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Money and Meaning
35 minutes | a month ago
Independent Impact Verification with Christina Leijonhufvud of BlueMark
As demand for impact investments grow, more and more organizations are creating investment products labeled as ‘impact’. However, without any regulatory body or industry-wide standards, there are significant concerns about impact washing, the practice of branding products as ‘impact’ more for marketing reasons than any social or environmental substance. Tideline, an impact investing consulting company, responded to this need by launching their independent verification business in 2019, which they recently spun out into BlueMark. Joining us on the podcast this week is Christina Leijonhufvud, co-founder of Tideline and CEO of BlueMark. Christina discusses the evolution of impact measurement and management practices, the need to measure for both positive and negative impacts, and the increasing importance of independent verification as more and more products are introduced and labeled as impact.
35 minutes | 2 months ago
Unlocking Corporate Treasuries for Racial Equity with George Ashton of LISC
On this week’s episode, Alex is joined by George Ashton III, Managing Director of Strategic Investments at Local Initiatives Support Corporation or LISC. George recently helped launch LISC's Black Economic Development Fund. Targeting up to $250mm and initially seeded by $25mm investments from both Netflix and Costco, the Black Economic Development Fund will work to close the racial wealth gap through both a direct and indirect investment strategy: directly through investments in black-led businesses and anchor institutions, and indirectly through working with black-led financial institutions. Our conversation covers the growth of CDFIs, their role in community development, the economic incentive for corporations to help close the racial wealth gap, and how more corporations can unlock their balance sheets for impact.
42 minutes | 2 months ago
Catalyzing Impact Investing with Margret Trilli of ImpactAssets
On this episode, host Alex Kravitz is joined by Margret Trilli, the CEO & Chief Investment Officer of ImpactAssets, a nonprofit impact investing firm with over $1.2B in assets under management. They discuss ImpactAssets’ flagship donor-advised fund and the surge in both charitable giving and impact investments they have seen in 2020. They also discuss the partnership between ImpactAssets and the nonprofit Stop the Spread, which has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and impact investments being deployed into COVID response funds over the past six months.
40 minutes | 3 months ago
MIT Solve’s Innovative Donor-Advised Venture Fund with Casey van der Stricht
Last year, MIT Solve launched Solve Innovation Future, a first-of-its-kind donor-advised venture fund. The philanthropic venture fund is structured as an evergreen vehicle where proceeds are paid forward into future social entrepreneurs. The evergreen nature allows the fund to provide appropriate forms of capital tailored to each entrepreneur's unique situation. Leading Solve Innovation Future is Casey van der Stricht. In this episode, Casey sits down with Alex to talk about how they landed on the unique fund structure, the innovative types of funding they are providing to entrepreneurs, and her advice for entrepreneurs looking to raise capital.
43 minutes | 4 months ago
Driving Impact by Listening to Customers with Sasha Dichter
“It needed to be easier, faster, more dynamic, and more value-add to everybody involved to understand impact. It just doesn't make any sense; people are committing decades of their lives to trying to make a change in the world and the act of figuring out whether or not that’s happening is an exceptional activity.”In this episode, Alex Kravitz is joined by Sasha Dichter, the Co-Founder of 60 Decibels - an end to end impact measurement company. Previously Sasha served as the Chief Innovation Officer for Acumen, where he led the organization's impact measurement practice and launched the Lean Data initiative that eventually spun out to become 60 Decibels. The conversation covers the state of impact measurement and management, how their data is used to amplify impact, and the recent launch of their COVID-19 dashboard, an effort to track the effect of the pandemic on low income people around the world.
40 minutes | 4 months ago
Gender Lens Investing with Joy Anderson
“Finance at some fundamental level is about making bets on the future. Nobody makes money in the present - we only make money because we were right about the future that we bet on. So one really important way to think about investing with a gender lens is to question your assumptions about the future."- Joy AndersonOn this episode we are joined by Joy Anderson, Founder and President of the Criterion Institute, a leading think tank focused on shaping markets to create social and environmental good. Joy has been at the forefront of the rapidly evolving field of impact investing over the past nearly two decades and is one of the pioneers of the gender lens investing movement. Our conversation touches upon the growth and evolution of gender lens investing, the biggest challenges facing the field, and how knowledge of history helps drive systems-level change.Please note that the subject of gender-based violence is discussed during this episode.
