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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

Impact Investing

This category includes articles about people, firms and foundations that invest in social good by investing in social entrepreneurs, social impact or pay-for-success bonds, etc.

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New UBS Investor Watch Study Reveals Stark Differences in Adoption of Sustainable Investing Globally

The US investors surveyed trail all other countries surveyed in adoption of sustainable investing in this largest recurring study of High Net Worth Investors, although they have the highest allocation into sustainable investments

  • Significant generation divide among US investors—72% of young investors have sustainable investments, compared to only 6% of investors age 65+
  • Adoption is low but growing—only 12% of US investors have sustainable investments, compared to 39% globally, but investors project an increase of 58% over the next five years
  • US investors who have made the foray into sustainable investing are fully committed—49% of their portfolio assets are dedicated to sustainable investments, the highest of any country
  • 51% of US investors surveyed expect sustainable investment returns to match those of traditional investments, compared to 50% of investors globally. Almost 1 in 5 US investors (19%) expect sustainable investments to outperform traditional investments.
  • Investors in China, Brazil and the UAE are the most likely to hold some sustainable investments (60%, 53% and 53% respectively)
  • Confusion continues to hold US investors back—66% of investors find the terminology around sustainable investing perplexing, and 79% say gauging impact is difficult

Press Release – New York, New York – September 19, 2018 – UBS today launched “Return on values,” the latest edition of its UBS Investor Watch report. UBS Investor Watch is the world’s largest recurring global study of High Net Worth Investors (HNWIs).*

The study reveals stark differences in the sustainable investing landscape. The US has the lowest rate of adoption at 12%, compared to 39% of investors globally. China, Brazil and the UAE lead the charge, with 60%, 53% and 53% of investors respectively indicating they have sustainable investment holdings.

However, despite lower adoption, sustainable investors in the US have the highest average allocation, with 49% of their portfolio assets dedicated to sustainable investments. The average global allocation is 36%.

“Investors see sustainable investing as the way of the future. Across all ages, wealth levels and regions, many believe sustainable investing will become a more mainstream approach over time,” said Paula Polito, Global Client Strategy Officer, UBS Global Wealth Management. “Many of the investors surveyed believe that sustainable investments are wise investments and see no need to compromise their personal values for financial returns.”

Young investors and those with the greatest wealth lead momentum behind sustainable investing

While adoption today is low in the US, investors expect sustainable investing to grow to 19% over the next five years, an increase of 58% from today’s levels. In fact, almost a third (32%) of US investors expect sustainable investing to become the “new normal” in 10 years.

Younger investors and those with the greatest wealth are the leading adopters of sustainable investing, both globally and in the US. Seven in ten (72%) young American investors [1] invest sustainably, compared to only 6% of investors age 65+. Among the ultra-rich, [2] 40% invest sustainably, compared to 8% of investors with $1 million to $2 million of investable assets.

Confusion and comfort with their investment approach holds investors back

The study finds that among non-adopters in the US, 85% are happy with their existing investment approach, followed by 79% who say that quantifying the impact of sustainable investments is a major barrier.

Confusion about terminology is compounding the issue. Two-thirds of US investors (66%) find the language of sustainable investing perplexing, and less than a quarter (23%) are very familiar with the term itself. Similarly, US investors make little distinction among the three major sustainable investment approaches: exclusion, integration and impact investing.

In the midst of this confusion, it is clear that advisors have an important role to play, with sustainable investors listing their financial advisors as the top influencers in their decision to invest sustainably, followed by family and friends.

“The opportunity for growth in the US is vast, with young people and wealthy investors leading the way and momentum growing,” said Andrew Lee, Americas, Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing at UBS Global Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office. “Increasing education on the benefits and establishing common conventions for describing and measuring impact will help sustainable investing become the new normal.”

