cumbersome demand of early Impact Investing activity, measurement, tracking and transparency are essential in getting the field to scale.

During SOCAP, we co-hosted a standing room only session on open data for social good with ImpactSpace and SODA. Investors, entrepreneurs and field-builders crowded in to watch rapid-fire presentations from data-powered platform creators, who have all committed to innovate around the way we gather and share data. This is indicative of a growing community of data experts and stakeholders looking to advance the practice of effective collaboration through powerful, user-friendly tools.

Network Map Body

At the Case Foundation, our movement building efforts have included collaborative partnerships to sophisticate and streamline data accessibility, including impact measurement, investment reporting and research. Our work on the Impact Investing Network Map is one such way we’re hoping to bring in investors and organizations looking to engage in the space. Primarily, the Map will allow a visual overlay of transaction-led relationships across the Impact Investing industry and enable users to filter information by asset class, geography, and impact area. Through a partnership with ImpactSpace, and using data from CrunchBase, we’re hoping to demonstrate just where the relationships exist, tangibly bust through the myth that the field is still nascent, and work together to change how we talk about data.

Want to check out more on the Impact Investing Network Map? Sign up to be an early tester and submit your data directly to the platform!

We were thrilled to see our movement areas—Impact Investing and Inclusive Entrepreneurship—collide at SOCAP, and witness the momentum building around each of them. We look forward to continuing to forge strong partnerships in these areas, to build on these movements and reach tipping point.

Nine Sessions to Catch at SOCAP 2016

As we say goodbye to summer and hello to September, for many of us working in the social impact field that means getting ready for one of the sectors’ biggest events—Social Capital Markets, or SOCAP. This year the Case Foundation team is looking forward to engaging with our partners along with a growing network of impact focused investors, entrepreneurs, consumers and professionals at SOCAP.

SOCAP started in 2008 with a small group of investors who were determined to make their money work, not only for financial returns but also for social benefit; it is now one of the largest annual conferences for impact investors and social entrepreneurs globally. When we at the Case Foundation launch something new, we like to give a sneak-peek to great audiences, and the counsel from SOCAP changemakers makes it a perfect conference to work on enhancing the potential impact of our work.

That’s why at this year’s SOCAP, which takes place from September 13 – 16 in San Francisco, CA, we’re thrilled that the two movements we’re driving—impact investing and inclusive entrepreneurship—will be front and center. We can’t wait to share a few of our ideas and take the opportunity to learn from other incredible innovators at SOCAP. Here are just a few of next week’s standout sessions and programs; we hope to see you there!


9:00 AM – 6:00 PM – Faces of Founders Story Booth
It’s time to level the playing field when it comes to entrepreneurship for women and communities of color. It’s time to change the narrative and bust myths of what an entrepreneur does and doesn’t look like. Stop by the Festival Pavilion at booth 104 on Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and join the Case Foundation and Blackstone Charitable Foundation to take your free headshot and learn more about the upcoming Faces of Founders campaign. Come show the diverse backgrounds and approaches of entrepreneurs today and share your best advice on how to make this campaign a huge success.

10:45 AM – Accelerator Effectiveness in Developing Countries
Around the globe, entrepreneurs are turning to accelerator programs for support to grow their businesses, so how do we know if they’re effective or not? Ross Baird, Executive Director at Village Capital and other ecosystem innovators will lead small group discussions about the programmatic and environmental elements that determine an accelerator’s outcomes. Make your way to BATS! Annex at 10:45 AM to be a part of the conversation.

10:45 AM – Impact Unicorns: Can We Have Our Cake and Eat it Too?
A group of true impact investing powerhouses will take part in a panel at Cowell Theater at 10:45 AM to cover one of the biggest questions in impact investing: Can investors have their cake (financial returns) and eat it, too (impact returns)? The panel will feature the funds and firms—Elevar Equity, MicroVest, DBL Partners, Core Innovation Capital and ImpactAssets—that do just that, the so-called “Impact Unicorns.”

12:00 PM – Mapping the Impact Investing Landscape with Collaborative Data – Demos
Interested in the growing applicability and necessity of open data and collaboration in the impact investing and social good market? Be sure to join the Case Foundation’s SVP of Social Innovation, Sheila Herrling who will be co-hosting a conversation on open data for social good with ImpactSpace and SODA (Social Data Commons) at 12:00 PM in Firehouse. The session will feature rapid-fire presentations from innovative data-powered platform creators and hands-on demos in a collaborative environment. Stop by to try out the tools for yourself and get a preview of our soon-to-launch impact investing ecosystem map.

1:15 PM – Collaborative Data for Social Good – Just Do It!
Make sure you stick around for the collaboration workshop directly following the Mapping the Landscape session, which will be led by the great minds behind SODA in Firehouse at 1:15 PM. This workshop is for all who are serious about working together to build the connective infrastructure needed to create a more connected and efficient infrastructure.


9:00 AM – 6:00 PM – Faces of Founders Story Booth
If you couldn’t make it out on Wednesday for your photo, be sure to stop by on Thursday!

11:00 AM – Impactful Matchmaking: How Investment Advisors First Talk Impact with Clients
The early interactions between investors and their advisors are critical—particularly given that many more people express interest in impact investing than actually move to action. The Case Foundation’s VP of Social Innovation, Rehana Nathoo will join a panel of impact investment leaders and trendsetters from Tideline, ImpactAssets, The CAPROCK Group, Morgan Stanley and Cambridge Associates to discuss how advisors and their clients can talk about impact investing, and what we need to get to scale, at 11:00 AM in Cowell Theater.

4:00 PM – Am I an Entrepreneur? Challenging the Stereotypes
How can the stories we tell and the words we use to tell them help to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs to grow and scale their businesses? Hear from Sheila Herrling, SVP of Social Innovation from the Case Foundation, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, 500 Startups and Zuvaa African Fashion at the Festival Mainstage at 4:00 PM, on what challenges and opportunities diverse entrepreneurs face when building their brands and successful companies.

4:00 PM – Measure What Matters: Unveiling the New B Impact Assessment Tool
If you’re curious about a tool that is helping to direct investment into the companies that are creating high quality jobs, strengthening communities and preserving the environment, then you may want to check out this session in C230 at 4:00 PM, hosted by the nonprofit B Lab. Case Foundation Program Officer, Sean Tennerson will join a panel of investors that are using or developing strategies to use the B Impact Assessment, which just got a big overhaul.


11:00 AM – Best of Cities: How to Teach All Businesses in Your City about Impact
Is it possible to have every business in a city learn how to solve locally entrenched issues? Yes! Stop by BATS! Theater at 11:00 AM to hear how B Lab and New York City started a citywide program to teach all businesses—not just those that drink their Kool Aid—how to create high quality jobs, strengthen communities and preserve the environment.

We are excited to collaborate with innovators working toward new solutions within both of our movements and we look forward to seeing you at #SOCAP16.