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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

This New Social Network Changes Everything

Press Release – NEW YORK, June 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Over the course of your lifetime, you spend around 5 YEARS on social media – over 40,000 hours.

If that statistic gave you a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, it’s probably because your social media experience is mindless. You catch yourself scrolling through your feeds, clicking on articles you don’t care about, ‘liking’ things without a second thought.

But what if you could transform your time spent on social media into a purposeful, lifelong venture? What if you could immortalize your love and generosity? What if you could uphold meaningful connections with the people you love AND make a positive contribution to a charity of your choice without touching your wallet or really changing your daily routine?

Highlanders allows you to do all of that at once, for free. This revolutionary App will affect the way we think about our whole life and will also change the way we support charities and nonprofits.

The aim of the app is to create an everlasting digital presence. You can do this by building out your own profile, expanding your network by inviting friends and family to the app, and engaging with your community and interests.

The app uses ‘Hearts’ as a form of currency. You can acquire them by showing appreciation for any content on the app, as well as receiving some on stories you’ve posted. Once you’ve earned Hearts, you can use them to redeem Wishes by donating a chunk of them to your charity of choice.

You can use Wishes to create events that will be initiated after your passing. For example, you could leave a special message to your son that he’ll receive the next time he goes back to that lake up in the mountains where you used to camp together every summer. You could send flowers to your granddaughter when she graduates. Or have personalized videos sent to friends on their birthday each year. The goal is for your heart to live on even in your absence – for your friends and family to feel the love forever.

And the best part is all of your activity on the app positively contributes to society. 50% of Highlanders’ profits – plus $1 for every active user – goes to charity.

Social media isn’t going anywhere. So why not use those 40,000+ hours we’re going to spend scrolling feeds for something good?

SOURCE Highlanders, LLC


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The Drug Enforcement Administration And Discovery Education Name Grand Prize Winner Of Operation Prevention Video Challenge

— Utah teen to receive $10,000 for his public service announcement on dangers of youth opioid misuse —

Press Release – Washington D.C. (Thursday, June 14, 2018) – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA Educational Foundation and Discovery Education awarded Porter Christensen of Pine View High School in Utah (Washington County School District), the grand prize for the annual Operation Prevention Video Challenge. Christensen’s public service announcement entitled “Waiting to Die” elicits the visceral experience of opioid misuse while taking viewers inside the mind of one teen’s decision making.

Teenagers across the nation were invited to submit 30-60 second video public service announcements that capture their unique voice in order to communicate the opioid epidemic as a national crisis. In “Waiting to Die,” Christensen connects peer-to-peer by displaying self-talk that can lead to poor choices teens later regret. His character in the video urges viewers to “please don’t make the same mistake.”

“Having to operate the camera while being the actor is challenging, but incredibly satisfying when I see my finished product. I hope that through my writing, editing and music, my peers are able to comprehend the emotion I tried to convey,” said Christensen.

The second-annual video challenge is a part of a joint nationwide education initiative titled Operation Prevention that educates students about the science behind addiction and its impact on the brain and body. Available at no cost, the initiative’s resources help promote lifesaving discussions in the home and classroom.

“Teens are agents of change, and their actions speak volumes to peers. Together, we can work toward raising awareness, and most importantly, prevention, among our youth population,” said Acting DEA Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “Congratulations to Porter for lending his voice to an important cause and producing a powerful portrayal of the pain opioid misuse causes.”

The winning video was chosen by a panel of educators and judges at Discovery Education, the DEA and DEA Educational Foundation. The other winners include:

  • Second Place: Palmer Williams of Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia (Cobb County School District) will receive $5,000 for the video “One Bad Choice.”
  • Third Place: Calvin Simon, Elijah Mitchell, Hassiara McNeal, and Jessica Ohlsen of Atlantic County Institute of Technology in Atlantic County, N.J. (Atlantic County Vocational School District) will receive $1,000 for their contribution titled “This Isn’t You.”
  • People’s Choice Award: Garrett Miller, Ayanna Fourte, Robert Smith and ZaQuan Muhammad of Kenwood Academy in Chicago, Ill. (Chicago Public School District) earned the most votes in the People’s Choice Award category for “Don’t Do It.” Selected through a period of public voting online, the People’s Choice Award winners will receive an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The prizes awarded to the first, second, third place and People’s Choice Award winners are provided courtesy of the DEA Educational Foundation.

