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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.

ImpactAssets Announces Nationwide Series of Interactive Events with Private Capital Impact Investing Fund Managers

Series brings together private debt and equity managers and qualified impact investors for a discussion of timely, opportunistic strategies and themes driving impact investing.

Press Release – BETHESDA, MD – January 25, 2018ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns, today announced a five-city series of interactive events with leading impact investing fund managers designed to help qualified investors, wealth managers, family offices and foundations learn about current impact strategies and how to implement them.

The inaugural event takes place Friday, January 25, from noon-3 pm at the Sobrato Center for Nonprofits, Redwood Shores, CA. The Investor Lunch features seven top-tier impact fund managers currently available as investment options through the ImpactAssets Giving Fund donor advised fund. The Giving Fund structure enables philanthropic impact investors to access fund managers at lower minimums.

Featured managers include:

“We are thrilled to kick off our nationwide fund manager series with such a powerhouse line-up of managers across a diversified range of impact themes and investment approaches,” said Margret Trilli, President and Chief Investment Officer at ImpactAssets. “As the interest in impact investing grows, getting up to speed on the latest strategies can be overwhelming. We’ve gathered this group of visionary impact fund managers and leaders to offer their insights into current opportunities and how to access them at lower minimums.”

Future fund manager events for qualified investors and their advisors include:

  • February 27, Portland, OR
  • February 28, Seattle, WA
  • April 11, Cambridge, MA
  • Early June, Washington, DC

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, other asset owners and their wealth advisors advance social or environmental change through impact investment and philanthropy.

About The Giving Fund:

The Giving Fund is an innovative donor advised fund that empowers donors to increase the impact of their giving by combining it with strategic sustainable and responsible investing to build a sophisticated philanthropic endowment. Donors recommend how The Giving Fund’s assets are invested across a range of leading impact investment options including community investment, turn-key portfolios, private debt and equity funds and custom investments. The Giving Fund currently has nearly $500 million in charitable assets from more than 1,100 donor advised funds, working with 300 wealth advisors across 50 financial services firms.


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Everytable Closes Its First Program-Related Investment (PRI) Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

This investment will be used to further missions of both Everytable and the Kellogg Foundation

Press Release – LOS ANGELES, Jan. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/Everytable is a grab and go restaurant, whose mission is to make nutritious, fresh food affordable and accessible to all. Everytable aims to redefine the food landscape the same way McDonald’s did fifty years ago. However, this time, instead of burgers and fries, it is healthy, made-from-scratch food, at fast-food prices, that will enable all communities to have equitable access to quality food and help eliminate food deserts and food injustice.

“Everytable’s mission directly aligns with our goal to increase access to fresh, local, healthy food and improve nutrition for children and families,” said Kellogg Foundation Director of Mission Investment Cynthia Muller. “Children are at the heart of everything we do, and this investment creates healthy and affordable food options that are culturally relevant for families—something that rarely exists in food-insecure communities.”

Everytable is a social enterprise. Social enterprises are organizations that try to solve social problems through business, combining the heart of a nonprofit with the scalability and innovative potential of for-profits. Foundations, like the Kellogg Foundation, have been allowed to invest in social enterprises through PRI’s for almost 50 years, but only a tiny percentage of foundations deploy them. With PRI funding, these hybrid businesses could usher in a boom that would bridge society’s equity gaps.

Everytable is doing just that: bridging the gap in equality by addressing society’s food injustice. With this investment, Everytable will:

  • Pilot a franchise model which focuses on entrepreneurs of color from underserved communities owning stores;
  • Explore a new model designed to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Run educational programming for students at California State University, Los Angeles around its new store (Everytable’s first store with a university) opening in January 2019.

“The Kellogg Foundation is the gold-standard of foundations. Their innovative approach to equality and justice has improved countless lives and communities, and we at Everytable are honored by their confidence in our team, and our business model, which we believe has the potential to reshape the food system to make healthy food affordable and accessible for all,” says Sam Polk, Founder & CEO of Everytable.

