January - February 2023 | Field News & Resources
This page features this month's highlights, announcements, resources, and general news related to advancements in the impact investing field.
- Autodesk Foundation Executive Director Christine Stoner interviews the Foundation Board chair Debbie Clifford on their strategy for grant making, impact investments and the importance of IMM to achieve their sustainability mission.
- Rockefeller Brothers Fund issues its first carbon footprint analysis of its investment portfolio, finding that while it is outperforming its peer benchmarks, it still needs to conduct more analysis to determine what further shifts to make. RBF is also calling for more data and reporting standardization as it works to mobilize more investors to decarbonize.
- Echoing Green’s Tiffany Thompson makes the case for investing patient capital in high-impact, Black-founded enterprises to help them navigate through the traditional “valley of death” as a means of tackling systemic racism.
- Ariel Investments closed on Project Black, its inaugural private equity fund with $1.45 Billion earmarked to invest in middle-market companies that may not currently be minority-owned, as well as existing Black or Latino/a-owned businesses. Managers want to transform these enterprises into certified minority businesses of scale that can serve as Tier 1 suppliers to the Fortune 500.
- MacArthur and Bush Foundations are investors in Raven Indigenous Capital Partners' historic $100M Indigenous venture capital fund that provides patient capital and a culturally grounded community of support to early and growth-stage Indigenous enterprises.
- Inside Philanthropy profiles Richmond Memorial Health Foundation through “Small Can Be Effective. Five Things to Know about Richmond Memorial Health Foundation”.
- A bi-ennial impact investing report by Cambridge Associates shows an overall increase in the practice by 81% in the last four years; and that foundations and endowments reported the highest rates of integration of sustainable and impact investing at 73% and 69%, respectively, compared with 52% for family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Climate change and resource efficiency is the most common thematic focus area, followed by diverse manager investing and social and environmental equity.
- The City of Chicago floated $160 million in social impact bonds to the public, targeting residents of the city and state with $1,000 pricing and a day's advantage in purchase. The bonds will fund city-wide improvements, including construction of affordable housing, cleanup of vacant lots and the promised planting of 75,000 trees over five years.
- Anna Smukowski who serves as Enterprise Community Loan Fund’s senior director of capital programs, writes this “How to Align Assets with Mission: Small Steps That Nonprofits Can Take” piece, identifying ways that nonprofits can get started in impact investing.
- As part of its new five-year strategic plan, Nathan Cummings Foundation is expanding its impact-investing activities, with a sole focus on REEF (racial, economic and environmental justice). As it converges its assets into a “totality approach” to impact, the foundation is doubling down on shareholder activism and its commitment to 100 percent mission-aligned investing, while also introducing program-related investments (PRIs) into its portfolio.
- The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund began making low interest loans to nonprofits and social enterprises in the San Francisco Bay Area and Israel three years ago. Self described as “impact loans,” their CEO Joy Sisisky shares some of the outcomes, and the merits of recycling this capital for future lending.
- CalPERS announced a $1 Billion commitment to identify and support the next generation of investor entrepreneurs in the private markets, and wants others to join them. CalPERS is investing $500 million in GCM Grosvenor’s Elevate strategy, which makes seed investments in small, emerging and diverse private equity firm founders, and $500 million in TPG’s Next fund, which aims to back younger, underrepresented alternative asset managers.
- UnitedHealth Group has committed $10 million as a lead investor in the first round of the Invest Appalachia Fund which targets community health, including affordable housing, clean energy, community revitalization and food and agriculture. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) are also lead investors in the fund, with additional commitments from Cassiopeia Foundation, Laughing Gull Foundation and Sugarbush Valley Impact Investments. The IA Fund’s investment manager is LOCUS Impact Investing.
- In honor of its 15th Anniversary, The Disability Opportunity Fund has formally launched the Disability Angel Fund. The new fund is currently invested in seven portfolio companies and is examining a full pipeline of potential investments in six Focus Areas of employment, education, housing, life sciences/ healthcare, technology/products and socialization.
- Jed Emerson and Bjoern Struewer co-author an essay on catalytic capital from the entrepreneur's point of view, based on interviews with 26 entrepreneurs from around the world. Is it really catalytic or is it just useful, they ask, then present seven common areas of feedback.
- The World Economic Forum shares its bullish opinion that impact investing is mainstreaming globally at the start of its annual conference in Davos. Decarbonization for a healthy climate, closing the digital divide, and financial inclusion are the top three areas for greatest potential impact, they say.