Posts tagged ImpactAlpha
Philadelphia’s impact investors step up to finance local job-creation and a storefront revival

First Step Staffing has a disarmingly simple impact strategy for integrating homeless and previously incarcerated people into the workforce. The nonprofit acquires all or part of much larger for-profit staffing companies with steady customers in need of reliable workers. First Step assimilates the existing staff and, through natural attrition, gradually adds employees from much more vulnerable – but eager to work – populations. To boost retention, First Step provides transportation and covers other expenses.

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Backstage Accelerator Backs 25 Underestimated Founders In Detroit, Philadelphia, L.a. And London

WhoseYourLandlord, founded in Philadelphia by Ofo Ezeugwu to empower and inform renters, is among the first 25 companies backed by Backstage Capital’s new accelerator program. The venture capital firm for founders who identify as a woman, person of color, and/or LGBTQ will invest $100,000, and provide mentorship, investor introductions and financial guidance to each of the Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and London-based companies, in exchange for a 5% stake.

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Successful Opportunity Zone investments will pull people up, not push them out

Of all the factors stifling America’s underserved communities, a dearth of economic investment is among the most pernicious. For decades, institutional capital has largely bypassed disadvantaged urban and rural areas due to the perceived risk of investing there – whether those concerns are justified or not. As a longtime investor in underserved communities, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of private sector capital to create jobs, energize schools, revitalize neighborhoods, and ignite hope. I have also faced rejection from institutional investors who are fearful of any number of real or perceived hazards, from lack of market opportunity and narrow customer base to high crime and poor governance.

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Ceniarth’s Diane Isenberg: ‘I am a gender-lens investor’

I have never been a big fan of joining clubs and recoil at the over-simplification often inherent in these types of identifiers. That said, I have found myself, circuitously, embracing this new badge. When I first casually glanced at promotional materials for last November’s Gender Smart Investing Summit, organized by Suzanne Biegel, I was not sure that it was a forum that would be relevant to me or my team at Ceniarth. Yes, we deployed over $40 million last year in a range of global funds and enterprises, almost all of which, given their rural focus, must be attentive to gender and power dynamics in underserved communities. Yet, I still did not consider myself a gender-lens investor.

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Margaret Bradley: Turning Philadelphia institutions into impact investors

Margaret Bradley is on a mission to make Philadelphia “the center of the impact investment universe.” Bradley cut her at teeth at The Reinvestment Fund, one of the nation’s top community finance institutions. Now with Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a regional economic development fund, she’s charged with deploying $15 million into Philly startups tackling education, health, other social and environmental challenges.

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Inclusive Economy: Year in Review. Overlooked assets, local ecosystems, economic revival

Middle America is an engine of innovation. Low-income communities are investable. Immigrants are assets, not liabilities. Inclusive prosperity is a pro-growth strategy. In cities and towns across the U.S. and around the world, business and civic leaders are building local ecosystems to help residents thrive in the global economy. We call them The New Revivalists.

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Eleven online platforms that let you — yes, you — make socially responsible investments right now

As the socially-responsible, ESG (for environmental, social and governance), and impact investing movements have gained steam, so has the number of companies offering products aligned with investors’ values.

Providing low-cost, low-effort personal investment options, U.S. robo-advisorscurrently have more than $100 billion in assets, and are estimated to reach $2.2 trillion by 2020. To differentiate themselves within the market, and attract the 63 percent of millennials who have invested or intend to put money into socially-responsible investments, socially-conscious platforms and investment options are rapidly expanding.

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Calvert Foundation Moves into Syndication to Pool Dollars for Impact Loan Funds

The Calvert Foundation is best known for its Community Investment Note, a workhorse fixed-income product that in the last two decades has raised more than $1.4 billion for community development renewable energy sustainable agriculture and more. Now the financial services firm is adding a new line of business Capital Aggregation to syndicate fixed-income opportunities to institutional and accredited investors.

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A private bond market emerges for low-income community development

LISC recently became the first-ever CDFI to make an S&P-rated bond offering—$100 million worth—to help bring capital to low-income communities. It completely sold out and was, in fact oversubscribed. Now a second CDFI The Reinvestment Fund has offered $50 million worth of bonds of their own. In an article for ImpactAlpha Oscar Perry Abello examines how the brave new world of private-capital bonds could change financing for projects in underinvested places.

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