Everytable currently has six stores—Baldwin Hills, Cal State LA, Compton, Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and South Los Angeles—and two more opening early next year in Watts and Brentwood. The stores located in underserved areas (also referred to as food deserts) sell meals for $5 to $6, and in the more affluent areas, the same meals are priced $8 to $9.

Everytable is an evolved business model that uses great food, beautiful design, and a variable pricing model to succeed and help balance injustice. It has made the commitment to address the food injustice felt by millions throughout Los Angeles through its innovative food delivery platform and stores, with the potential to reach millions more across the country and beyond. To ensure that everyone can afford its meals, its unique pricing model enables every neighborhood to enjoy healthy, affordable meals.

SOURCE W.K. Kellogg Foundation


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UBS Presents Investment Roadmap For Meeting UN Sustainability Goals

  • Lack of private funding is putting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at significant risk, UBS warns in white paper published in Davos
  • UBS calls on financial sector to create more personalized investment choices, adopt greater use of multilateral development bank (MDB) debt, and use simpler, more consistent sustainability data and terms
  • UBS reports significant progress toward its 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) commitment of raising USD 5bn in impact investments, and delivery of its 2018 WEF commitments including the launch of the industry’s first 100% sustainable cross-asset solution and MDB debt benchmarks

Press Release – Zurich, 21 January 2019 – Investors are keen to put more money to work in support of environmental, social and governance (ESG) causes but only if financial firms promote highly personalized choices that allow clients to leave their mark, UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager [1], said today. In a major step toward personalizing sustainable investing, UBS announced the launch of a pilot program that matches what clients care most about with investments that perform best against their values.

Specifically, the pilot will allow investors to rate how much they care about individual ESG factors, such as climate change or water, express their preference in a personalized sustainability score, and compare their score against more than 20,000 ESG-rated stocks and bonds to find the best match. This marks a further departure from a one-size-fits-all approach to sustainable investing by scoring each security against seven ESG criteria, which allows for a more granular view of how investment instruments are performing against the sustainability criteria their potential buyers hold dear. The pilot will be introduced in the first quarter of 2019.

The United Nations has called for an increase in private sector funding in support of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), designed to address humanity’s and the environment’s biggest problems by 2030. However, the world is likely to fall short of the estimated additional USD 2-7trn needed annually to solve these issues, UBS said in a white paper entitled “Awareness, simplification, and contribution” launched today, which simultaneously calls for more concerted efforts among financial institutions toward mobilizing private wealth for the public good.

Presenting the paper at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Axel Weber, Chairman of UBS, said: “At UBS, we believe that only by offering solutions that raise awareness and channel personal preferences for investing sustainably can the global community achieve the UN SDGs.”

Sergio P. Ermotti, Group CEO of UBS, said: “UBS is taking steps to widen our lead in sustainable investing. Clients clearly care about the social and environmental impact of their investments, and they shouldn’t have to compromise in their pursuit of financial returns to achieve their objectives. Now we’re making it easier for them to choose the investments that best support their priorities.”

The UBS paper is the third in-depth analysis unveiled at Davos offering policymakers, investors and the financial sector detailed solutions for meeting the SDGs. Those include simplifying and standardizing definitions and measurements, and customizing investments to appeal to people’s personal passions. They also include ramping up public awareness that individual investors can make a difference by putting their savings to work profitably in support of good causes.

“While there has been progress, it’s become clear that the traditional approach to environmental and social investment isn’t sufficient,” said Mark Haefele, Chief Investment Officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “People care less about generic topics than specific causes they hold dear. They want the chance to leave their mark on issues they are passionate about, whether that’s eradicating poverty, achieving gender equality, or any of the other SDGs that are close to their hearts. This is why we’re proposing new solutions to specific problems.”

The UBS white paper has won broad support from leading figures in finance, philanthropy and business. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, Robert Kapito, President and Co-Founder of BlackRock, Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, and Sunny Varkey, Founder of GEMS Education and the USD 1m per annum Global Teacher Prize, echoed the call for UN SDG awareness and common standards in individual contributions included in the paper.

