April-May 2020 | Field News & Resources
This page features two months of highlights, announcements, resources, and general news related to advancements in the impact investing field.
- At the Mission Investors Exchange 2020 National Conference, foundations shared their plans for structural change within their own organizations and intensified the call for action toward a larger societal transformation.
- A broad group of impact investing networks, including MIE, have formed the Response, Recovery, and Resilience (R3) Investment Coalition, which aims to streamline impact investing efforts that will address the large-scale social and economic consequences of COVID-19. The R3 Coalition, to be managed by the Global Impact Investing Network, is supported by a group of leading foundations and MIE members, according to Barron’s. Click here to learn more about the R3 Coalition.
- "To address the COVID-19 crisis and build resilience... we must do more than tinker around the edges," notes Jasper van Brakel of RSF Social Finance as he shares key principles that the organization has developed over decades to move towards a regenerative approach to human and ecological resources that is inherently adaptive and favors collaboration in the interest of the whole.
- An article in FundFire notes the efforts of foundations and impact investors to address the health crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and support economic recovery, and quotes MIE CEO Matt Onek.
- ImpactAssets launched the COVID-19 Response Fund, a hybrid of rapid-response charitable giving and flexible impact investing capital. The fund, which has an initial investment capacity of more than $1 billion, will focus on the immediate unmet needs of small businesses and individuals, as well as companies fighting on the front lines of the pandemic.
- Kresge Foundation invested $2 million in the Community Resource Fund, a nonprofit CDFI, to fund U.S. Small Business Administration-backed PPP loans to nonprofits, Crain’s Detroit Business reports.
- Invest Atlanta created a $1.5 million loan fund for small businesses that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Business Continuity Loan Fund will offer zero interest loans to ensure the viability of city businesses and to help sustain employment, according to the Saporta Report.
- In response to COVID-19, REDF Impacting Investing Fund and Open Road Alliance joined forces to create a $1 million co-lending partnership, which will provide bridge and working-capital financing to employment social enterprises.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard launched an initiative to accelerate technologies designed to identify, assess, develop and scale treatments for COVID-19. The accelerator will evaluate new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients in the immediate term, along with other viral pathogens in the future, TechCrunch reports.
- Unencumbered by politics or the business world’s profit motive, philanthropists can play an important role in the complicated and time-consuming development of vaccines. Organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are writing large cheques in the hope of contributing to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Financial Times.
- With businesses and individuals under pressure from traditional lenders, impact investors are offering their portfolio companies flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis, by restructuring loan payments and other terms, ImpactAlpha reports.
- Energize Colorado, a new nonprofit organization created to sell businesses personal protective equipment for a reasonable price, launched its online marketplace in May. In roughly two weeks, the site received more than 400 orders from businesses seeking to reopen safely, according to The Denver Post.
- Laura Tomasko of the Urban Institute explains how impact investments can help fill funding gaps for small businesses and nonprofit organizations that do not have access to loan assistance or stimulus resources from the government.
- Betsy Biemann, CEO of Coastal Enterprises, offers insights on the potential of rural philanthropy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Stephen B. Heintz, president of The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, shares the foundation’s journey toward aligning investment and mission, including its decision to divest from fossil fuels. Spoiler alert: fossil fuel-free financial performance over more than five years has outstripped the market benchmark.
- This report by the Intentional Endowments Network looks at studies that have explored the financial performance of various sustainable investing strategies used by university endowments. By compiling the studies’ results, it shows that these strategies, in general, perform as well or better than traditional approaches.
- This recap of a session from the MIE Conference's Place-Based Investing Week summarizes the work of foundations in Georgia, including the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, among others.
- A new roadmap launched by Humanity United, UBS Optimus Foundation, and The Freedom Fund, and The Investment Integration Project (TIIP) uses the COVID-19 pandemic as a frame of reference to help investors better understand and respond to the material risks to their investments – from business as usual to times of extreme crisis – that are caused by the deep interconnection between social and financial systems. Learn more about the roadmap by joining this webinar on June 11, 11AM ET.