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There’s no denying that the month of March was a tumultuous one for the entire financial system. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank sent shockwaves throughout the startup community. Meanwhile, the economic downturn seems to finally be reaching the cleantech sector — in the first quarter, climate tech startups raised $5.7 billion in venture capital, a 36% decline from the previous quarter and 50% lower than its peak in Q3 2021, according to Pitchbook data.

Despite the challenges, at Breaking Good we always try to find the uplifting side of things when possible. For example, Pitchbook points to the continued momentum in climate tech and the yet-to-be-realized impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act, two areas of particular focus for many impact investors. Also, new data from the Energy Information Administration shows that US renewable electricity generation surpassed coal for the first time in 2022, marking a major milestone in the transition to clean energy.

And in the face of headwinds, we are also happy to see news that shows the resilience of women-founded businesses and signs that entrepreneurship with an eye on impact is being embraced on college campuses across the country, as we describe further below. We hope these positive stories bring hope for a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future.


Chef José Andrés made headlines last month when his restaurant group announced it would open new culinary concepts in Las Vegas and Palo Alto, and we were happy to hear that his first restaurant — Jaleo in our hometown of Washington, DC — is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Yet while many people know José Andrés as a celebrated chef, Breaking Good readers are also likely to know that behind the Michelin stars is an activist who’s using food as an agent of change.

Andrés founded World Central Kitchen (WCK) in 2010 after heading to Haiti to prepare meals following the major earthquake that devastated the island. In the 13 years since, he and the organization have fed millions around the world, acting with urgency and reaching beyond their bubble to bring solutions to hunger and poverty, especially in times of crisis.

In 2022, their mission took them to Ukraine. Andrés and WCK began serving meals to Ukrainian refugees within 24 hours of Russia’s invasion. By September, the organization had served more than 150 million meals in the country.

Featured in Be Fearless, Andrés embodies the spirit of fearlessness every day through his humanitarian work. In a recent interview with Esquire, José explained what that means to him. “I’m afraid all the time. But then you think about all the women on the front line every day. You stop being afraid, because you are next to people that make you brave. Being in Ukraine gives me a lot of joy to see how an entire nation can come together with support of people from the outside. You can be afraid and fearless at the same time.”

Impact Investing Makes Gains
Nearly three-quarters of institutional investors consider or plan to consider the impact of their investment decisions on the environment and society, according to Nuveen research — and 61% of that group sees impact investments becoming an increasingly important allocation in the coming years. Energy innovations and infrastructure top impact investors’ priorities for the next two years.
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Infrastructure Investors Seek Impact

A new report from Infrastructure Investor highlights how infrastructure fund managers are embracing impact. The special issue explores several trends, such as the rise of place-based impact, the use of microgrids to power developing countries, and mounting pressure to deliver “nature-positive” investments.
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Supporting Next-Gen Impact Founders

Setting its sights on next-gen founders, IF: Impact First Ventures is creating a one-stop shop for social entrepreneurship by sourcing and supporting early-stage impact ventures on college campuses. Twin brothers Max and Sam Strickburger started the organization on Penn State’s campus a few years ago and have now created student teams at eight different colleges and universities — Penn, Morehouse, Columbia, Howard, Stanford, Spelman, Princeton, and Michigan. Impact First focuses on developing an impact community, helping startups measure their impact, and connecting them with a network of advisors.
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Women Founders Show Resilience
While funding for female-founded businesses in the U.S. remains stubbornly low (yes it still hovers near only 2% of all VC funding each year) and female founders saw a 28% drop in venture funding in 2022, a new report from Female Founders Fund notes that this drop can also be seen as demonstrating resilience, considering that overall venture funding fell by 37%. It’s just one of the many recent reports pointing to the strength of women founders. According to a survey from the payroll firm Gusto Inc., women started about half of all new US businesses in 2022 for the third year in a row, compared to 29% just before the pandemic.
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Finding Hope Through Humor

Comedians may not fit the typical profile of climate activists, but some believe these unlikely influencers may be able to help flip the script on climate change. The Climate Comedy Cohort’s latest class of comedians is hoping to use humor to motivate feelings of optimism and hope, reports The Guardian. Caty Borum, a professor at American University (one of the organizations behind the Climate Comedy Cohort), believes that when comedy is done well, it can change minds on almost any topic. Can comedians standing up for the climate spur action? We sure hope so.
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