No tradeoff between personal values and returns

The study shows that few investors expect to sacrifice returns when investing sustainably. In fact, 70% of US investors believe the returns from sustainable investments will match or surpass those from traditional investments. They view sustainable companies as more responsible, better managed and more forward-thinking—thus, good investments.

To encourage further adoption of sustainable investing, UBS has committed to raise at least $5bn in impact investments over five years, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At Davos 2018, UBS announced the first 100% sustainable cross-asset portfolios for private clients, targeting market rates of risk-adjusted return as well as positive social and environmental outcomes.

About the research

* The cited research was conducted among more than 5,300 millionaires with at least $1 million in investable assets (excluding property). The global sample was split across 10 markets: Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the US. The research was conducted between June 2018 and August 2018.

[1] Aged 18 – 34 years.

[2] With at least $50 million in investable assets.

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BlueOrchard Celebrates 20th Anniversary of its Flagship Fund

  • Largest commercial microfinance fund in the world celebrates 20th anniversary
  • First BlueOrchard Impact Summit to take place in Pontresina (Switzerland) this October

Press Release – Zurich, 18 September 2018 – BlueOrchard Finance Ltd (“BlueOrchard”), a leading Swiss-based impact investment manager, is proud to announce the 20th anniversary of its flagship fund, the BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund – the largest commercial microfinance fund in the world. To further raise awareness for investment needs in developing countries, BlueOrchard has initiated the Impact Summit, taking place in Switzerland this October.

The BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund (BOMF) has become with more than USD 1.7 billion AuM the largest commercial microfinance fund in the world and has achieved competitive returns for its private and global investor base, including banks, insurances, and pension funds. For 20 years, BOMF has been fostering inclusive growth in 69 emerging and frontier markets, providing access to financial and related services to over 20 million low-income individuals and households by investing in 325 microfinance institutions. Today, 53% of the Fund’s clients are women entrepreneurs and 42% live in rural areas. BOMF addresses with its investments 11 out of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“During the last 20 years BOMF has proven that financial returns and social impact go hand in hand. While it has grown to become the largest commercial microfinance fund in the world, it remains under the same mission and vision, committed to fighting poverty and empowering people in emerging countries. We are proud to celebrate today the 20th anniversary of this unique fund, said Peter A. Fanconi, BlueOrchard’s Chairman of the Board.

“We are thankful to our investors for making this milestone anniversary possible. Investors today are increasingly asking for investment solutions that generate a financial return while making a social and/or environmental impact. We will continue to provide our investors worldwide with attractive investment solutions which contribute to solving the social and environmental challenges of our time,” said Patrick Scheurle, CEO of BlueOrchard.

In 1998, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit. The Year was established to promote the contributions of microfinance to creating an inclusive and sustainable financial system, which grants access to financial services to the world’s poor. Under the umbrella of the Year, several initiatives were instigated by the UN to encourage microfinance investments. One of these was the launch of the world’s first fully private and commercial microfinance fund in 1998, the BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund (BOMF). The aim was to furnish proof to the idea that fighting poverty and generating market-rate returns is not an either-or choice.

First BlueOrchard Impact Summit

Today, 20 years later, reducing poverty and inequalities are as important and efforts to tackle these challenges are even impeded by the consequences of climate change. Taking place on the 3rd and 4th of October in Pontresina, Switzerland, the BlueOrchard Impact Summit will therefore focus on how investments in Inclusive Growth, Climate Change, Education and Sustainable Infrastructure can be mobilized at scale to address these challenges in developing countries and to close the alarming annual investment gap of USD 2.5 trillion in key sustainable development sectors.

“The upcoming BlueOrchard Impact Summit is a fantastic opportunity for leaders from around the world to discuss resources required to achieve the SDGs in the years to come”, said Peter A. Fanconi, BlueOrchard’s Chairman of the Board.

