Lending for African Farming: Financing the Other 90 Percent of Smallholder Agriculture

Social lenders such as Root Capital have pioneered financing for smallholder producers of export crops like coffee, cocoa, and tea. Now, Root is seeking to help build agricultural businesses that serve local staple crop markets as well — a financing market that may be 10 times as big. Root, together with Germany’s KfW Development Bank and agriculture

Ecotrust Forest: Making the Math Work for Sustainable Timber in the Northwest

Ecotrust Forest Management has gone where most other sustainable timber funds fear to tread: the Pacific Northwest. The Portland-based investment manager has successfully closed a $52 million fund for the purchase and sustainable management of northwest forests with an approach it says can both benefit local communities and the environment and deliver market-rate returns for investors. The

Acelero Learning: Flexible Financing to Give Low-Income Kids a Head Start

When we last left Acelero Learning, the pioneering early childhood education provider was struggling to repay its early impact investors after the company’s Head Start programs generated impressive academic gains but modest returns. A year later, those investors are staying in and Acelero has an additional $30,000 each month to spend on expanding its services

Stasch at MacArthur: Watch This Space for Impact

There were some tantalizing nuggets in the press release from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Julia M. Stasch as its new president. Stasch, long-time practitioner and champion of the use of innovative financial tools for economic inclusion, effectively pre-announced “a soon-to-be-launched innovative effort to deliver useful capital for the social sector

Foundations Slow to Deploy Program-Related Investments

Philanthropic foundations have an under-utilized source of capital to make loans, loan guarantees and equity investments in social ventures. Since 1969, foundations have had the ability to use “program-related investments,” or PRIs, to invest in organizations that advance their “charitable purpose,” while earning a real financial return. The investments even count toward foundations’ legal requirement

New details of $25 million JP Morgan-Gates-Rockefeller African farm fund

The $25 million African Agricultural Capital Fund was billed as “first of its kind” when it was announced last year, but backers were a little hazy about exactly what it was the first of. A new case study of the five-party negotiations that led to the fund, issued by the Global Impact Investing Network, usefully