The videos of the winners can be viewed at operationprevention.com/video-challenge. Winning public service announcements will be featured across DE and DEA digital and social media platforms.

“Porter’s ‘Operation Prevention’ video submission communicated an honest, connected and proactive stance on dangers of drug abuse,” said Kelly Thomas, fine arts teacher, Pine View High School, Washington County School District. “It’s vital that we raise conversations and inspire solutions in the fight against the opioid epidemic. He continues to use his art to help the world become a better place.”

“Congratulations to all challenge winners for starting an important conversation with teens across the nation. We’re humbled by the students, families and educators who have joined this tremendous effort to promote drug-free living in our communities and schools,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Discovery Education.

To learn more about Operation Prevention, visit operationprevention.com. For more information about Discovery Education’s Streaming Plus services, digital content and professional development services, visit discoveryeducation.com. Stay connected with Discovery Education on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DiscoveryEd.

To review the full press release, visit HERE.


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Angel Tank, a Shark Tank for Purpose-Driven Seed Stage Investors and Entrepreneurs, Selects Winners in First-Ever Competition

Event drew a talented pool of social entrepreneurs and leading Bay Area venture investors at SEED 2018

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO, June 12, 2018Real Leaders, the world’s first sustainable business and leadership magazine, and ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns, today announced the winners of Angel Tank, a first-ever event that matched impact investment with social entrepreneurs seeking solutions to pressing global problems.

Modeled after “Shark Tank,” the reality TV business series, Angel Tank debuted at the SEED 2018 Conference and featured leading Bay Area venture investors as judges, and a select group of six social entrepreneurs who competed for prizes to help bring their world-changing ideas to market.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to support and showcase this exceptional group of social entrepreneurs,” said Real Leaders Founder Mark Van Ness, an active impact investor and advocate for gender-balanced leadership. “Their fresh ideas and inspiring vision are helping to transform business as a force for good—for profit, people and planet.”

And the winners are:

  • Legworks, Inc., a Toronto and Buffalo-based social enterprise that is revolutionizing access to high-quality prosthetics for amputees around the world. Winner of The Angels Choice Award, a $10,000 cash investment prize selected by the panel of angel judges.
  • Roots Studio, which digitizes the work and stories of traditional artists in India, Indonesia, Panama, and Jordan, among other regions, enabling artists to participate in the global economy without having to be in an urban center. Winner of The Audience Choice Award, a $10,000 cash investment prize for the venture that receives the most votes cast live during the competition.
  • Countable, a political media company that helps voters contact their elected representatives about issues that matter. Winner of the Real Leaders’ Spotlight Award, a media package that was selected by attendees who cast votes for social entrepreneurs participating at SEED 2018. Countable is also a custom impact investment being made through ImpactAssets.
  • In addition, a tech-enabled Live Investing Marketplace raised more than $25,000 for the entrepreneurs. The Forum allowed attendees to make tax-deductible investments of $25 or more into social ventures through the ImpactAssets Giving Fund.

Other social entrepreneurs participating in the Angel Tank included Designing Justice & Designing Spaces, which use innovations in architecture, design, and real estate development to attack the root causes of mass incarceration; Thrive Natural Care, creator of the first regenerative supply chain in the personal care industry; and Yellow Leaf Hammocks, a hand-woven hammock company that is breaking the cycle of extreme poverty through sustainable job creation by hiring artisan weavers and their families in developing countries. The six ventures also received offers of help and advice from over 100 attendees at the event.

Angel Tanks also featured a powerhouse panel of venture investors who evaluated and counseled social entrepreneurs, including:

  • Anders Aabo, Sorenson Impact
  • Jorge Davy-Mendez, Kapor Capital
  • Keith Ippel, Spring Activator
  • Sayuri Sharp, SV2
  • Beth Stelluto, Gnu Foundation

“The opportunities for investing in social enterprises has never been greater—or more critical,” said Tim Freundlich, President of ImpactAssets. “Angel Tank represents a smart and surprising platform for uniting investment capital with world-changing ideas. We look forward to the next Angel Tank, which will take place around SOCAP 2018 In October.”

