An ‘impact-first’ approach to climate justice in rural communities. Capital is flowing for commercial climate financing, from cleantech to renewables. For climate justice, not so much. The world’s poorest and most marginalized communities will bear a disproportionate burden from the climate crisis. Businesses and non-governmental organizations with proven solutions around land stewardship, agricultural adaptation and reliable electricity for vulnerable communities struggle to find growth capital that is suited to their work. Such investments require an "impact-first" mix of grant subsidies and patient, low cost capital, say Vince Knowles and Greg Neichin of Ceniarth, a family office with roughly $400 million in assets. Ceniarth has direct investments in 27 enterprises and about $28 million in capital deployed in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as fund investments that address climate justice. “We fundamentally believe that climate solutions should proactively benefit the people most directly affected by this harsh reality,” Knowles and Neichin write in a guest post on ImpactAlpha. “Farmers can only think long term if they have a secure claim to their land and access to finance that allows long-term investment.”
Dealflow: Follow the Money
Bain Capital raises $800 million for second Double Impact fund. The Boston-based private equity firm raised more than double the amount of its first impact fund (see, “What we know about Bain Capital’s $390 million Double Impact Fund”). International investors committed 25% of the fund, while Bain’s own employees committed $75 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bain’s Todd Cook acknowledged to the WSJ that pandemic-related shutdowns slowed fundraising. The fund’s thesis will mirror that of the first Double Impact fund, seeking to scale companies advancing environmental sustainability, health and wellness, and workforce development and education.
Signals: Ahead of the Curve
Grassroots groups are mobilizing communities to take racial justice from protest to progress. With $30 million in grants to 60 local and national racial justice organizations, Kresge Foundation is seeking to harness the power of this year’s protests for legal, policy and economic change. “It’s not for us to invent, but to encourage greater coherence and integration so it adds up to more than a year of protest in the streets,” Kresge’s Rip Rapson told ImpactAlpha. Rapson ticked off the need for training, leadership development, communications savvy, research, policy and organizing. “All of the traditions of community mobilizing are moving into a different phase. The superstructure of public policy has to take account of these energies.”
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
Lara Metcalf, ex- of Social Entrepreneurs Fund, joins The Engine as chief financial officer and chief operating officer… Phil Kirshman, ex- of Cornerstone Capital Group, joins Syntrinsic as chief investment officer… Paulina Stannard, ex- of Family Office Exchange, joins Align Impact as director of client service… Jennifer Nuzzo of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and AIRnyc’s Shoshanah Brown join the advisory board of Stop the Spread… Eat Beyond appoints Don Robinson, former CEO of Mars Canada, to chairman of the board… Unreasonable Group is looking for a coordinator of initiatives, community and investments in New York… Align Impact seeks a client service associate in New York or Santa Monica, Calif.
“It’s a great time for new entrants, but for those of us who’ve been doing this for a while it is equally urgent to raise our game right and to not get complacent,” said Margot Brandenburg of the Ford Foundation.
Host Monique Aiken recaps this week’s Agents of Impact Call on gender-smart investing and we go to South Africa to follow up with Secha Capital’s Kuhle Mnisi and Wukina’s Maureen Sibanda, this week’s Agents of Impact.