Robert Kapito of BlackRock stated in his contribution: “We need to provide our clients with the clearest possible picture of the impact of sustainable investing. That is why we believe we need increased disclosures to help investors make more informed decisions and why we are focused on enhancing data for investors to better understand how and why sustainability factors affect returns.”

Following its commitment made in 2017 to raise USD 5bn in impact investments over five years, UBS has pioneered examples of new sustainable and impact investment solutions, such as working with Solactive to develop fixed income benchmarks that define financial return, risk and sustainability parameters; the launch of Align17 [2], an innovative digital platform that efficiently connects private wealth investors to impact investment opportunities; multiple mainstream private-market impact fund raises that have already contributed several USD millions to good causes including academic research; and the world’s first 100% sustainable investment cross-asset solution. Launched for private clients in 2018, this solution has already attracted CHF 3.9 bn in investments, despite a difficult environment for financial assets over the past year.

“When someone tries to find an investment that helps solve some of the issues they care most about, they are often presented with a confusing and conflicting array of data, definitions, and terms,” said Simon Smiles, Chief Investment Officer UHNW at UBS Global Wealth Management, who was also recognized as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. “We need to make it easier by simplifying and standardizing sustainability criteria on a global level.”

The key solutions outlined in the paper (available in full at ubs.com/wef2019) are:

1. To align investments with personal sustainability interests, helping investors who seek to achieve their financial goals and to tackle the particular social and environmental causes they care most about.

[1] Scorpio Partnership’s “Global Private Banking Benchmark 2018” rank of global wealth managers by AUM. Please click the following link to view: http://www.scorpiopartnership.com/press/2018-benchmark/

[2] UBS will not have any involvement in the selection of private investments made available on the Align17 platform. Nor will UBS perform due diligence or suitability reviews with regard to such investments. Align17 is not available in all jurisdictions. References to Align17 in this publication therefore should not be considered as an endorsement, solicitation or referral to any investment made available on Align17.


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UK Fintech MarketInvoice Secures £56m In Equity And Debt Funding

  • Equity funding round of £26 million led by Barclays and fintech fund Santander InnoVentures
  • New invest or Viola Credit to provide the MarketInvoice platform with a debt facility of £30m to support business loan solution
  • Funding to expand UK market presence and launch fintech-bank partnerships

Press Release – 21st January 2019, London; Fintech business lender MarketInvoice today announced it has raised £26m in new equity funding. This Series-B funding round was led by Barclays and fintech fund Santander InnoVentures with significant participation from European venture fund Northzone, an existing investor in the company. Technology credit fund Viola Credit, who also participated in the equity round, will provide a debt facility of up to £30m to help scale the MarketInvoice business loans solution, that sits alongside their core invoice finance solutions.

Since 2011, MarketInvoice has funded invoices and business loans to UK companies worth more than £2 billion, making them Europe’s largest online invoice finance platform. MarketInvoice has supported thousands of companies across the UK, funding over 170,000 invoices and supporting over 15,000 UK jobs, by providing business finance to help them grow, expand operations and hire more people.

The funding will enable MarketInvoice to deepen strategic partnerships in the UK, grow the team and increase awareness of its business finance solutions. In addition, the company is planning to launch cross-border fintech-bank partnerships to support more businesses with access to their lending solutions.

Anil Stocker, Co-founder & CEO of MarketInvoice, commented: “This investment is perfectly timed for the company. The quality of investors we are bringing in through this funding round is a real testament to the whole team at MarketInvoice and the value we are building.

We’re excited to develop our finance solutions further and become the trusted funding partner for ambitious entrepreneurs. By collaborating with bank partners, we will be reaching many thousands of companies here in the UK and abroad to provide them with their business finance needs. We aim to invest in technology, data and strategic partnerships, to take MarketInvoice to the next level.”

Manuel Silva Martínez, Managing Partner and Head of Investments at Santander InnoVentures commented: “MarketInvoice is helping UK businesses access much needed funding to keep their businesses and ideas thriving in a very competitive market. We are pleased to be joining other financial institutions as shareholders to scale their solutions in the UK and abroad. We are very excited to join Anil and his exceptional team in building this vision together.”

Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Bank, said: “Collaborating with fintech companies like MarketInvoice is an integral part of Barclays’ strategy for accelerating growth. This investment demonstrates our commitment to the partnership we announced last summer which offers hundreds of thousands of our SME clients access to even more innovative forms of finance, boosting cash flow and competition in the market.”

Ido Vigdor, partner at Viola Credit, commented “More than £6 billion has been funded through alternative finance lending in the UK and it has become an established mainstream component in the UK financial landscape. The awareness, adoption and impact of alternative finance options are increasing rapidly as platforms, such as MarketInvoice, are providing seamless, easy to use, financial services. We are excited to enter the UK market and partner with this exceptional company as it enters to it next phase of growth”.

Anil Stocker added: “Now more than ever, businesses need access to stable lines of funding as they navigate choppy political and economic conditions. Our invoice finance solutions are designed to bridge the gap in cash flow requirements and keep UK businesses growing and exporting.

We will use this new funding to invest in further risk automation and data models, scale-up our business loans solution, and grow our teams.”


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Impact Investment Needs Global Standards And Better Measurement, says OECD

Press Release – Social impact investment, which aims to improve well-being as well as earn a financial return, could be more effective if it were more clearly defined internationally with more measurable outcomes, according to a new OECD report.

Social Impact Investment: The Impact Imperative for Sustainable Development calls for international standards to be applied on collecting data and measuring impact. Currently, most impact investment goes to areas with relatively easy returns, such as financial services, energy and housing as perceptions persist of a trade-off between social and financial returns.

The OECD has proposed defining social impact investing as targeting core development, social and environmental areas that help people and countries most in need in underserved or developing regions, and stipulating that the primary focus should be on delivering measurable impact. No such definition is being universally applied, however, and there is little rigour in setting boundaries on what should count as impact investment and a lack of internationally comparable data and evaluation tools.

“The challenge lies in defining and measuring impact,” said OECD Development Co-operation Director Jorge Moreira da Silva. “Different countries, public and private organisations are using different yardsticks to measure different elements. To counter the risk of ‘impact washing’, public authorities have a responsibility to set standards and ensure they are adhered to.”

The number of social impact investment funds has quadrupled in two decades to over 200 funds with USD 228 billion invested, more than half of that in emerging markets, according to the Global Impact Investing Network. The phenomenon is spreading to mainstream investment funds as wealthy investors and philanthropists increasingly want their money to also have a positive social or environmental impact.

Impact investing is proving to be key for channelling new resources – primarily funding but also innovation, accountability and sustainability – towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For example, a GBP 10 million bond that funded a UK non-profit, Golden Lanes Housing, that has provided adapted housing and related services for around 1,500 people with learning disabilities was also able to return 4% interest to investors. In the developing world, investment firm Sarona Asset Management provides growth capital to small businesses in developing countries and frontier markets including Egypt, India, Nigeria and Tunisia.

The OECD report says 45 countries have adopted public instruments related to impact investing, with the European Union, United Kingdom, Malaysia and France leading the way, and 20 have adopted a legal definition for social enterprises.

It says governments should now do more to improve fiscal and regulatory incentives for impact investing and put in place the necessary legal structures for the market to function well. This could include updating financial and fiscal regulation, establishing reporting standards, and increasing flexibility into corporate legislation so that rather than having to identify as being a for-profit or a non-profit, companies can be hybrids.

Improved standards for social impact investment funds should lead to more effective impact investment by mainstream funds.

Download the report.


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Pact’s Impact Investment Group Inks Two New Corporate Partnerships As FY19 Kicks Off

After Investment In Amped Innovation, Pact Ventures Signs Strategic Partnership With Medical Diagnostics Start-Up MDaaS

PHOTO CREDIT: FINCA INTERNATIONAL/ALISON WRIGHT

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., USA | December 10, 2018 – Pact, an international, non-profit development organization, announced today that its newly revamped impact investment group, Pact Ventures (PV), has finalized its second corporate partnership since the start of fiscal year 2019.