About Real Leaders

Real Leaders is the world’s first sustainable business & leadership magazine. We aim to inspire better leaders for a better world; a world of far-sighted, sustainable leadership that helps find solutions to the problems that 7.5 billion people have created on a small planet. We want to ensure that the next generation of leaders, in all spheres of influence, are exposed to the best and brightest minds in the hope that they are inspired to find profitable business solutions that benefit humankind. Real Leaders advises and positions leaders to thrive in the new economy.

About ImpactAssets

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor advised fund (“The Giving Fund”) and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists and other asset owners and their wealth advisors advance social or environmental change through impact investment and philanthropy. The Giving Fund currently has upwards of $450M in assets from a community of more than 1,000 donors.


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REPORT: The Number of Black Women-led Startups Has More Than Doubled Since 2016 According to digitalundivided’s Latest Research, ProjectDiane 2018

With ProjectDiane 2018, digitalundivided is Single-Handedly Impacting the Narrative About Black Women in the Startup Ecosystem

Press Release – (ATLANTA, June 13, 2018) – digitalundivided, a social enterprise that takes a transformative approach to economic empowerment by boldly empowering Black and Latinx women to own their work through entrepreneurship, today released the ProjectDiane 2018 report in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, the Case Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The study is part of digitalundivided’s ongoing proprietary research initiative ProjectDiane.

ProjectDiane 2018 builds on the findings from ProjectDiane 2016, which was the first research project to quantify the entrepreneurial experience of Black women founders in the U.S. and sparked a national dialogue about inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship. It includes updated data on access to funding, new findings on the impact of location and education on startup success, and a fresh quantitative lens on Black women founders and their startup journey. The 2018 study also revisits the $1MM founders club and examines key changes to this much anticipated list of Black women who have raised over $1MM in outside capital. The report represents data and findings from ongoing quantitative and qualitative analysis by a dedicated team of researchers and scholars led by digitalundivided.

“We are proud to be continuing the push toward a world where all women own their work through entrepreneurship, because that’s the path to real power and economic stability for Black and Latinx communities. digitalundivided understands the impact of data on policy and startup ecosystems which is why we’re committed to using ProjectDiane to further develop data-driven programs for Black and Latinx women founders and shape the narrative about women of color in startups,” says Kathryn Finney, CEO and Managing Director of digitalundivided.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The number of innovative startups founded by Black women has more than doubled since 2016. There are 2.5 times as many startups in the ProjectDiane 2018 database (227) compared to 2016 (84).
  • The median funding raised by all Black women founders is $0. While there is a growing number of Black women crossing the $1MM venture threshold, a majority of Black women-led startups do not raise any money.
  • After the release of ProjectDiane 2016, the amount raised by Black women founders increased 500%, from $50 million in 2016 to $250 million in 2017.
  • Still, Black women raised only .0006% of all tech venture funding since 2009.
  • At the undergraduate level, Howard University, a historically black college and university (HBCU) in Washington, D.C. produced more Black women-led startups than Harvard University. The larger population of Black women may be a factor in Howard outperforming Harvard, however Harvard has significantly more resources than Howard and a strong, long term history of producing successful startups (Microsoft, Facebook).

JPMorgan Chase has invested $500,000 in digitalundivided as part of the firm’s $150 million Small Business Forward initiative to invest in businesses owned by minorities, women and veteran entrepreneurs. The funding includes support for the 2018 ProjectDiane report, as well as a nine-month cohort for 40 startups founded by women of color at digitalundivided’s BIG incubator.

“Women of color are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs. While some progress has been made, ProjectDiane underscores the economic opportunity left on the table when good ideas and small businesses led by women of color do not get the resources they deserve,” said Janis Bowdler, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “digitalundivided is doing incredible work in their goal to elevate women of color as business leaders and entrepreneurs. Thanks to their efforts, we are beginning to change the face of entrepreneurship in the tech industry.”

