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Lowered Risks Means Higher Returns for Agriculture Investors in Frontier Markets

There is an old Portuguese saying that you cannot expect the sun to shine on the threshing floor while it rains in the turnip fields. Some would apply the saying to impact investing to argue investments can’t simultaneously deliver market-rate returns and measurable social impact. The harder investors pursue social goals in sectors where commercial

Gates Foundation Gears Up to Blend Capital for Global Development

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is adding talent to create innovative financing structures for what it calls a “critical juncture” for international development. Nick O’Donohoe, most recently the head of Big Society Capital in the UK, will join the world’s largest private foundation in January as senior adviser for blended finance. The new UN-backed sustainable development goals, aimed at ending poverty

On the Road to COP21, New Funds Shift the Risks of Climate Investing

As the risks of failing to invest in responses to climate change become clear, pension funds and other big private investors are taking advantage of innovative financing mechanisms to move forward with hundreds of millions of dollars to fund climate solutions. As next month’s pivotal climate conference in Paris approaches, the commitments to the new “climate funds” represent

Convergence Seeks to Blend Public and Private Investment for Global Development

The world is awash in money for sustainable development. Not the relatively few billions in public-sector foreign aid or philanthropy — the $218 trillion private capital market.  A new matchmaking platform aims to help leverage the former to get at the latter by facilitating so-called “blended” capital structures to increase the flow of development capital to developing countries. The

Lessons from Packard Foundation’s $750 Million in Mission Investments

As more foundations start to deploy impact investments to accomplish their philanthropic goals, some pioneers in the field of mission investing are sharing their hard-earned lessons to perhaps boost the confidence of recent adopters. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, for example, with a $180 million mandate for impact investments, has released an outside analysis,“Mission

Lending for African Farming

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 impact

Packard Foundation: $15M in Debt Capital to Scale Solar ‘Beyond the Grid’

Equity gets the glory, but sometimes it’s debt that gets the job done. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation this week committed $15 million to Simpa Networks, SunFunder, and Off-Grid Electric, which each finance access to clean energy “beyond the grid” in east Africa, India and other emerging markets. The so-called program-related investments will be