The Summit will bring together thought leaders from around the world, from public and private sectors to discuss, exchange, learn from each other’s experience and consequently derive solutions on how to reduce today’s rising inequalities. For more information on the Summit and the speakers, please visit:

About BlueOrchard Finance Ltd

BlueOrchard is a leading global impact investment manager. The firm is dedicated to fostering inclusive and climate-smart growth, while providing attractive returns for investors. BlueOrchard was founded in 2001, by initiative of the UN, as the world’s first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments. Today, BlueOrchard provides investors around the world with premium investment solutions, including credit, private equity, and sustainable infrastructure. Being an expert in innovative blended finance mandates, the firm is a trusted partner of leading global development finance institutions. With a major global presence and offices on four continents, BlueOrchard has invested to date more than USD 5bn across 80 emerging and frontier markets, enabling tangible social and environmental impact. BlueOrchard is a licensed Swiss asset manager of collective investment schemes authorized by FINMA. Its Luxembourg entity, BlueOrchard Asset Management S.A., is a licensed UCITS management company as well as a licensed alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) authorized by CSSF. For additional information, please visit:

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Global Impact Investing Network Appoints Xavier De Souza Briggs As New Board Member

Briggs Oversees Ford Foundation’s Impact Investing And Brings Decades Of Public Policy And Movement-Building Expertise To The GIIN

Press Release – NEW YORK, September 18, 2018 – The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) today announced the appointment of Xavier (“Xav”) de Souza Briggs as its newest Board member. Briggs is Vice President of Inclusive Economies and Markets at the Ford Foundation, where his role includes overseeing the foundation’s impact investing as well as programming in inclusive economic growth, the future of work, natural resources and climate change, and affordable housing. He is also responsible for overseeing the foundation’s regional teams in Asia and West Africa.

“We are honored to welcome Xav as our newest Board member,” said Amit Bouri, CEO and co-founder of the GIIN. “He is a proven leader whose strong values and unyielding commitment to advancing economic opportunity and sustainable development align well with the GIIN’s mission and objectives. His global reach and understanding of local communities, strategic problem solving, and expertise in catalyzing systems changes will be instrumental as the GIIN continues to drive transformation of the industry and propel the impact investing movement forward.”

Briggs is widely known for his pioneering research and public service in promoting economic fairness and opportunity. Prior to his role at the Ford Foundation, Briggs was professor of Sociology and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also served as Head of the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group. An award-winning author and educator, Briggs’s career also spans public policy, serving as Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama White House and as Policy Adviser and R&D Director at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Clinton administration. Briggs was also a faculty member in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

“Impact investing holds tremendous potential for funding solutions to some of our greatest global challenges,” Briggs said, “and for reconciling the functioning of capital markets with our highest social values. The GIIN has been the preeminent advocate for impact investing, and I am incredibly proud to join this organization. I look forward to working with the board to further our shared goals of advancing this vital movement.”

The Ford Foundation is a member of the GIIN’s Investors’ Council, a leadership group for large-scale impact investors. Last year, the Ford Foundation publicly committed $1 billion USD of its endowment to impact investments over the next decade, the largest commitment of its kind by a private foundation.

About the Global Impact Investing Network

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is the global champion of impact investing, dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing around the world. Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon investors’ objectives. The GIIN builds critical infrastructure and supports activities, education, and research that help accelerate the development of a coherent impact investing industry. For more information, please visit

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FMO Investment Propels Meloy Fund Past $22 Million for Sustainable Coastal Fisheries

Dutch Development Bank Invests $5 Million to Support Sustainable Coastal Fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines

Press Release – ARLINGTON, VA – The Meloy Fund I, LP, the world’s first impact investment fund dedicated to supporting sustainable coastal fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines, today announced a $5 million investment from FMO, the Dutch development bank. This brings the fund to a final close at over $22 million. FMO joins a diverse group of family offices, investment managers, and foundations already invested.

