ImpactAlpha Open | November 15, 2022

ImpactAlpha Open: ESG after the midterms + muni impact

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

TGIT, Agents of Impact! Welcome to this week’s ImpactAlpha Open. Three quick announcements

🎮 Impact: The video game. ImpactAlpha has partnered with E-Line Media and the Ford Foundation to explore the potential of a mobile social game aimed at Millennial and Gen Z retail investors, now in their teens, 20s and 30s. Help us flesh out the intriguing possibilities in this brief survey.

👋 Last chance to RSVP. Join Public Finance Initiative’s Lourdes GermánMarjorie Henning of New York City Comptroller’s Office, Rob Fernandez of Breckinridge Capital Advisors, and Kimberlee Cornett of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for ImpactAlpha’s Agents of Impact Call, “Optimizing muni bonds for racial equity,” tomorrow, Nov. 16 at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. Join us. (Open to all)

🤝 Partner with us, including by sponsoring this newsletter. Get in touch.

In this week’s newsletter:

  • ESG after the midterms;
  • Racial equity in municipal bonds;
  • Elevating Indigenous climate leadership; and
  • The state of boomer-owned small business.

Ok, here’s the week in impact. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Policy corner. The absence of a “red wave” in this week’s U.S. elections won’t end the coordinated attacks on “woke capitalism” and ESG investing. But GOP senators may not get the hearings they want on ESG “collusion,” asImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese reports
  • COP27 watch. Agents of Impact inside COP27 moved discussions of “loss and damages” to pledgesAkintunde Babatunde reports from the summit in Egypt. 

    • U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is getting creative with philanthropic partners to mobilize private investment for climate funds. 
    • Resilience Capital Ventures’ Gillian Marcelle is bringing together public and private investors to attract climate-transition capital to the Bahamas and other island nations. (Open)
    • Investors like Mercy Corps Ventures are determined to make Web3 and blockchain technologies work for the climate-vulnerable, the firm’s Scott Onder writes for ImpactAlpha. (Open)
  • Muni impact. Cities that issue hundreds of billions of dollars in municipal bonds each year are identifying how the proceeds address longstanding racial inequities, I reported this week.
    • Market shapers like Lourdes Germán are looking at “bond banks” and other instruments to steer the $4 trillion municipal bond market toward racial equity, reports Andrea Riquier
    • Join “Optimizing muni bonds for racial equity,” tomorrow, Nov. 16 at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. RSVP today.

  • Data for impact. Inclusive fintechs in emerging markets are leveraging data to help small businesses weather the economic downturn, ImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering reports.

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Agents of Impact

🌱 Sheena Brown, Decolonizing Wealth Project: Elevating Indigenous leadership

The climate crisis has galvanized attention on Indigenous communities. Sheena Brown, who directs resource mobilization at the Decolonizing Wealth Project, is seizing the moment to fund and empower Indigenous-led organizations that are building sustainable food systems, protecting land, water and natural resources, and restoring community health and dignity.

🏃🏿‍♀️ On the move

  • Ben Jealous, ex- of NAACP and Kapor Capital, is named executive director of Sierra Club.
  • Georgia Levenson Keohane, ex- of New York City Impact Partnership, will join the Soros Economic Development Fund as CEO.
  • James Pippim, ex- of Skoll Foundation, joins the Candide Group as senior associate of the firm’s climate justice fund.

Impact Briefing

🎧 On this week’s podcast

Ceres’ Steven Rothstein joins host Brian Walsh to chart the road ahead after the midterm election in the U.S. and the COP27 global climate summit in Egypt. Plus, the headlines.

Deal Spotlight

💰 Oversubscribed impact funds

In a challenging year for raising capital, impact funds are bucking the trend. Impact-focused climate funds from large private equity firms like Brookfield and Lightrock, for example, have been oversubscribed. San Diego-based private equity impact investor HCAP Partners in September raised $353 million for a good jobs fund. HCAP said the fund exceeded its initial fundraising target by over 40%. Women-owned venture impact firm Urban Innovation in August raised $121 million for a smart cities fund. 

  • The latest. Washington, D.C.-based impact fund manager Quona Capital last week raised $332 million for its third financial inclusion fund. Separately, Colorado-based VoLo Earth raised $90 million for its debut early-stage climate tech fund. The firm says demand from investors, including Credit Suisse’s Climate Innovation Fund, enabled it to blow past its initial $50 million target.
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Six Signals

👩🏽‍🦱🧑🏼‍🦱👨🏾‍🦲👩🏻‍🦰 Returns on inclusion. Illumen Capital: Bias reduction to unlock impact and returns. (Stanford GSB case study)

💼 Golden opportunity. The state of boomer-owned small business. (Small Business Trends)

📈 Impact data. Al Gore helped launch a global emissions tracker that keeps big polluters honest. (NPR)

 Policy corner. France to require all large parking lots to be covered by solar panels. (Electrek)

👷🏾‍♀️ Climate workforce. “If you’re transparent about impacts of climate change, more people would care about them,” Taj Eldridge of Include Ventures and JFFLabs says on the “Growing green jobs” episode of Horizons. (Jobs for the Future, video)

📚 Recommended reads. Five climate books to read for COP27. (Carnegie Endowment)

Get in the Game 

💼 Step up

  • Kiva seeks a remote vice president of business development.
  • Equality Fund seeks a remote vice president for its investment program in Ottawa.
  • Azolla Ventures is recruiting a principal in San Francisco and an investment analyst in Cambridge, Mass.

🤝 Meet up

  • BlocPower’s Donnel Baird and ChargerHelp’s Kameale Terry will join Canary Media’s virtual panel on accelerating Black leadership in climate tech, Wednesday, Nov. 16.
  • Common Future’s Rodney Foxworth, Lafayette Square’s Damien Dwin, Builders Initiative’s Bruce McNamer and Cecilia Muñoz of Kresge and MacArthur Foundations will join Janis Bowdler of U.S. Department of Treasury and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler to discuss the future of impact investing at the Mission Investors Exchange national conference, Dec. 5-7 in Baltimore. MIE members can register here

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