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The Brief’s Big Ten: BlackRock’s impact, off-grid finance, environmental risks and returns

Greetings, ImpactAlpha readers! #Featured: The Brief’s Big Ten BlackRock drops the impact bomb. Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest asset manager, sent a stern message to corporate executives: Demonstrate that you’re making positive social contributions or risk losing BlackRock’s backing. Fink’s warning could upend how businesses measure success, writes Ross Baird, chief executive of Village

First Step Staffing to offer workforce training in Philly

First Step is acquiring part of for-profit On Time Staffing. The Atlanta-based nonprofit provides support to people having trouble finding jobs. Financing for the deal comes from the Investors’ Circle consortium and includes loans from Nonprofit Finance Fund, Reinvestment Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. First Step also received grants from the

ImpactUs marketplace suspends operations

The online impact broker-dealer, which launched last year with backing from the Ford, Kellogg and MacArthur foundations and others, went offline just before the new year. “Unfortunately, we have had to make the difficult decision to cease operations,” said a notice on the ImpactUs website. The platform had offered investment in about a dozen ventures and community

Tata Trusts’ incubator gets $4.7 million for energy-startup lab

The objective of the Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship objective is to back high-risk startups that “no other investor will normally touch with a barge pole,” says founder Manoj Kumar. Funding for FISE’s Tata Smart Energy Incubation Center comes from Ratan Tata, former chairman of the Tata group of companies. It is the first of

Bezos donates $33 million to DACA scholarship fund

The Amazon CEO and his wife MacKenzie committed the funds to TheDream. US, a scholarship program for undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for federal student aid. Bezos’ contribution will pay for college for 1,000 “Dreamers.”

CBA Capital invests in three Indian edtech ventures

The Bangalore-based investment firm is backing Simulanis, Kopykitab and Buddy4Study with $2.4 million. Its Education Catalyst Fund invests in edtech startups serving low-income Indian households, Inc24 reports. Simulanis provides corporate training programs via virtual reality. Kopykitab creates digital textbooks. Buddy4Study helps students apply online for scholarships. Dell Foundation, Gray Matters Capital and private Indian investors are

Diligent Robotics snags $2.1 million for hospital bot

Impact Tech Seed funding came from True Ventures, Pathbreaker Ventures and others PC: States face significant shortages of skilled nurses. Austin-based Diligent is building robots to handle menial hospital tasks and “help nurses make full use of their specialized skills,” says Diligent Robotics’s Andrea Thomaz. A pilot project will focus on acute care patients. Seed funding came