Working with partners ranging from finance institutions to civil society organizations and investors, FMO invests in over 80 countries, supporting jobs, income generation and a more livable planet. A supporter of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, FMO’s role extends beyond financing, helping businesses to operate and grow transparently in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. FMO’s approach demonstrates that strong financial returns and positive impact in developing countries and emerging markets can go hand-in-hand. The investment in the Meloy Fund is made through the MASSIF fund, which is managed by FMO on behalf of the Dutch government.

“FMO is proud to join the Meloy Fund and contribute to the creation of economic opportunities for small-scale fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines” said Maurice Scheepens, Investment Officer of the Agri, Food & Water department at FMO. “The partnership with Rare, which provides amongst others technical expertise and networks, ensures that inclusive development is linked with the conservation of critical marine habitat.”

“With support from FMO, the Meloy Fund is in a strong position to demonstrate how private capital can support sustainable coastal ecosystems and communities in the Coral Triangle,” said Dale Galvin, Managing Director of Rare’s Sustainable Markets group and Managing Partner of the Fund. “We’re thrilled to partner FMO, which brings a keen eye to impact investing opportunities, and a breadth and depth of institutional experience that will help us deliver significant triple-bottom-line results to our investors.”

Together with the global conservation organization Rare, The Meloy Fund seeks to invest in fishing and seafood-related enterprises in Indonesia and the Philippines that will lead to better management and protection of historically undervalued community-based coastal fisheries, as well as opportunities to boost the livelihoods of local, small-scale fishers. Together, Rare estimates these two nations represent 4.3 million fishers, 2.7 million tons of fish, 21 million hectares of critical marine habitat and $4 billion in latent value to be unlocked if sustainability can be achieved.

Note: This release does not constitute an offer of an investment security by The Meloy Fund I, GP, LLC or related entities.

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US SIF Statement on Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2018 Introduction

“Climate risk reporting by public corporations has been hobbled by inconsistent and non-comparable data. Investors have been challenged because there is no clear disclosure regime that allows for true apples-to-apples comparisons. The Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2018 will improve reporting on climate risk which will benefit investors and clarify reporting requirements for corporations.

“While the SEC already advises that climate change risks can be material for publicly traded companies, in which case they must report on climate risks to investors, companies are not required to report on climate issues in any standardized way through their SEC filings. Furthermore, the SEC has been lax in enforcing climate change disclosures.

“US SIF has called for robust environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure reporting since 2009. Meaningful disclosure reporting that provides comprehensive, comparable and reliable data is beneficial to many stakeholders, not just investors.”

The US SIF Foundation’s 2016 Report On US Sustainable, Responsible And Impact Investing Trends in the United States found that money managers with $1.42 trillion in assets under management and institutional asset owners with $2.15 trillion in assets considered climate change risk in their investment analysis, more than three times the assets so affected in 2014. The 2018 Trends Report, which will be released at the end of October, will again highlight and update the extent to which investors are considering climate change concerns and risks.

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TD Ameritrade Launches Socially Aware Portfolios, Expanding Access to ESG Investing

New option for TD Ameritrade robo-advisor clients interested in sustainable investing

TD Ameritrade’s Socially Responsible Investing Survey infographic (Graphic: Business Wire).

Press Release – OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)— TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC (“TD Ameritrade”)1 today announced Socially Aware options for robo-advisor clients, helping investors to align their portfolios with their values by considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when they invest.

“There is a growing appetite from investors of all generations, particularly millennials, for investments that provide additional value beyond the financial returns. We are pleased to offer them a low-cost, automated investing option in ESG-centric portfolios,” said Lule Demmissie, managing director of investment products and guidance, TD Ameritrade, Inc.

TD Ameritrade now offers five Socially Aware portfolios that provide exposure to ESG investing through well-diversified exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that are designed to suit different risk preferences and investing goals. The portfolios are available through Essential Portfolios, TD Ameritrade’s fully digital robo-advisor platform.

