Dealflow | February 18, 2020

Dealflow: Bezos’s $10 billion for climate, Inclusiv invests, India’s Clover raises, $19.5 million for UP Community Fund, New York pension’s big shift

The team at


Greetings! Here’s the latest impact investing deal news.

Jeff Bezos pledges $10 billion to fight climate change. Amazon’s founder will make grants to scientists, activists, nongovernmental organizations and “any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” His pledge follows a letter from Bill and Melinda Gates that their foundation is putting climate change at the top of the agenda (see, Gates Foundation to focus on climate change and gender equality).

Inclusiv makes first credit union investment from Southern Equity Fund. Nonprofit Inclusiv made a $5 million loan to Roanoke, Va.-based Freedom First Federal Credit Union. The investment is Inclusiv’s first from its $45 million Southern Equity Fund to capitalize credit unions in underserved parts of the southeastern U.S., particularly those serving communities of color. The fund, launched last September with backing from Kresge Foundationclosed in January. Investors include Bank of America, MetLife, National Cooperative Bank and Prudential Financial.

India’s Clover raises $5.5 million for greenhouse-grown produce. Resource-efficient and climate-resilient greenhouses are scoring big-ticket investments in the U.S. and Europe. Bangalore-based Clover takes a small farmer-centric approach to indoor farming, working with farmers already using greenhouses to help them streamline their operations and build stronger channels to market. The company secured Series A funding from impact agtech firm Omnivore, Accel and Mayfield.

Calvert Impact Capital and Urban Advisors clinch $19.5 million to back entrepreneurs of color. Calvert and Urban Advisors launched the UP Community Fund in 2018 to provide financial and technical assistance to under-represented entrepreneurs in the U.S. Southeast. The fund has raised $19.5 million and invested $7 million in 14 entrepreneurs, including six women.

New York pension shifts $800 million into responsible fixed-income funds. The New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third-largest pension fund in the U.S. with more than $200 billion in assets, invested in Avenue Capital’s private-credit Sustainable Solutions Fund; Nuveen Core Impact Bond Strategy; and the green-bond and affordable housing-focused Calvert Social Investment Fund, Bloomberg reports. The fixed-income investments are part of the climate-aware pension’s plan to shift $20 billion to sustainable and impact investments. New fixed-income and cash-based options are helping investors put more of their portfolios to work for social impact.