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Happy summer! If your warm-weather plans include visiting a beach somewhere, you’ll be heartened to read the stories of some of the changemakers we feature in this month’s newsletter, who are using their passions and capital to protect coastal communities and ocean ecosystems.

The start of June also ushered in Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Given that LGBTQ+ founders often face barriers in starting their businesses, it’s inspiring to see how these influential entrepreneurs and CEOs are paving the way for future generations.

Read on for more news about a few of the many changemakers who are working to shape a more sustainable and inclusive world.

Driving Impact for Coastal Communities and Ecosystems
Anya Freeman caught our attention when we read about her startup, Kind Designs, as one of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Award winners. The Miami-based company uses 3D printing to manufacture cost-effective seawalls designed to benefit ecosystems.

Trained as a lawyer with no professional background in engineering, marine biology, or construction, Freeman may seem like an unlikely climate-tech entrepreneur. She co-founded Kind Designs in 2020 to make an impact after experiencing sea level rise and flooding at her home in South Beach.

“My passion really is technology, and I wanted to find the marriage of purpose and scale,” Freeman told Refresh Miami in 2022.

As Anya channels her passion into finding a scalable solution to an urgent problem in coastal cities, she hopes to inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

“Kind Design succeeding then creates incentives for other startups and founders to innovate in the space,” she said in a recent CLEO Institute podcast. “Although we're extremely driven as a company, it's really about lifting up all the innovation of founders in our space and definitely in our city.”

We’ll be keeping an eye on Freeman’s waves of impact.
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Investing in the Blue Economy
The past decade has seen a dramatic rise in private equity and venture capital funds focused on the blue (ocean) economy, with the number of funds now totaling at least 30, according to a new Blue Invest report. One example is the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, a commercial-scale, private equity impact fund directing attention and investment towards our oceans. Impact Alpha has more on the fund’s investment strategy and opportunities for impact.
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World-Changing Impact Investors

Congrats to the eight companies recognized by Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards for their impact investing innovations. From big names like United Airlines and Merck to specialized funds like Chasing Rainbows and Burnt Island Ventures, each organization is proving that it’s possible to generate positive benefits alongside financial returns.
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Addressing Inequality Can Create $1 Trillion of Growth (Study)

According to a recent analysis by the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, tackling the causes of Black economic disparity could unleash up to $1 trillion in U.S. economic growth. Researchers suggest that by taking action on key cornerstones of economic advancement, including entrepreneurship, we can “invigorate the entire American economy.”
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Five Women Pushing Sustainability Forward
We were captivated by the profiles of the five women entrepreneurs who won the 2023 WE Empower UN SDG Challenge, recently featured in Forbes. From launching eco-friendly transportation initiatives in Egypt to developing groundbreaking geothermal technologies in New Zealand, these leaders are advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring others to follow suit.
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How You Can Help Protect Colorful Reefs

As World Ocean Day approaches (June 8), we’ve been thinking about the many ways to take action to preserve vital ecosystems. This article shares tips on how you can help keep coral reefs bright and thriving, from practicing responsible tourism to opting for sustainable seafood.
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