ESG investing assesses companies using a scoring system created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), a leading provider of market indices. If a company earns a higher score than its industry peers across the three ESG categories (environmental, social, governance), it’s assigned a higher ESG rating, a growing factor in the investment decision-making process.

“We carefully reviewed the current ESG investment offerings available for investors today,” said Joe Correnti, director of guidance portfolio construction and management, TD Ameritrade Inc. “We then considered the investment vehicles that we believe best captured the essence of ESG investing, and would be appropriate for inclusion in our client portfolios,” Correnti explained.

In addition to launching Socially Aware for Essential Portfolios clients, TD Ameritrade is releasing insights from a new “Socially Responsible Investing Survey”:

Socially Responsible Investing Deemed Important, Especially by Women and Millennials

  • Almost one in three (30 percent) investors surveyed have considered making socially responsible investments, with women (34 percent) favoring the approach more than men (26 percent).
  • Forty-five percent of investors of all ages and 60 percent of millennials consider socially responsible investing important.
  • Nearly a third (30 percent) of investors would move their account to a different firm to gain broader access to socially responsible investment offerings, with almost half (47 percent) of millennials willing to switch.

ESG Investors Favor Environmental, Social Factors Over Financials

  • For those who consider socially responsible investments, social and environmental factors (67 percent) matter more than financials (30 percent). Rate of return is a top priority only for 17 percent of investors who considered socially responsible investments.
  • More than half (51 percent) of those who’ve considered socially responsible investments claim to have at least 21 percent of their total holdings dedicated to socially responsible investments.
  • Human rights is the most important value for investors who consider social values, closely followed by environmental impact, and diversity. Boomers tend to care the most about human rights, while millennials focus on environmental impact.

“With companies providing more extensive data about their ESG practices, in addition to ESG research and analysis methods becoming more advanced than ever before, investors can feel more empowered to address their desires for social and environmental change through their investments,” continued Demmissie. “By investing in Socially Aware portfolios, they can now further align investments with their values.”

To learn more about the Socially Aware feature available for TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios clients, visit

Carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. A prospectus, obtained by calling 800-669-3900, contains this and other important information about an investment company. Read carefully before investing.

ETFs can entail risks similar to direct stock ownership, including market, sector, or industry risks. Some ETFs may involve international risk, currency risk, commodity risk, leverage risk, credit risk and interest rate risk. Trading prices may not reflect the net asset value of the underlying securities. Commission fees typically apply.

Morgan Stanley Capital International and TD Ameritrade are separate and unaffiliated and not responsible for each other’s services or policies.

About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

TD Ameritrade provides investing services and education to more than 11 million client accounts totaling more than $1.2 trillion in assets, and custodial services to more than 6,000 registered investment advisors. We are a leader in U.S. retail trading, executing an average of more than 780,000 trades per day for our clients, more than a quarter of which come from mobile devices. We have a proud history of innovation, dating back to our start in 1975, and today our team of nearly 10,000-strong is committed to carrying it forward. Together, we are leveraging the latest in cutting edge technologies and one-on-one client care to transform lives, and investing, for the better. Learn more by visiting TD Ameritrade’s newsroom at, or read our stories at Fresh Accounts.

Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA ( (

Prior to enrolling in the Socially Aware portfolios, please read TDAIM’s whitepaper and see the TDAIM Disclosure Brochure (Form ADV Part 2A)

Advisory services are provided by TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC (“TD Ameritrade Investment Management”), a registered investment advisor. Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc. TD Ameritrade Investment Management provides discretionary advisory services for a fee. Risks applicable to any portfolio are those associated with its underlying securities. For more information, please see the Disclosure Brochure (Form ADV Part 2A)

About the TD Ameritrade Socially Responsible Investing Survey

A 10-minute online survey was conducted with 1,056 American adult investors with at least $250,000 in investable assets by True North Market Insights, between March 16, 2018 and March 19, 2018, on behalf of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. The statistical margin of error for the total sample of 1,056 American adults within the target group is +/- 2.6 percent. TD Ameritrade and True North Market Insights are separate and unaffiliated firms and are not responsible for each other’s services or policies.

Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

[1] Socially aware portfolios and other advisory services are offered through TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor affiliate of TD Ameritrade, Inc. (“TD Ameritrade”) and a subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation.

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Global Impact Investing Network: More Capital Required To Achieve U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

Impact investors must proactively target 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to help address a massive global funding gap

Press Release – NEW YORK, September 6, 2018 – The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) today published a new report, ‘Financing the Sustainable Development Goals: Impact Investing in Action’, that reiterates the need for impact investors to raise and direct new capital to help meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. With an estimated $5-7 trillion needed annually to achieve the goals, it is clear that more capital, deployed by investors whose aims align with these goals, is an absolute requirement. The report, released in advance of the agenda for the UN’s Global Goals Week, Sept. 22-29, showcases the potential for impact investing to catalyze progress towards these goals.

A series of case studies illustrates the evolution of increasingly sophisticated and targeted approaches by impact investors directing capital towards the SDGs. From designing investment products around one or several SDGs to making those goals a focus of their capital raising, the investors in the GIIN report show how to proactively target and incorporate them throughout the investment cycle. This includes during sourcing and due diligence, investment selection and structuring, investment management, and exits.

“The SDGs are an embodiment of the global agenda for development, and if we are to meet them by 2030, the collective effort of governments and private organizations needs to scale at a much faster pace. Despite some early progress, the need is more urgent than ever to inject new capital into high-impact businesses that address critical social and environmental challenges,” said Amit Bouri, CEO and Co-Founder of the GIIN. He added, “Through these case studies, we are highlighting investors and their strategic approaches to the SDGs, which we hope will inspire those in the investment community to consider how they too can take active roles in helping achieve these goals.”

The investors featured in the report, many of which target market rates of return, include:

  • Blue like an Orange Sustainable Capital, which operates a Latin America fund that targets SDGs focused on ending poverty and promoting good health, quality education, gender equality, sustainable communities, and responsible consumption. Its mezzanine debt investments in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru bolster the unmet demand for loan capital from commercial banks in the region. The mezzanine debt segment provides flexibility for borrowers and attractive returns for investors.
  • Incofin Investment Management, which operates private equity and debt funds focused on financial services and agriculture with a total of $1 billion under management. It incorporated the SDGs into its due diligence and investment management process across all its managed and advised funds and has made 60 investments globally that target market-rate returns while pursuing these aims.
  • The Mirova Land Degradation Neutrality Fund project, launched in 2017, which specifically targets SDG 15, Life on Land, investing in projects that promote land degradation neutrality through, for example, reforestation and preventing desertification. Mirova has raised $120 million of a projected $300 million to provide long-term financing to investees in sustainable agriculture and forestry projects that demonstrate positive environmental and social practices.
  • PGGM, a Netherlands-based asset manager for pension funds, which makes investments in food, health, water, and climate, will invest EUR 20 billion (US $22.6 billion) by 2020 to address SDGs focused on eliminating hunger and promoting good health, clean water and sanitation, clean energy, and responsible consumption.
  • Partners Group, an impact investor based in Switzerland, which launched the PG LIFE investment strategy this year, a private markets fund seeking market-rate financial returns alongside measurable progress towards ending poverty and promoting good health, quality education, and clean energy.

“What we see in these examples is a proactive, focused approach to the SDGs,” said Bouri. “It isn’t enough now to simply “tag” relevant investments to SDG issue areas, although this is a good first step. What the world urgently needs is significantly more investment capital being channeled to these social and environmental priorities. The SDGs have been called ‘the world’s hardest to do list’, but with the help of leaders in the private capital markets, they may be achievable.”