“Expanding access to capital for women and entrepreneurs of color nationwide – segments that have traditionally been overlooked – is good for entrepreneurs and for the overall U.S. economy,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation. “digitalundivided is breaking down barriers to economic growth and lifting up new innovators who are driving ingenuity and building more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems that are critical to our nation’s economic future.”

“We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality, regardless of who they are or where they’re from,” said Chris Harris, senior program officer at the Kauffman Foundation. “digitalundivided has demonstrated uncommon solutions to leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs who have been excluded due to demographic, socioeconomic and geographic barriers.”

For the full ProjectDiane 2018 report and findings and to learn more about the research visit the interactive site www.projectdiane.digitalundivided.com.


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U-Michigan Social Venture Fund Invests in Six Foods

Press Release – ANN ARBOR, Mich.— The Social Venture Fund, the nation’s first student-led impact investing fund, based in the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, today announced that it has invested in Six Foods, an insect-based food company headquartered in San Francisco. Six Foods will be using the investment to hire a director of sales and expand their advocacy training program, which teaches students who are passionate about food systems and sustainability how to speak to the broader community about the current food system and create events to engage more people in solutions for food sustainability.

When the average American thinks of protein, they often think of meat—but that’s not necessarily the case for nearly two billion people around the world who include insects in their diet. In addition to being nutritious, insects are more sustainable: it takes about a gallon of water to produce one pound of insect protein, as compared to two thousand gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. Founded in 2013 by three Harvard graduates, Six Foods’ goal is to introduce insects into the average Western diet. Its main product, Chirp Chips, have as much protein as an egg white and 20 percent of the total daily value of vitamin B12 per 1 oz serving, in addition to providing a more sustainable source of nutrition.

“If there will be a move toward insect-based proteins, this is the company that will do it,” said Sahar Omrani, MBA ’18, director of investments at the Social Venture Fund.

Founded in 2009, the Social Venture Fund is managed by a team of nearly 40 MBA and BBA students who source and manage due diligence for deals for innovative, for-profit companies that place social and environmental impact at the heart of their business models.

“Impact means something different to everyone, depending on your industry—but it’s definitely becoming a more common part of the conversation,” Omrani said. “Even traditional investment funds are figuring out how to measure both impact and positive returns. We’re seeing our understanding of the impact investment landscape evolving. Working on the Social Venture Fund has given us a front-row seat to that, as well as equipping us with some of the best learning experiences of our careers.”

“The students who run the Social Venture Fund apply the best of their knowledge and skills to funding companies that are tackling some of the biggest problems that we as a society face—while also advancing the field of impact investing as a whole,” said Gautam Kaul, the Social Venture Fund’s faculty director. “Often, our due diligence teams evaluate companies that can make an impact in a local community or address a more niche problem. In this deal, the fund has done an excellent job in identifying a company that has the potential to take over an entire market and fundamentally change the way we think about food sustainability.”

Six Foods, which has won funding from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank and whose co-founders Rose Wang and Laura D’Asaro have been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30, had both the vision of creating impact through a sustainable food ecosystem, and the early traction needed to make that vision a reality.

“As a carnivore, I didn’t realize the impact eating has on the environment,” said Luke Sawitsky, MBA/MS ’18, who led the due diligence process on the Six Foods investment. “We were impressed with how Six Foods saw themselves fitting into the food of the future, and the depth of thought in their short-term and long-term strategies. In the course of evaluating this deal, we gained every confidence that Six Foods will create and own their category.”

In addition to seed money, the investment will provide Six Foods with a member of the Social Venture Fund to act as a board observer, as well as a team available for consulting projects that would benefit the business.

“Working with the Social Venture Fund has been a rewarding and seamless experience,” said Rose Wang, co-founder and CEO, Six Foods. “We feel so lucky to have a partnership with such passionate, mission-driven, hardworking, communicative and talented individuals. As we explore larger strategy questions of where the industry is headed and building out advocacy programs, we’ll be working closely with the Social Venture Fund team to identify the right directions for us to build.”

For more information about Six Foods, visit www.chirpschips.com. For more information about Six Foods’s advocacy training program, email meghan@chirpschips.com. For more information about the Social Venture Fund, visit www.umsocialventure.com.

