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Uneasy Blend of Investor Expectations: Five Ways to Build Better Capital Stacks

I recently sat around a table of investors charged with finalizing the structure of a global impact fund. I couldn’t help but hear the contradictions that laced the discussion. One public investor had a mandate to “catalyze private capital” but was unable to accept any terms considered subordinate to other investors. Another investor wouldn’t be able

As Colorado River Runs Dry, Impact Investors Seek Water Solutions

The Colorado River, which supplies water to 35 million people and four million acres of irrigated agriculture across seven states (plus two in Mexico), is running dry after 15 years of drought. That’s both a problem and an opportunity for impact investors. A new report lays out a menu of approaches through which private capital

Financing the Sustainable Development Goals with ‘Blended Capital’

Here’s the latest trillion dollar question: How to finance the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations on Friday? The new set of 17 goals for 2030, known as the SDGs, build on the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, that were adopted in 2000 and ran through this year. The 169 specific targets

Small Foundations Are Embracing Impact Investing

Paperwork and bureaucracy aren’t just pains in the backside of everyone working at every small business or smaller nonprofit. They’re also barriers to entry — for new people, new ideas and even new sources of capital. Crowdfunding might help level the playing field, but even that has a new set of challenges and limitations. When

Climate Exposure: Reading the Signals for Investment Risks and Returns

There’s a term emerging for the investment risks and opportunities ushered in by a changing climate: climate exposure. A new report from the Climate Policy Initiative, a nonprofit thinktank founded in 2009 with support from financier George Soros, and Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer, surveys the landscape of

VilCap Investments: New $13.2M Fund Doubles Down on Peer-Selected Investments

Village Capital has relied on peer selection to build one of the most productive accelerator programs in the impact investing marketplace. In six years, “Vilcap” has launched more than 35 accelerator programs on five continents, investing $2 million in 55 early-stage companies. Entrepreneurs chose every investment. Now Ross Baird, Village Capital’s executive director, is taking

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