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Good Returns Launches New Program with ORIX USA That Will Change How Corporations Give Back

Unique Model Enables ORIX to Reinvest Funds and Make a Greater Impact on Communities

Press Release – Dallas, TX – September 5, 2018 – ORIX USA Corporation (“ORIX”), through its foundation, announced today that it will deploy $250,000 in capital to Good Returns in the form of a one-year, interest-free loan, or “Cycle.” This Cycle, which is Good Returns’ first-ever with a multi-national corporation, will utilize the capital to help impact organizations scale sustainable programs that align with the ORIX Foundation’s key focus areas of basic needs, children, education, empowerment, health and veterans.

The ORIX Foundation was able to make this impact investment separate from their capital pool used for grant-making because of Good Returns’ unique model, which guarantees that participating companies will have 100 percent of their capital returned following each one-year Cycle. The financial guarantee also enables the ORIX Foundation to reinvest the funds into future Cycles, creating an impact multiplier that will supplement its already established grant-making activities.

“In line with the values established by ORIX, our foundation seeks financially innovative models that maximize the impact we create in our local communities – something we’ve certainly found in Good Returns,” said Carol Greene, ORIX Foundation Director. “Our partnership in this new program will empower other companies and corporate foundations to do the same.”

After four years of successful Cycle programs with partner organizations, Good Returns has built infrastructure to facilitate bigger investments from larger companies. Good Returns sought out the ORIX Foundation because of their mutual dedication to increasing social impact through innovative solutions to pressing community challenges.

To date, the ORIX Foundation has invested more than $12 million in solutions to complex community issues.

“This partnership will establish a new and effective way for companies and corporate foundations to mobilize more of their resources for doing good in their communities,” said Kyle Lukianuk, President of Good Returns. “We are thrilled to be partnering with ORIX to elevate our program to a whole new level.”

Good Returns utilizes corporate capital to lend ­– interest-free and fully guaranteed – to the most promising impact organizations aligned with the participating company’s impact priorities. In addition to capital, the Cycle also provides a platform in which customers, employees and other company stakeholders share the stories of impact – growing awareness and creating action.

The selection of recipient impact organizations for the ORIX/Good Returns Cycle is currently being finalized and will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Code For America Expands Program To Promote Citizen-Driven Government In The Digital Age, With A New $2 Million Investment From Knight Foundation

Funding will support the next phase of Code for America Brigades—local networks of technologists, community leaders and local officials passionate about using technology to help government work for people

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO–August 30, 2018–Code for America will strengthen its national Brigade network of community organizers, developers and designers that use technology to improve how local government serves the American public, with $2 million in new funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The support will help expand the network over the next 2 years, building on Knight’s early support of the initiative.

“Code for America launched as an experiment, testing whether engaged citizens could use tech to make government work better for people; it has made great progress in this goal,” said Lilian Coral, Knight Foundation director for national strategy and technology Innovation. “This next phase is about establishing a stronger infrastructure for these efforts, as technology becomes ubiquitous in our communities and building strong connections between government and people becomes even more essential.”

Code for America and its local Brigades sit at the intersection of communities, city government and technology. Founded in 2009, Code for America is, in many ways, the seminal organization that founded what we know today as the civic tech movement.

Since 2012, the Code for America Brigade network has worked with local government and community partners to build and implement technology tools that help address local civic issues. Knight Foundation’s early support of the initiative helped the network grow substantially and mainstream the integration of technology in city governance. Since Knight’s initial investments, Code for America’s network has grown from 3 to 77 Brigades; the initial group of under 100 volunteers has grown into a network of 25,000 people—techies and non-techies alike.

New Knight support will now help support the next phase of growth for the Code for America Brigades, expanding its capacity and establishing advisory councils to amplify its impact within communities. The support will further allow Code for America to implement a redesigned fellowship model with a deeply local focus, connecting technologists from the community with city initiatives. The refreshed model will enable these technologists to better collaborate with government in building tools that help address local civic issues.