About the Social Venture Fund

The Social Venture Fund is a leader in university-based impact investing, with several active investments. The Fund’s previous investments include Conversa Health, Powerhouse Dynamics, LearnZillion, Mytonomy, Loveland Technologies and Jack and Jake’s. To learn more, visit www.umsocialventure.com.

About the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Institute and its Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance bring together an impactful combination of deep-seated knowledge, enriching experiences and strategic opportunities from the front lines of entrepreneurship and alternative investment. Students’ learning experiences are further enhanced through internships, entrepreneurial clubs, business competitions and campus-wide events that foster valuable networking and engage the business community. The School’s five student-led investment funds, with $8.5M under management, immerse students in the entrepreneurial business sourcing, assessment and investment process. Founding Zell Lurie advisory board members include Samuel Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments, and Eugene Applebaum, founder of Arbor Drugs Inc. For more information, visit the Institute’s website at www.zli.bus.umich.edu.


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Coding Autism Has Launched A New Program To Train Those With Autism How To Code

Press Release – Every year, the number of people diagnosed with autism rises, however there are simply not enough quality programs designed towards training adults with autism with real-world career skills. As a result, too many are either unemployed or working in menial jobs below their skill level. To help adults with autism learn the fundamental skills necessary to secure an entry-level web developer job, Coding Autism has announced a new program to train those with autism how to code.

On May 29th, Coding Autism launched their pilot programs with their coding partner Bottega that focus on training autistic adults nationwide in python and react.js through their online coding academy. Since the launch, 5 students have enrolled and the company is finally driving revenue.

The first program is the part-time web development immersive, which is a self-paced course that provides students with on-call teachers assistants, career counseling, and soft skills counseling support over 9 months. The second program is the full-time web development immersive, which is a webinar based course where students log in M-F from 8am-4pm PST with a live coding instructor to learn the fundamental skills of coding over 12 weeks in conjunction with soft skills counseling and career counseling. The courses are conducted remotely through an online coding portal.

“It is completely unacceptable that our autistic community is experiencing an over 80% unemployment and underemployment rate,” said Oliver Thornton, CEO & co-founder of Coding Autism. “As passionate advocates who have either been diagnosed with autism ourselves or have family members affected with autism, we understand that with the right resources, training, coaching and environment that individuals with autism can thrive in the workforce.”

By founding Coding Autism and launching their online part-time and full-time web development immersive, Mr. Thornton believes that they can create highly qualified, skilled, and eager to work autistic employees to fill job vacancies in the tech industry. “The interpersonal skills required to navigate the professional work environment has proven to be a significant barrier to adequate employment for individuals with autism. Coding Autism provides its students with a solid soft skills foundation so that they will be able to successfully navigate the professional work environments”, says Mellissa Toler, Coding Autism’s Director of Soft Skills.

Research has shown that typical autistic characteristics such as attention to detail, affinity for repetitive tasks and introversion are all traits that lend themselves to becoming a successful employee within the tech industry. With the $50k+ average annual salary for entry-level, full-time web developers, tech is an attractive industry in which to pursue a career.

Over the last decade, companies such as Microsoft and SAP have implemented autism hiring initiatives. This was done not to combat autistic unemployment, but because they have seen that adults with autism can be exceptional employees and drive innovation when provided the right structure, mentorship and on-boarding. Students that want to enroll can apply on their website at: www.CodingAutism.com

Their free 50+ hour online coding prep course can be accessed here: codingautism.devcamp.com

About Coding Autism:

Coding Autism is building the first autism specialized coding academy, pairing online coding education, community, and an autism-savvy support team to help transition autistic talent into our technology workforce. We provide project-based and in-demand coding curriculum, experienced mentors and career counselors, and on-call tutoring and soft skills support to help provide autistic students an alternative form of education that is catered to their strengths.

More information is available at http://www.CodingAutism.com.


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Closed Loop Fund Invests In PureCycle Technologies To Improve Plastics Recycling

Press Release – June 11, 2018Closed Loop Fund, an investment fund that finances recycling infrastructure and circular supply chains, announces an investment in PureCycle Technologies, a company that produces recycled polypropylene (PP) with virgin-like properties. PureCycle’s technology could help increase recovery of contaminated and colored PP streams into higher-value applications. The investment will help launch its first facility in Ironton, OH.