The announcement came after an agreement with Nigeria-based MDaaS Global – a tech-enabled medical diagnostics company, specializing in imaging, cardiac, and laboratory services – to provide modern diagnostics services to Pact’s beneficiaries.

Brian Vo – VP, Social Investment and Innovative Financing – and PV team lead, noted that the partnership has the potential to be a game-changer for communities impacted by HIV.

“In Nigeria, and other countries where we work, one of our focus areas is on improving maternal, newborn, and child health and stopping the spread of HIV. This partnership, with an impact-oriented, private-sector partner, can help us increase the scale and impact of the work we do in-country by creating access to diagnostic services for our beneficiaries.”

Vo, who joined Pact earlier this year after careers in finance and management consulting, added that the MDaaS Global agreement is the second in a broader strategy of “tri-sector” partnerships Pact Ventures has pursued, aimed at engaging and leveraging the private sector to magnify the impact of Pact’s core development work.

Earlier this year, PV also made an investment in Amped Innovation, a designer and manufacturer of income-generating solutions and off-grid solar appliances. The investment came on the heels of Pact’s launch of ‘Energy for Prosperity,’ a platform to improve energy access through both donor-funded and private sector initiatives, and Smart Power Myanmar, an initiative to mobilize capital to roll out thousands of mini-grids and other rural electrification solutions in Myanmar.

“We are leveraging our Amped investment to distribute off-grid solar appliances to beneficiaries in places like Myanmar. In the process, we are shifting the paradigm of Pact’s relationship from donor-beneficiary to provider-customer. Marginalized communities must have a voice in what support they get. In addition to classic development, market-based development solutions give them that voice – they speak through how they spend their resources and where they invest in their communities. Across Pact, we are looking to create similar sustainable market forces to alleviate social need at scale.” said Vo.

Of their collaboration with Pact Ventures, Amped said, “It has been a pleasure to team up with the Pact Ventures team. They executed a smooth, fast diligence process with minimal burden on our end. Post-investment, they’ve been very proactive and helpful in creating synergies and collaborating on opportunities. Overall, they’ve been a different breed of impact investor and we’re excited to continue working together.”

For his part, Pact CEO Mark Viso welcomed the partnership as another important milestone in Pact’s on-going transformation into a ‘Fourth Sector’ organization – blurring lines between public, private, and social benefit while creating shared prosperity through market solutions.

“Pact Ventures was set up to help us stay ahead of emerging trends in blended financing and impact investing. Bringing together profiles less commonly seen in a classically USAID-funded development organization, we now have a team with high-performing backgrounds from the likes of McKinsey & Company, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and MBAs from top-tier programs. We’re coupling technical experience in investment banking, private equity, strategy, and social entrepreneurship with our classic approaches to development and policy to better understand the geographies we work in,” said Viso.

“We’ve brought this suite of expertise in-house to create market mechanisms that can listen and adapt to the voices of our beneficiaries in a way we could never before. Although an unusual pairing, Pact believes this combination of profiles is what is needed to solve complex development challenges, and we’re already seeing the results.“

“In the coming months, we are focused on three key goals,” said Brian Vo. “We want to identify and invest in promising social enterprises that augment Pact’s core capabilities. We want to explore and test innovative models to deliver impact in new and sustainable ways. Finally, we are looking to build shared-value relationships with private sector partners and invite anyone who is interested in learning more to reach out.”


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Kristin Frank Joins Cornerstone Capital Group Board of Directors

Press Release – NEW YORK, January 9, 2019Cornerstone Capital Group (“Cornerstone”), an SEC-registered investment advisor that pursues financial returns alongside social impact by incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysis into portfolio design, today announced the appointment of Kristin Frank to its Board of Directors. Frank, recently named President and Board Director at AdPredictive, a software company delivering the industry’s first outcomes-driven customer marketing intelligence platform, is a highly seasoned industry thought leader and transformational executive who brings with her more than 20 years of global business experience.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Kristin Frank joining our Board. Kristin’s exceptional leadership in the media industry, her deep expertise in digital media, and her innovative excellence in technology and distribution will add tremendous value to our organization,” said Erika Karp, Founder and CEO of Cornerstone. “At Cornerstone, as we strive to optimize both financial and social impact, we know that Kristin will set a high bar for the stewardship and scaling of the company.”