In addition, the organization will foster and develop the Code for America Brigade network through trainings, workshops and forms that bring Brigades together across cities. It will also work to expand local Brigades in communities where Knight invests; the number of members and the number and quality of the projects they work on; and the partnerships they develop within their communities and with local governments.

“Code for America believes that making government work for the people, by the people in the digital age creates strong, vibrant communities. In the last five years, volunteers in Brigades have defined a ‘new kind of public service.’ Strengthening the capacity for this kind of civic engagement is critical if we hope this impact to spread,” said Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director at Code for America. “We are grateful to the Knight Foundation for their continued vision and commitment to this work.”

Code for America Brigade volunteers get to know the people in City Hall (and sometimes, in fact, work in local government as their day job); advocate for digital practices that will benefit the public; and build solutions. They have increased youth access to local job opportunities in Boston; improved access to justice in Salt Lake City; tackled the affordable housing crisis in Asheville; developed tools for planners to build better bike routes in Philadelphia; and improved the delivery of health and human services in Missouri, among other successes.

In addition to organizing its volunteer Brigade network, Code for America builds easy-to-use technologies that improve government services in the areas of health, food, criminal justice and jobs, then it shares what it has learned with its broad network to enact long-term systems change.

Support for Code for America forms part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to harness the growth in digital technology to enable more informed and engaged communities. The foundation seeks to invest in strategies that increase responsiveness, connectedness and engagement to residents through the use of technology.

About Code for America

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Palladium Impact Investments Provides Debt Finance To Support Female Shea Nut Pickers And Processors In Ghana

  • Palladium Impact Investments provides cash boost to female-owned company Naasakle to support more than 5,000 women shea nut pickers and processors in northern Ghana
  • Naasakle manufactures shea butter for the cosmetic industry and then sells in bulk to US wholesale clients as well as packaged beauty products to the retail market
  • Global demand for shea butter products increased by 1200% from 2005 to 2015
  • Palladium’s financing will accelerate Naasakle’s growth and the fair treatment of local pickers and processors, through production improvements, equipment purchases and working capital

Press Release – London – 20 August, 2018: Global impact firm Palladium has invested in family-run social enterprise Naasakle, which supports female shea nut pickers and processors in northern Ghana.

Naasakle operates a vertically integrated business model in the shea value chain – an industry which saw global demand for its products increase by 1,200 per cent from 2005 to 2015.

The company sources and processes shea nuts in northern Ghana from more than 5,000 women pickers, who have traditionally been cut off from a fair share of the profits of their labour. Naasakle pays them up to 25% more than the price usually handed over by middlemen and traders. Naasakle then sells shea butter – locally referred to as “women’s gold” – in bulk to wholesale clients and packaged beauty products to retailers around the world.

Palladium’s loan will help accelerate Nasaakle’s growth, through production improvements, equipment purchases and working capital funding. The company’s growth will benefit women nut pickers, for whom nut picking is the primary source of income, as well as processors.

Nasaakle also provides technical and financial literacy training, organises savings programmes and pays for local warehousing facilities. By providing these services, the company gives women access to a stable and ready market for their inputs with limited waste and higher payments.

Roberta Bove from Palladium Impact Investments said “We are proud to be backing Naasakle and look forward to working with them to ensure the business’ success and its positive impact for rural women who are routinely cut off from a fair share of the profits emanating from their labour.

“Naasakle helps bridge the gap between female shea nut pickers in northern Ghana and the increasing global demand for shea butter products.”

The loan to Naaskale is an ‘impact investment’, as it mobilises Palladium’s own capital to improve the lives of shea nut pickers and processors in Ghana, while generating a financial return. At the core of Palladium’s investment criteria is the impactful nature of the investee enterprise, which delivers positive social and/or environmental impact, in a sustainable way. Businesses that Palladium invests in, such as Naasakle, have positive impact embedded right into their business models, and as the businesses’ growth accelerates thanks to Palladium’s funding so does their contribution to vulnerable people in developing countries.

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