According to Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Fund, “Our goal is to build circular supply chains. Our CPG partners want post-consumer recycled PP, but we need technologies like PureCycle’s to ensure enough material is available at the specifications brands need. We anticipate significant market opportunity for PureCycle.”

PureCycle’s facility will open amidst challenging markets for many post-consumer recyclable materials, offering municipalities and MRFs a domestic customer in the Midwest. Once it is operational, the facility is expected to be able to take post-consumer mixed rigid plastics from material recovery facilities (MRFs) as well as postindustrial scrap materials. At scale, PureCycle will have the capacity to process 105+ million lbs. of recycled PP each year.

“This is a case where a hundred-billion-dollar industry required new technology to meet a compelling, unmet need,” said Mike Otworth, CEO of PureCycle Technologies. “We’re thrilled to have Closed Loop as an investor and a supporter of PureCycle Technologies. Until now, recycled PP had limited applications. We’re single-handedly removing those limitations and giving companies the choice to use more sustainable, recycled resins.”

About Closed Loop Fund

Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund is a social impact investment fund that provides cities access to the capital required to build comprehensive recycling programs. Closed Loop Fund aims to invest $100 million by 2020 with the goal to create economic value for cities by increasing recycling rates in communities across America and build circular supply chains. Closed Loop Fund brings together the world’s largest consumer product, retail, and financial companies committed to finding a national solution to divert waste from landfills into the recycling stream in order to be used in the manufacturing supply chain. Closed Loop Fund investors include 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Dr Pepper Snapple, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Keurig Green Mountain, Nestle Waters North America, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and the Walmart Foundation. For more information, visit www.closedloopfund.com


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Fidelity Charitable® Study Finds Impact Investing At Tipping Point, Announces Expansion Of Its Impact Investing Program

Over 70% of affluent, next-gen donors are already engaging in impact investing

Fidelity Charitable donors have $856 million in impact assets at end of Q1 2018, a 110% increase from the prior year

Press Release – BOSTON, June 12, 2018 – Over 70% of Millennials and Gen-Xers have made an impact investment versus just 35% of Baby Boomer and older investors, according to a study released today by Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity and the nation’s second-largest grantmaker. Considering the increased investing power of these generations as they build their wealth, this generational gap suggests a massive influx of investors who will prioritize a mission based approach. Impact Investing: A Tipping Point? explores the coming wave of investors who are seeking to align their values with their investments and are hungry for education.

Impact investing is the act of purposefully making investments that help achieve certain social and environmental benefits while generating financial returns. Fidelity Charitable donors have been representative of the trend, increasing donor advised fund assets invested for impact to $856 million at the end of the first quarter in 2018, a 110% increase from the prior year. In response to this demand from donors, Fidelity Charitable also announced a broadening of its impact investment capabilities including launching three new impact investing pools and the expansion of its recoverable grants program.

“Our donors are increasingly interested in impact investing and the ability to align their investments with their broad philanthropic goals,” said Pam Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable. “We strive to grow philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple and effective. In meeting that mission, we empower our donors to maximize the impact throughout the journey of their charitable support– from the moment they consider making a gift, through its investment and, finally, when it is granted out to a nonprofit.”

Generational Impact Investing By the Numbers

A large majority of affluent Millennial (77%) and Generation X donors (72%) indicated that they had made some form of impact investment. This compares with just 35% of affluent donors from the Baby Boomer and older generations.

Investors were most interested in investing in public companies with good environmental or social practices, either by investing directly (58%), or through exchange-traded funds or mutual funds (56%). However, they also indicated a strong interest in investing in small business/ start-ups with strong social or environmental practices (48%), venture capital or private funds focused on this category (45%) and in making loans to charitable organizations. (42%)

The study also found a strong correlation between a donor’s attitude towards charitable giving and the likelihood that they would make an impact investment. 79% of respondents in the study who rated charitable giving as ‘very important’ to them also engaged in impact investing.