50 minutes | 5 months ago
How to Start Impact Investing with Beth Bafford
“It is a privilege to have any investable assets for savings or retirement but if you do, in any amount, you have power. You have the power to invest in companies, in funds, in a financial system and an economy that supports your values. You don’t need to have 6 or 7 figures. Anybody can do it and can do it today.”- Beth Bafford, VP of Syndications and Strategy at Calvert Impact CapitalIn this episode, we dive into the details of one of the most common questions we get: how do you start impact investing? What does it actually look like in practice for someone who doesn’t have a family office or run a foundation? Joining us to walk us through her process of moving her personal portfolio to impact is Beth Bafford of Calvert Impact Capital. We talk about the first steps she took to shift her portfolio, the differing processes across asset types, areas where she still wishes there were better impact offerings, and her most impactful investments to date.
52 minutes | 5 months ago
Impact Investing 101 with Rehana Nathoo
For our 50th episode, we take it back to the basics. What is impact investing? What does it look like across asset classes and impact areas? Is impact investing inherently concessionary? And, mostly importantly, is it working?Joining us for this conversation is impact investing thought-leader Rehana Nathoo, Founder and CEO of Spectrum Impact, a strategy consulting firm that supports a range of organizations looking to expand their impact investing footprint. Prior to founding Spectrum Impact, Rehana led the Impact Investing program at the Case Foundation, helped design the Bank of New York Mellon’s Social Finance program and pilot impact investment fund, helped lead the Rockefeller Foundation’s impact investing grantmaking program, and supported partnerships at the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor within Georgetown University’s Global Human Development Program, teaching on impact investing and social finance in emerging markets.
51 minutes | 5 months ago
The History of Impact Investing with Antony Bugg-Levine
This week’s guest is Antony Bugg-Levine, impact investing pioneer and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). Founded in 1980, NFF is a community development finance institution that provides financing and consulting to nonprofits across the country. In his role at NFF, Antony recently helped launch a $75mm Covid-19 response fund to support NYC nonprofit organizations most affected by the pandemic with both grants and interest free loans. Prior to his work at NFF, Antony was a Managing Director at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he led the foundation’s impact investing initiative. He is also the founding board chair of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and author of the book “Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference” with Jed Emerson.The conversation with Antony spans the history and evolution of the field of impact investing, from a revolving loan fund created in Benjamin Franklin’s will to the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 through the meeting where the phrase “impact investing” was coined in 2007. Antony also discusses the direct line between the civil rights movement and the modern field of impact investing. Lastly, he discusses his work with the Nonprofit Finance Fund and where he is finding hope during the current pandemic.
35 minutes | 6 months ago
Design, Engineering, and Impact at the Autodesk Foundation
“Our board and our team believe that you can define any societal problem as either a climate change problem or an inequality problem…so our thesis has evolved over the years to bring our resources to bear against those two large challenges.”The Autodesk Foundation is a private foundation that focuses on how design and engineering solutions can solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. In this episode, Alex sits down with Joe Speicher, the Executive Director of the foundation, to discuss the evolution of the foundation, how and why they landed on those specific impact areas, the reasons the foundation began impact investing, and why Joe believes that philanthropy is a net negative for society.
41 minutes | 6 months ago
Creating Diverse Communities with Entrepreneurship
MORTAR is a Cincinnati-based accelerator working to help historically marginalized entrepreneurs get the resources they need to start and run successful businesses. Whereas most accelerators pull from as large a pool of entrepreneurs as possible, MORTAR has taken the opposite approach, starting with one specific neighborhood in Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine, and designing a curriculum to be both relevant and culturally competent for that community. In this episode, Alex sat down with Allen Woods, the Co-founder and Executive Director of MORTAR, to discuss the growth and evolution of the organization, the advantages of localization when it comes to entrepreneurial support, and Allen’s own entrepreneurial journey.
32 minutes | 7 months ago
Removing Barriers to Capital for Entrepreneurs at the Kauffman Foundation
Entrepreneurship is a leading driver of economic growth, job creation, and wealth building yet 83% of entrepreneurs do not have access to either bank lending or venture capital. To reduce this barrier to starting or growing a business, the Kauffman Foundation recently launched the Capital Access Lab. In this episode, Alex sits down with Philip Gaskin, Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation and Agnes Dasewicz, Entrepreneur in Residence and Capital Access Lab Lead. They discuss the challenge entrepreneurs face raising capital, the Foundation’s effort to create systems-level change in entrepreneurial funding, and why this work is deeply personal for them both.
