Volume 22: The Slow Adoption of Impact Investing Aligning Financial and Impact Investment Risk

Impact investing has existed for a substantial amount of time, but it has not been fully embraced by the investment community and, to many, is still not considered a mainstream investment practice. While there are signs that its adoption is increasing, there are several barriers, both real and perceived, that have slowed its adoption. This paper will present some of the key reasons for impact investments’ slow adoption. It will provide background on the industry and discuss specific factors causing its slow adoption. This paper will then provide several principles aimed at furthering investors’ understanding of impact.

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See who's leading the charge in backing female-founders. And who has work to do.

What's the best way to identify the top investors in female-founded companies? To answer that question, we published a list of US-based VC firms ranked by the number of investments completed in startups with at least one female founder since 2006. But that list failed to highlight firms whose portfolios contained mostly female-founded companies.

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SunTrust Joins Wave Of Banks Exiting The Private Prison Industry

SunTrust Bank announced this morning that they are ready to join other major banks in moving away from the private prison industry, in the wake of deep public sentiment against their role in mass incarceration and family detention. “Following an ongoing and deliberate process, SunTrust has decided not to provide future financing to companies that manage private prisons and immigration holding facilities,” said Sue Mallino, Chief Communications Officer of SunTrust Banks, Inc. “This decision was made after extensive consideration of the views of our stakeholders on this deeply complex issue.”

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Volume 21: The PhilaImpact Fund’s Year of Progress: Key Accomplishments and Lessons Learned

When we announced the PhilaImpact Fund a year ago, we noted that it was created to fill a gap, offering a safe, smart direct investment opportunity tailored specifically to the Greater Philadelphia region. Our goal was to ensure that the opportunity gaps that exist in our communities get smaller, so that every resident has a chance to thrive from possibilities born from the region’s vibrancy. The results to date have been inspiring.


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How Board Members Really Feel About ESG, from Deniers to True Believers

Driving sustainable business practices in companies requires involvement from boards of directors. And there is some evidence that sustainability is rising up the board agenda. Many board members today have the right aspirations, but there is a substantial gap between those aspirations and the capacity of their boards and firms to deliver.

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Volume 20: Investing to Make Health Care Available to All

Although the Philadelphia region is home to some of the world’s finest hospitals that deliver best-in-class health care, many of our communities still suffer from the lack of access to care. Equal access to health care can be—must be—more than an aspiration; it must become a fact of life. Impact investment has the potential to help make high-quality care available to all. Let us work together to transform our best intentions into real solutions that benefit all who live in our region and in our nation.

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The ROI Of Purpose: The Growth To Expect And 3 Investments To Make

The time is coming where we’ll look back on how we’re doing business today and marvel at how strange it was. We’re living out the last moments of a way of working and defining value that we’ll remember with disbelief. We’ll do one of those head-shaking chuckles when we think about the fact that companies once existed without a real sense of purpose — similar to when we remember using phones that were anchored to our walls.

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Op Ed: Diversity Pays

Several years ago, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation decided to start investing portions of our multi-billion-dollar endowment with firms owned and managed by women and people of color. For our president, Alberto Ibarguen, and the board of trustees, it was morally the right thing to do, and we were confident we could execute it in a financially prudent and responsible way.

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Tech and Impact Pioneer Mitch Kapor on SOCAP’s Money + Meaning Podcast

Many people know him as the Founder of Lotus Development Corporation, the designer of Lotus 1-2-3, or the Co-founder of The Electronic Frontier Foundation, but in the social impact space Mitch Kapor has become most famous for investing in seed stage tech startups that are closing gaps of access, opportunity, or outcome for low-income communities and communities of color in the US.

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Ford Foundation: Spotting Mispriced Risks In Affordable Housing, Quality Jobs And Diverse Managers (Podcast)

Foundations command a combined $900 billion in the U.S., and more than $1.5 trillion globally. No other class of asset owners should be more predisposed to move “beyond trade-offs” than philanthropies, which have a legal mandate and tax obligation to benefit society, as well as a presumably charitable original intent.

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Impact Investing Is The Quiet Revolution Taking Shape Across Our Economy — And It’s Just Getting Started

In recent years, there has been a quiet revolution taking shape across our economy. A growing movement led by passionate pioneers out to change the world has been slowly but surely expanding. A growing chorus of fearless leaders have been championing the idea that businesses can be a powerful tool for social good, beyond the jobs that they create, while also retaining a focus on profit and growth. And the markets have responded. 

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Volume 19: Foundations’ 21st-Century Obligation: Align Your Endowments with Mission

In the United States, eighty-seven thousand foundations collectively own approximately $800 billion in assets. Each year, these foundations - financial institutions established for the public good - have a federal obligation to give just 5% of those assets toward achieving their mission. The remaining 95% of assets are traditionally invested in Wall Street, to preserve and grow the foundation's endowment and, consequently, ensure their capacity for philanthropic giving in perpetuity. In other words: foundations generally invest 5% for mission-first outcomes and 95% for finance-first outcomes. It is my resolute belief that challenging and changing this status-quo is not only philanthropy’s greatest 21st-century opportunity but our most critical obligation.


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Philanthropic Investors Multiply Their Impact Assets With Beyond Meat’s IPO

Impact investments from donor-advised funds helped seed the growth of Beyond Meat, the plant-based meat company that staged a successful public offering earlier this month. Commercial real-estate investor Mark Van Ness, and Honest Tea’s Seth Goldman, now executive chair at Beyond Meat, invested in the company from their donor-advised funds, tax-advantaged accounts originally designed for grant-making.

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From Sri To Esg, Values-aligned Investing Has Many Names. Let’s Decode The Lingo.

Values-aligned investing is called by many different names, which are commonly misused or misunderstood by investors. Let me decode the lingo, because a shared understanding of the terminology makes this type of investing more accessible to advisors and investors alike. Please note that there are no universally agreed upon definitions among professionals, and everyone uses the words a bit differently. After 15 years of working in this space, this is how I define the most commonly used terms.

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