Embracing the Tradeoff: Using Low Cost Capital to Drive Deeper Impact
Ceniarth is a single family office established by Diane Isenberg in 2013 in collaboration with the Isenberg Family Charitable Foundation. The office manages assets of $400 million. Historically, the foundation segmented their assets into 3 pools:
- The responsible asset management pool seeks values-alignment and returns comparable with traditional investment portfolios. It is conventionally balanced across major asset classes and maintains flexibility around social and/or environmental theses.
- The second is a pool of programmatic funds, deployed primarily as PRIs (program-related investments), with a small number of grants. These investments have higher risk — such as early-stage pilots or entry into new, high-risk markets — and lower returns.
- The third capital preservation pool seeks to have a measurable impact while returning capital. Most investments in this strategy are moving toward scale and have demonstrated success in providing measurable benefits for customers. The portfolio is weighted toward direct lending, private credit, real assets, and private equity.
Ceniarth plans to divest from the responsible asset management pool and expand their impact-first and programmatic initiatives, with the largest allocation in the capital preservation strategy. While most of the impact investing sector seeks to embrace the idea of double-bottom line investments that demand limited financial sacrifice, significant market gaps persist in sectors and geographies that require lower costs of capital to succeed. Ceniarth's change in strategy reflects their thinking on the importance of an impact-first investment approach.
This panel below at SOCAP19 highlighted impact-first investors that have relaxed their own constraints to achieve market-rate returns that are filling global needs, and how funds and enterprises in these markets are delivering impact in regions where commercial investors cannot venture.
Rick Beckett, Global Partnerships
Richard Greenberg, OPIC
Lynne Hoey, Candide Group
Diane Isenberg, Ceniarth
Greg Neichin, Ceniarth