Fidelity Charitable Impact Investing Programs

Fidelity Charitable provides donors with several options to recommend impact investments within their Giving Account:

  • New Impact Investing Pools
    The Sustainable U.S. Index Pool, the Sustainable International Index Pool and the Environmental Impact Access Pool expand Fidelity Charitable’s existing sustainable and impact investing line-up and are available to all Fidelity Charitable donors, regardless of Giving Account balance. Fidelity Charitable launched its first sustainable investing pool in 2015.
  • A Recoverable Grant to a Nonprofit
    Donors in Fidelity Charitable’s Private Donor Group can recommend a recoverable grant, which is made with an expectation of repayment, often tied to specific outcomes or milestones. Recommending a recoverable grant allows a donor to support charitable organizations that have a mechanism to repay — allowing recycling of these funds for future grants. Fidelity Charitable has made recoverable grants to Calvert Impact Capital, a community development organization that lends funds to organizations working in low-income communities. Through this collaboration, donors can support the financing of affordable housing, education, and healthcare programs by recommending a recoverable grant.

Additional impact investing options are available to donors with more complex needs in Fidelity Charitable’s Private Donor Group or those utilizing the Charitable Investment Advisor Program (CIAP). These donors can recommend investments in a broader set of sustainable mutual funds, ETFs, and fixed income products. Some of these donors may also consider recommending investments in impact-oriented private equity or venture capital funds.

“A common misconception is that impact investing requires sacrificing investment performance,” said Sarah Gelfand, Director of Donor Programs at Fidelity Charitable. “This has been debunked by numerous studies and companies that have embraced practices that are good for society have been demonstrated to exhibit lower financial risk. Recommending impact investments within a donor-advised fund is a way to support those companies while creating additional dollars for charity. We strongly believe impact investing can be an amplifier for a donor’s philanthropy.”

Highlights From The Study Include:

  • Fidelity Charitable Giving Accounts had $856 million in impact assets at the end of Q1 2018, a 110% increase from the prior year.
  • Over 70% of Millennials and Gen-Xers have made an impact investment compared to just 35% of Baby Boomer and older investors.
  • Investors were most interested in investing in public companies with good environmental or social practices, either by investing directly (58%), or through exchange-traded funds or mutual funds (56%).
  • 79% of respondents in the study who rated charitable giving as ‘very important’ to them also engaged in impact investing

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 255,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $30 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit https://www.fidelitycharitable.org.


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Younger Entrepreneurs Choose Social Impact As Their Top Business Priority

HSBC Private Banking research shows new generation of entrepreneurs are prioritising social impact and embracing angel investing over their older peers

Press Release – A new wave of global entrepreneurs are setting up their businesses with the aim of making a positive impact on society, according to a new report from HSBC Private Banking. The Essence of Enterprise report found that the younger generation of entrepreneurs are leading this trend, with 24% of entrepreneurs aged under 35 motivated by social impact compared to 11% of those aged over 55. The report, now in its third year, is one of the largest, in-depth studies into the motivations and ambitions of entrepreneurs, researching the views of over 3,700 successful entrepreneurs in eleven countries. The report also found that this new generation of entrepreneurs is embracing angel investing, viewing it as a way to connect and collaborate with their peers.

A socially minded brand of entrepreneurship

One in five entrepreneurs considers social responsibility, being active in the community, or environmental responsibility as their top priority as a business owner, rather than prioritising areas such as maximising shareholder value or economic prosperity. Those who prioritise social impact have a greater propensity to engage in angel investing, (55% of impact-focused entrepreneurs versus 44% of entrepreneurs who prioritise commercial factors), and report a stronger willingness to rely on mentors for advice and support (75% of impact-focused entrepreneurs versus 66%).

The report also suggests a strong relationship between an emphasis on social impact and entrepreneurial ambition. 33% of the entrepreneurs projecting high growth ambitions state that they started their ventures with the intention of creating positive social impact, compared to 28% of those projecting the lowest growth. This suggests social impact should be seen as an integral part of the recipe of entrepreneurial success, and not separate from it.

A new investment style

Almost half of respondents (47%) have invested in other private, non-listed businesses, funnelling both capital and expertise back to the entrepreneurial community. However, the research reveals that a new younger generation of entrepreneurs is investing at a much higher rate than their older peers, with 57% of entrepreneurs under 35 undertaking angel investing compared to 29% of entrepreneurs aged over 55.