Frank has built, transformed, led and scaled successful businesses. Most recently, she served as Chief Operating Officer at MTV where she managed revenue, strategy, and operations for a $1.8B portfolio. She spearheaded the brand’s turnaround, brand reinvention, digital innovation, and market growth.

“I am honored to join Cornerstone’s Board of Directors and be part of its mission to integrate sustainable finance across the capital markets,” stated Frank. “This is an exciting time to join Cornerstone, as it continues to stand out by demonstrating an incredible commitment to impact investing and sustainability.”

Previously, Frank was EVP at Viacom Music and Entertainment Connected Content Division, where she doubled revenue by transforming consumer product, data, engineering and content. Prior to this position, Frank was General Manager for MTV and VH1 Digital where she doubled traffic to its digital platforms. She also acted as Chief Operating Officer of LOGO TV where she launched and built a powerful new media business.

Additionally, Frank serves on the Board of Directors of Brightcove (Nasdaq: BCOV), and Gaia (Nasdaq: GAIA). She also served on the Board of Gaiam and completed its sale to Sequential Brands in 2016. Frank was recognized by Variety as one of the most powerful women in cable and top women in digital.

About Cornerstone

Founded in 2013, Cornerstone Capital Group is a financial services firm based in New York. The mission of the firm is to optimize financial performance and social impact through rigorous research and the systematic integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into portfolio design. In offering investment advisory and strategic consulting services, Cornerstone works with individuals, family offices, foundations and endowments, corporations and other financial services providers, and promotes new research in the field of ESG analysis.


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US SIF Announces Election Of Four Board Members

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 9, 2019 – US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment today announced the election of four board directors. Directors also serve on the US SIF Foundation Board. US SIF’s 14-member board of directors provides strategic guidance to advance sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes.

The new board members are:

  • Kimberly Gluck, Managing Director and Member, Boston Trust Board of Directors
  • Aniket Shah, Head of Sustainable Investing, OppenheimerFunds
  • Kurt Summers, Treasurer, City of Chicago, and
  • Leslie Samuelrich, President, Green Century Capital Management, was elected to a second term.

Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF, said “I have had the opportunity to work closely with Kimberly, Aniket, Kurt and Leslie and know the tremendous value they will bring to the US SIF board, particularly as we begin to roll out our new Strategic Plan. I am honored to be able to work more closely with them.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Kimberly, Aniket and Kurt to the board and to have Leslie serve another term,” said Craig Metrick, US SIF Board Chair. “Their deep experience and specific areas of expertise will further advance the mission of US SIF and the rapidly expanding field of sustainable investing.”

“I also am deeply appreciative of the efforts of our outgoing board members. We’re grateful for their dedication and service,” said Metrick.

Departing from the board are Michelle Clayman of New Amsterdam Partners, Justin Conway of Calvert Impact Capital and Stephen Freedman, formerly with UBS. A full list of the US SIF board of directors can be found at ussif.org/board.

About US SIF

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Its mission is to rapidly shift investment practices toward sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, asset owners, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations and nonprofit associations. The 9th US SIF Annual Conference will take place from June 10-12, in Minneapolis, MN.

US SIF is supported in its work by the US SIF Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization that undertakes educational and research activities to advance the mission of US SIF, including offering training for advisors and other financial professionals on the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Impact Investment. Learn more at ussif.org.


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Social Impact Investing Is Growing in Importance Among New Generation of Advisors According to Financial Advisor Survey

New Generation of Advisors Looking For More Fixed Income ESG Options to Offer Their Conservative Clients

Press Release – BOCA RATON, FL – January 8, 2018 – Among a new generation of financial advisors, with 3 to 9 years of industry experience, nearly all (99%) of those who use individual bonds discuss social impact goals with their clients, which is almost 25% more than advisors with over 10 years of tenure, according to a new survey released by Incapital LLC, a leading underwriter and distributor of fixed income securities.

