Media Development Investment Fund: Banking on a Free Press

The Media Development Loan Fund began making equity investments more than 15 years ago. Last year, it finally changed its name to Media Development Investment Fund. The new name also better reflects the broader approach of the “media bank.” It takes more than financing to create strong, independent media companies in chaotic political and social environments.

Revolution Foods: Healthy Food for Healthier Students

Kristin Richmond and Kirsten Tobey faced a fundamental design constraint when they launched Revolution Foods on the site of a former McDonald’s near Oakland, Calif.: About $3 for each lunch served. The UC Berkeley Haas Business School graduates were designing a line of healthy, nutritionally balanced meals for California’s primary and secondary school students, and

Greyston Bakery: A Social Enterprise That Tastes Good and Does Good

Little did you know but that pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream you polished off last night helped create jobs for people who face barriers to employment in a struggling section of Yonkers, outside New York City. Ben & Jerry’s sources its brownies from Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, which turns out

How ‘Happy Family’ Became Healthy Baby-Food Pioneers

Shazi Visram and Jessica Rolph launched Happy Family on Mothers’ Day in 2006 with the mission of making organic, nutrient-rich baby food widely available and affordable. Now mothers themselves, Visram and Rolph gave a Mothers’ Day present to investors last year: the announcement that Happy Family was being acquired by French food giant Danone, reportedly,

Gram Vaani: Social Networks for the Global Poor

Unfinished health care clinics and schools being completed across India. Widows of deceased migrant workers receiving their due compensation. Farmers accessing information to increase productivity. Fishermen sharing weather information. India’s poor are finding a voice—or more accurately, a social media platform to share it—on Mobile Vaani, the largest voice-based social media platform in the world. Mobile

Beartooth Capital: Conserving Wide Open Spaces

Western ranches present iconic American images of cowboys and cattle, homes on the range and purple mountains majesty. Those images have been fading for decades, as the West’s wide open spaces have been degraded, encroached and subdivided. Now, investors in Western ranches are finding another way to make money: conservation. Beartooth Capital, based in Bozeman,

Progreso Financiero: Banking on the Unbanked

Payday lenders, who sometimes charge more than 400 percent in annual interest, are a big fat juicy target for a new breed of mission-driven financial institutions. Short-term payday loans and other “alternative” financial services, such as check-cashing and money transfers, cater to the one-quarter of U.S. households that don’t have bank accounts. The 68 million