Small logo Subscribe to leading news on impact investing. Learn More
The Brief Originals Dealflow Signals The Impact Alpha Impact Voices Podcasts Agents of Impact Open
What's Next Capital on the Frontier Measure Better Investing in Racial Equity Beyond Trade-offs Impact en las Americas New Revivalists
Local and Inclusive Climate Finance Catalytic Capital Frontier Finance Best Practices Geographies
Slack Agent of Impact Calls Events Contribute
The Archive ImpactSpace The Accelerator Selection Tool Network Map
About Us FAQ Calendar Pricing and Payment Policy Privacy Policy Terms of Service Agreement Contact Us
Locavesting Entrepreneurship Gender Smart Return on Inclusion Good Jobs Creative economy Opportunity Zones Investing in place Housing New Schooled Well Being People on the Move Faith and investing Inclusive Fintech
Clean Energy Farmer Finance Soil Wealth Conservation Finance Financing Fish
Innovative Finance
Personal Finance Impact Management
Africa Asia Europe Latin America Middle East Oceania/Australia China Canada India United Kingdom United States
Subscribe Log In

Agent of Impact: John O’Shaughnessy, Franciscan Sisters of Mary

ImpactAlpha, Oct. 11 – John O’Shaughnessy walked away from his first Social Capital Markets, or SOCAP, conference with a sense of shared values with impact investors in attendance. “This was our community, faith-based or not,” he told ImpactAlpha. “It didn’t, quite frankly, matter.”

O’Shaughnessy, for more than 25 years the CEO and CFO of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, saw impact investing as a way for the congregation to extend its ministries beyond direct health services in St. Louis. O’Shaughnessy enlisted Imprint Capital (since acquired by Goldman Sachs) and moved 15% of the Sisters’ total assets into more than two dozen clean energy and agriculture impact funds and other impact investments. He directed another 63% of the portfolio toward ESG, or environmental, social and governance, strategies in public equities. The Sisters recently put another 5% of assets into Morgan Stanley’s Climate Solutions Fund.

Catholic institutions pledge to increase impact investments in climate action and social equity

“Women religious are far and away the early leaders in the space because they are generally open to the ‘new’ and willing to let go of the old and empty,” he says.

What was missing at SOCAP and other gatherings, O’Shaughnessy realized, were peers. “Something’s going on here,” he thought, “and the Catholic community seems to be unaware.” Over dinners In St. Louis, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, O’Shaughnessy spread the impact investing gospel, so to speak.

This week, O’Shaughnessy announced in London that six U.S.-based Catholic institutions, with a combined $40 billion in assets, have issued a “Catholic impact investing pledge,” committing more of their capital to the twin crises of climate change and social inequity.

Catholic institutions that cede full authority over their investment programs—including financial and missional elements—to their investment committees and outside consultants are stuck in the old and empty,” he wrote in an email from London. “For the Catholic investing community to produce positive impacts in the world that will amount to more than a hill of beans, leaders of Catholic institutions need to follow the example of their progressive sisters.”

You might also like...