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The Brief

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Voting in South Africa
May 29, 2024 | Jessica Pothering and ImpactAlpha

Greetings, Agents of Impact! The next edition of our specialty newsletter, ImpactAlpha Latin America, drops today. As an  ImpactAlpha subscriber, you get the

Today’s brief

Featured: Climate on the Ballot

Mexico chooses a new president amid extreme heat – and little urgency on climate action. Mexico’s vote on Sunday will grab headlines for the election of the country’s first female president. Less prominent will be the climate crisis facing the country, even amid raging wildfires, extreme heat, and a water crisis in the country’s largest city. Neither of the women leading the polls, Claudia Sheinbaum of the leftist governing party and Xóchitl Gálvez of the center-right opposition coalition, have made climate policy plans and ambitions central to their campaigns. Mexico counts as a laggard on climate action in both Latin America and the G20 group of large economies (Mexico has the 12th largest economy in the world and second largest in Latin America). Climate Action Tracker ranks Mexico’s climate policies and goals as “critically insufficient.” Without a leader committed to climate action, “we will hardly be able to get on the path to compliance,” warned Sandra Guzmán of the Climate Finance Group for Latin America and the Caribbean. “This is the most important six-year period to achieve climate goals.”

Dealflow: Catalytic Capital

Robert Wood Johnson doubles its impact investing mandate with $325 million commitment. New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation more than doubled its impact investing target, bringing its total impact allocation to $625 million. The $13 billion foundation said it aims to attract an additional $1 billion from banks, commercial lenders, insurance companies, private investors and other foundations by the end of next year to advance health equity, specifically in communities affected by structural racism. That includes investing in drivers of social determinants of health, wealth and wellbeing, such as equitable homeownership models and minority-led community development finance institutions (see RWJF's Zoila Jennings’ guest post, “Changing how capital flows through communities to improve health”). “For us, it’s not about the transaction. It’s about what the transaction represents along the pathway to system-level change,” RWJF’s Kimberlee Cornett told ImpactAlpha. “We’re very intentional about that. We take financial risks when the opportunity for social impact warrants it.” (Disclosure: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports ImpactAlpha’s coverage of Muni Impact.) 

Impact Voices: LP/GP

How Vox Capital diversified across asset classes to meet impact investor demand. Some 70% of impact investments in Latin America are concentrated in private equity. Across the world, that number is more like 20%. “This shows not only the need but also the opportunity of diversification in Brazil,” and across Latin America, argue Daniel Izzo and Daniel Brandão of São Paulo-based Vox Capital, one of Brazil’s earliest impact asset managers. In a guest post on ImpactAlpha, Izzo and Brandão detail Vox’s evolution from a VC-only firm. Vox now manages seven venture funds totaling around $200 million in assets. In 2021, the firm launched a fixed-income fund (currently managing $10 million) that invests in high-grade bonds of Brazilian public companies contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. This year, Vox established a foothold in nature-based solutions when it structured a $10 million bond for sustainable livestock after a regenerative agriculture fund failed to gain traction with investors. By integrating asset classes, Vox “helps investors achieve their impact goals while mitigating market fluctuations,” the partners write.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Maty Ndiaye, previously with Admaius Capital Partners, joins Mediterrania Capital Partners as its West Africa managing partner… BlackRock is hiring a climate finance partnerships director in New York… Also in New York, Nuveen Green Capital has an opening for a strategic finance associate director, and New York Community Trust is looking for a program officer… Hamilton Lane is looking for an impact vice president in Philadelphia. 

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