Differences also exist between the generations in how they perceive and approach angel investing. Over half of younger entrepreneurs (57%) view angel investing as a way to connect and collaborate with peers, staying up to date with industry progress and disrupters and to grow their knowledge and expertise. Entrepreneurs of an older generation view angel investing as a way to diversify and grow their investment portfolio, approaching angel investing in a more informal style, through their own network of personal contacts. 43% of those over 55 view friends as the best route to new business, while 44% of those under 35 turn instead to professional advisers to source new investment opportunities.

HSBC Private Banking Global Chief Investment Officer Stuart Parkinson said: ‘It’s clear younger entrepreneurs want to do good, and we would be wrong to dismiss this as youthful idealism that will act as a brake on financial success. They know that their business cannot have the impact they want without sustainable growth, and they are focussed on achieving both. They see a similar virtuous circle when it comes to angel investing; they are happy to invest in the wider business community, to contribute to each other’s successes and to learn from one another.”

Differing approaches across the globe

The report also brings to light the differences in the entrepreneurial mind-set in markets around the globe. Entrepreneurs in the Middle East (66%) are the most active angel investors, with the US (54%) and Mainland China (53%) next in line. By contrast, 45% of UK entrepreneurs are angel investors, along with 35% in Germany and 33% in Switzerland.

Regional traditions have paved the way for different approaches to angel investing between these markets. In the US, angel investing is highly professionalised; investors source new opportunities through formal channels, such as financial or professional advisors. In comparison, entrepreneurs in the Middle East source new opportunities informally, mainly through friends (Use financial advisors US 51%, Middle East 38%) (Use friends US 45%, Middle East 53%) They also perceive their role to be supportive, cultivating business development and leadership skills. In the US, entrepreneurs view their role as a challenger, optimising the performance of the management team by challenging their thinking and strategy.

In Europe, investors are more likely than those in other regions to perceive angel investing as a way to grow and diversify their portfolio, rather than as a way to build their network and share expertise.

In relation to social impact, entrepreneurs in the US and China show a greater emphasis on environmental concerns – 8.1/10 prioritise environmental issues in their business planning compared with 6.7/10 in the UK, Singapore, Switzerland and Australia. When asked about their desire to contribute to communities, entrepreneurs from the Saudi Arabia (64%) and UAE (62%) are most likely to reference being active in the community and civil society as important to their business operations compared to the global average of 44%.


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SunFunder Closes New Equity Round With Investment By Shell

Press Release – Nairobi, 11 June 2018: Leading emerging market solar finance company SunFunder is delighted to announce new equity investment from Shell.

The round also included existing investors Schneider Electric and Better Ventures, each of which strengthened their commitment to SunFunder through a third successive investment.

SunFunder has built the most extensive track record of loans in the off-grid and weak-grid solar sector, offering flexible and scalable debt financing solutions. It has completed $45m of transactions with 40 solar companies in East Africa, West Africa and other developing regions.

This new investment by Shell supports SunFunder’s strategy of advancing the market by working with increasingly commercial investors, and blending both private and public capital into its debt funds. SunFunder is currently raising a new $100m Solar Energy Transformation Fund, building on its successful $47m Beyond The Grid Solar Fund and $15m of solar note issuances.

“The investment by Shell puts us on a new footing,” said Ryan Levinson, SunFunder CEO. “Our vision has always been to make investing in solar energy access mainstream: Shell’s activity in energy access as a whole is a sign of where this sector is heading. We’re excited about our long-term investor relationships and what they mean for solving energy poverty and addressing climate change.”

SunFunder is Shell’s fourth investment in the energy access sector in the last six months, having backed SolarNow, SteamaCo and Husk Power Systems since December 2017.

“We’re interested in companies with viable, commercial business models for improving energy access in Africa and Asia,” said Brian Davis, Shell Vice President Energy Solutions. “Emerging businesses in these geographies need access to affordable debt to reach scale, but they can struggle to access working capital and inventory loans.”

“With its deep sector experience and local team, we believe SunFunder offers a strong value proposition to their customers and also their fund investors. We look forward to collaborating with SunFunder to support the growth of commercial businesses improving energy access.”


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