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Money and Meaning
39 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
The Participatory Funding Movement with Meg Massey and Ben Wrobel
“It’s not just about what you invest in, it’s about how you invest.” In their new book ‘Letting Go’, Ben Wrobel and Meg Massey make the case that in order to effectively tackle social challenges, philanthropists and impact investors need to cede control of funding decisions to people with lived experiences of the challenges they are trying to solve. During this episode, Meg and Ben join host, Alex Kravitz, to discuss the origin of the participatory funding movement, examples of innovative organizations working to center community voice, and some of the differences between building participation into philanthropic grantmaking vs. impact investing.
29 minutes | May 4, 2021
Creating an Investment Roadmap with Shalini Rao of Generation Investment Management
On this episode of Money and Meaning, host Alex Kravitz is joined by Shalini Rao, Director of Growth Equity at Generation Investment Management. Originally founded in 2004 by Al Gore and David Blood, Generation currently manages over $30B in assets with 100% invested in long-term, sustainable investments. The growth equity team recently closed their third Sustainable Solutions Fund with over $1B in committed capital, which they invest in three broad impact areas: planetary health, people health, and financial inclusion. During the conversation, Shalini talks about the importance of fully integrating sustainability into the investment process. She also discusses Generation’s use of investment roadmaps to identify systems positive outcomes (outcomes necessary to drive change in our economic and social systems) and how they work back from these desired outcomes to identify viable investment opportunities.
34 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
The Need for Concessionary, Impact-First Capital with Greg Neichin of Ceniarth
“You’ll get no argument from me that there are sectors where moving institutional scale, finance-first money is what’s needed. Our argument is that in places where the market is not functioning, in places where markets have left people behind, that this kind of low-cost money is required in order to make a difference in the lives of poor, marginalized, vulnerable communities and we shouldn’t delude ourselves into believing that finance-first [impact investing] is a magic bullet.”On this episode of Money + Meaning, Alex Kravitz is joined by Greg Neichin, Director and Board Member of Ceniarth, the impact-first single family office of Diane Isenberg. Ceniarth’s investment strategy focuses on geographies and markets where commercial, finance-first investment is not realistic. Investments in these areas, primarily marginalized, rural communities, necessitates a meaningful tradeoff between impact and return. During the conversation, Greg talks about the evolution of Ceniarth's impact-first approach and the important role that family offices and foundations can play in the sector.
34 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
Scaling Responsible Innovation in Lending with Jacob Haar of Community Investment Management
“Lending has the capacity to transform what people can do based on their capabilities and not necessarily based just on the opportunities that they’ve been dealt. If you believe, like I do, that capabilities are equally distributed but opportunities certainly are not, then lending can be a way to try to level the playing field a bit more.”This episode of Money and Meaning features Jacob Haar, the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Community Investment Management (CIM). CIM is an institutional impact investment manager that provides debt capital to lenders who are doing innovative work in underserved communities. The CIM capital both helps these organizations scale up their lending practices to serve more customers and helps to bring responsible and transparent solutions for the underserved into the financial mainstream.
25 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
Launching a Corporate Impact Fund with Blair Miller of TELUS
In late 2020, TELUS, one of Canada’s largest telecommunication companies, launched a $100mm corporate impact fund. Named the Pollinator Fund for Good, the fund invests seed and Series A capital in social entrepreneurs working across four impact areas: environment, agriculture, health, and inclusive communities. Joining this episode is Blair Miller, the Managing Partner of the fund to talk about how the TELUS culture of social capitalism led to the fund’s creation and what other corporates interested in impact investing can learn from their experience.
38 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
The Economic Imperative to Support Marginalized Entrepreneurs with Melissa Bradley of 1863 Ventures
Ever since being denied a Small Business Association loan for being a Black woman, Melissa Bradley has dedicated her career to building support ecosystems for historically marginalized entrepreneurs. From her time working in the Treasury Department of the Clinton White House to the recent launch of both Ureeka and the 1863 Fund, Melissa has helped support entrepreneurship and wealth creation from leadership roles across the public, private, and social sectors. Melissa is the Managing Partner of 1863 Ventures, a nonprofit accelerator of New Majority entrepreneurs - their term for the aggregation of diverse ethnic groups that will represent a majority of the US population by 2044. Here she recently launched the 1863 Fund, which aims to both reduce the cost of capital for New Majority founders and to better align that capital through the use of revenue-based financing. She is also the co-founder of Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs to access the people, programs, and connections they need to grow. She is an Adjunct Professor of impact investing and social entrepreneurship at Georgetown University and served as a political appointee under both Presidents Obama and Clinton, most recently serving as the Director of the Social Innovation Fund for President Obama.
32 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
Designing a Fund to Work for Both Investor and Entrepreneur with Jewel Burks Solomon of Collab Capital
Jewel Burks Solomon is the Managing Partner of Collab Capital and the Head of Google for Startups in the US. Having founded and sold her first company, Partpic, to Amazon in her mid-20s, Jewel has made a career out of investing in and helping to mentor traditionally underrepresented founders. Having experienced some challenging investor conversations while growing Partpic, Jewel set out to design an investment fund that better aligned the incentives of investor and entrepreneur. The result is Collab Capital, where she and her two partners are about to close their first $50mm fund. On this episode, Jewel joins our host, Alex Kravitz, to talk about the innovative structure of Collab Capital and the ways that her entrepreneurial journey shaped the direction of the fund.
40 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
Building an Equitable Future of Work with Dr. Angela Jackson of New Profit
On this week’s episode, Alex is joined by Dr. Angela Jackson, the Managing Partner of New Profit’s Future of Work initiatives. New Profit is a venture philanthropy that has provided over $325mm in support to social entrepreneurs since its founding in 1998. Their Future of Work initiatives seek to equip workers with the skills necessary to find livable wage jobs. This work took on a new urgency in 2020 with the pandemic causing unprecedented disruption in the labor market, particularly for the most vulnerable workers. During the conversation, Dr. Jackson talks about the benefits of the venture philanthropy model for scaling social enterprises, the importance of investing in “proximate leaders”, or those closest to the challenges they are trying to solve, and ways that everyone can help build a more equitable future of work.
35 minutes | Oct 27, 2020
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 | Oct 6, 2020
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 | Sep 22, 2020
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 | Aug 25, 2020
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 | Aug 11, 2020
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 | Jul 28, 2020
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 | Jul 14, 2020
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 | Jun 30, 2020
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 | Jun 16, 2020
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 | Jun 2, 2020
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 | May 19, 2020
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 | May 6, 2020
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.
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