“This generation has had more access to information on social impact investing than any before them, so it is no surprise that millennials and the generation of advisors that serve them, are like-minded in their support of results-driven causes,” said Louise M. Herrle, Managing Director and Head of Incapital’s Legacy™ platform for distributing social impact investments. “They understand that they can achieve their clients’ financial goals with investments that reflect their personal values.”

A majority of surveyed advisors continued to use equity assets to achieve social impact goals, with fewer using fixed income options.

  1. Actively managed equity mutual funds: 44%
  2. Individual stocks: 35%
  3. Equity ETFs: 31%
  4. Fixed income actively managed mutual funds 30%
  5. Bonds: 29%
  6. Fixed income ETFs: 22%

Yet 58% of those advisors with 3 to 9 years of tenure agreed there are too many equity ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) options and not enough fixed income ESG options to show their more conservative investors. Only 34% of advisors with over 10 years of tenure agreed.

“Advisors are looking for options that best match their clients’ risk tolerance,” said Ms. Herrle. “Equity ESG funds may have too much risk for some conservative clients. Advisors are finding that social impact bonds — which do carry credit risk but also the benefits of income predictability, return of principal at maturity and declining interest rate risk as the maturity date approaches — can be utilized as part of a conservative income portfolio strategy.”

It’s important to understand that the risks for equity and bond funds differ from those of individual bonds. While multiple holdings within a fund can achieve issuer diversification, they are still subject to market risk. Individual bonds are subject to the credit risk of the issuer. If the issuer defaults, the coupon payments (predictable income) and principal could be at risk. Funds have strong liquidity, but it is important to note that individual bonds are intended to be held to maturity. If they are sold prior to maturity there may not be an active secondary market and the investor could receive less than the original investment.

About the Survey

The Incapital Financial Advisor survey was conducted by Q8 Research LLC using a quantitative online survey methodology. A total of 200 financial advisors across channels completed the survey during the period September 20 to October 1, 2018. It was conducted among a diverse set of respondents from various firms, including wire houses, regional dealers, independent dealers, as well as Banks and RIAs. The survey’s objective was to uncover insights about financial advisors’ perceptions and behaviors regarding fixed income investing, client asset allocations broadly, as well as looking specifically within the fixed income sector. All respondents have 3+ years tenure as a financial advisor and are involved in portfolio construction decision-making with their clients.

About Incapital

Incapital was founded in 1999 and today is a leading underwriter and distributor of securities to more than 800 broker-dealers, institutions, asset managers, RIAs and banks. The firm represents more than 300 issuing entities and has underwritten more than $470 billion in securities. The firm is headquartered in Chicago, IL and has a principal office in Boca Raton, FL. Further information is available at www.incapital.com.

Any financial product sold prior to maturity may be worth more or less than the original amount invested. Depending upon the specific product offering, investment risks include, but are not limited to, interest rate risk, credit risk, call risk and liquidity risk. Additionally, unless otherwise specified in the respective offering documentation, the product(s) discussed herein are not FDIC insured, may lose value, and are not bank guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Securities offered through Incapital LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Survey conducted by Q8 Research LLC, a full-service marketing research consultancy. Incapital LLC and Q8 Research LLC are not affiliated.


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SolarNow And SunFunder Announce $9M Debt Financing With Oikocredit And responsAbility

Kampala-based off-grid solar company SolarNow closes largest-yet receivables financing facility with SunFunder, Oikocredit and responsAbility

Press Release – The $9m facility is SolarNow’s third structured asset finance instrument, known as SAFI, arranged by SunFunder. It will enable the company to deploy 17,500 new off-grid solar systems to customers in Uganda, along with a range of appliances.

SolarNow CEO Willem Nolens commented: “This syndication and the SAFI structure allow us to minimize the fundraising burden and to focus on our business instead. By selecting the right clients and treating them well, our credit portfolio remains healthy and we create a strong foundation for sustainable growth.”