30 minutes | 8 months ago
Cathy Clark on Emergency Funding Sources for Entrepreneurs
“About a month ago, we asked ourselves at CASE, ‘what can we do really quickly to help entrepreneurs through this crisis?’ We had already seen some very significant businesses in our local area shut down in the first week and that scared me.”-Cathy Clark, Faculty Director of CASE at DukeRealizing there was a need for a centralized database of emergency funding sources for entrepreneurs struggling during the current pandemic, Cathy Clark built and launched covidcap.com, a searchable website for entrepreneurs around the world, whether for-profit or non-profit, to find funding sources in their community. In this episode, Cathy sits down with Alex to discuss the conception and creation of the site, the response times she is seeing for entrepreneurs in need of funding, and the role that impact investors can play during this crisis.
34 minutes | 8 months ago
Building Equitable Economies with Rodney Foxworth from Common Future
“I encourage all of us who are the dreamers to continuously put forth new visions for what is possible - particularly in this moment - because, if we can’t do it right now, when can we do it?” - Rodney Foxworth, CEO of Common FutureCommon Future, formerly BALLE, is an organization dedicated to shifting capital into local communities, uplifting local leaders, and accelerating the development of local economies. In this episode, Lindsay sits down with Rodney to discuss his work, why it is more urgent now than ever, and the opportunity our new reality creates for rebuilding antiquated and exclusionary systems.
46 minutes | 8 months ago
Jed Emerson Talks About Anger, Purpose, Impact, and Capital
In his plenary address at SOCAP17 Jed Emerson said, “We need to understand the purpose of capital is not simply the absence of evil from our pursuit of wealth, something hard enough and potentially impossible for us to achieve, but the active pursuit of healing, wholeness, and love in this world.” In this episode, Lindsay sits down with Emerson, a personal mentor and longtime pillar of the SOCAP community, to discuss the field of impact investing from its origins to the present day.
52 minutes | 9 months ago
Scaling Solutions to Global Water Challenges
"The global water challenge is really about balancing the micro and the macro. People, industry, agriculture–everybody needs water in the right place, in the right quantity, at the right quality, and at the right time. Doing that is unbelievably hard.” –Tom FergusonImagine H2O is an organization with a mission to empower people to develop and deploy innovations to solve water challenges globally. On this episode, Alex sits down with Tom Ferguson, VP of Programming at Imagine H2O, to discuss the scope and urgency of today’s water challenges, some of the most promising solutions, including technological innovations he is seeing on the horizon, and what investors can do to help scale solutions that work.
38 minutes | 9 months ago
Kiva on the Need for Systems Change for Financial Inclusion
How can technology help extend access to financial services to the 1.7 billion unbanked people in the world? In the latest episode of Money and Meaning, Lindsay Smalling interviews Kiva’s Chief Strategy Officer, Matthew Davie, about some of their new solutions to the challenges of financial exclusion. Davie talks about Kiva Protocol and other new ways they are working to change the underlying system in order to expand access to capital in emerging markets.
47 minutes | 10 months ago
Blended Finance and International Development
Blended finance deals have the potential to drive trillions of dollars of institutional capital into high impact projects in emerging markets and could lead to massive progress towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In this episode, Joan Larrea, CEO of Convergence, explains how blended finance can accelerate solutions to poverty, hunger, and the other SDGs. She also talks about the future of the blended finance industry and why we need to really hustle to get on a billions to trillions trajectory if we are to achieve the SDGs on time.
47 minutes | 10 months ago
TechSoup's Direct Public Offering
TechSoup was the first nonprofit in the US to launch a national direct public offering (DPO). In the year since the launch of this growth capital campaign, they have raised over $8 million, with individual investments ranging from $50 to $1 million. In this episode, Alex Kravitz has a conversation with Rebecca Masisak and Ken Tsunoda about their unique approach to fundraising, lessons they have learned from the experience, and how the DPO has helped TechSoup grow and strengthen their community.Featured Voices:Rebecca Masisak, CEO, TechSoupKen Tsunoda, VP of Development, TechSoup
45 minutes | a year ago
Investing in the Creative Economy
Laura Callanan and her organization Upstart Co-Lab are working to convince investors that they have a tremendous opportunity to drive impact through investments in the arts, culture, and heritage-based businesses that make up the creative economy. Souls Grown Deep is a Foundation and Community Partnership dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting the cultural traditions and work of African American artists from the South. Under the leadership of Maxwell Anderson, Souls Grown Deep has partnered with Upstart Co-Lab to invest $1M in opportunities that align with their mission. On this episode, Lindsay Smalling interviews Callanan and Anderson about their partnership and the opportunities that creative lens investing offers for investors, museums, creatives, and communities.
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