The new investment marks the 5th anniversary of SolarNow’s partnership with Nairobi-based SunFunder, and their debt facility together. It is also the second time that Oikocredit and a responsAbility-managed private debt fund have participated with SunFunder to finance the company, after a similar $6m syndication 14 months ago.

SunFunder’s Director of Investments Surabhi Visser commented: “We have just had our 5-year anniversary working with SolarNow, and this takes us to $19m in investments that we’ve arranged or made directly in the company. We are proud to have backed SolarNow’s growth delivering top quality solar systems and appliances throughout Uganda.”

The new systems will amount to around 2.5MW of new installed off-grid solar capacity, resulting in over 210,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided through displaced kerosene for lighting. Among the expected impacts, the company estimates that over 70,000 women will gain improved energy access in Uganda.

Oikocredit’s Renewable Energy Manager David ten Kroode commented: “We’re proud to support the continued growth of SolarNow. Their strategy of offering a wide range of solar products and services to energy-poor communities is perfectly aligned with Oikocredit’s mission to help alleviate poverty by improving access to energy.”

The SAFI product is a tailored receivables financing structure designed by SunFunder for solar companies deploying systems through pay-as-you-go and solar leasing models. SAFI finances their credit offerings directly, allowing them to reach more customers.

The facility is the third syndication arranged by SunFunder with responsAbility and Oikocredit, showing the ongoing importance of specialist origination and collaborative investments for emerging market solar. The three investors also worked on a multi-currency syndicated debt facility for PEG Africa in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

responsAbility’s Stefan Issler, Head of Direct Investments, Energy Debt Financing, added: “We were excited to see SolarNow’s successful growth ever since we teamed up with SunFunder to finance the company a little over a year ago and look forward to supporting SolarNow as a long-term financing partner.”

ABOUT SOLARNOW

SolarNow is a for profit social business which sells, finances and installs modular solar systems (50Wp to 20kW) and solar appliances (LED tubes, TVs, fridges, water pumps, flat irons, etc.) to households and businesses in East Africa. Through a network of 55 branches and 850 staff in Uganda and Kenya, the company provides last mile distribution, up to 2-year financing and 5-year free service to its clients. To date SolarNow has served more than 35,000 clients. Client repayment exceeds 97%, reflecting high client satisfaction and rigorous credit assessments and management.

ABOUT SUNFUNDER

Since 2012, SunFunder has provided over USD $58m debt financing to more than 40 solar borrowers in Africa and Asia, directly improving energy access for over 4.6 million people and mitigating 412,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. SunFunder raises capital through private debt offerings, and expects to reach first close on a new USD $85m fund in the coming weeks. The company exists to solve the financing bottleneck for off-grid and weak-grid solar, providing working capital loans, receivables financing and project financing to manufacturers, distributors, developers, installers and retailers that provide solar energy in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and India.

ABOUT OIKOCREDIT

Social impact investor and worldwide cooperative Oikocredit has over 40 years’ experience funding organisations active in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy. Oikocredit’s loans, equity investments and capacity building aim to enable people on low incomes in Africa, Asia and Latin America to sustainably improve their living standards. Oikocredit finances close to 700 partners in over 70 countries, with total outstanding capital of € 971 million (at 30 September 2018). For more information: www.oikocredit.coop.

ABOUT RESPONSABILTY INVESTMENTS AG

A leading asset manager for impact investments in emerging economies, responsAbility manages USD $3 bn of assets through a variety of investment vehicles that provide private debt and private equity to some 540 companies with inclusive business models across 90 countries. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, and has local offices in Bangkok, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lima, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo and Paris.

BACKGROUND

There are 1.2bn people in developing countries with no access to electricity, while another billion only have unreliable access. Solar power now offers an economic solution for people living off-grid in rural areas, providing lighting, mobile phone charging and even highly-efficient televisions and fridges. A new generation of solar companies have emerged to deploy these systems commercially, but many have struggled to access mainstream financing to fuel their growth.


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