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

New Index Tests ‘Climate Leadership’ as a Market Signal

A new index of public equities is designed to reward “climate leaders” and punish “climate laggards” while perhaps delivering outperformance for investors as well. Etho Capital‘s Climate Leadership Index (ECLI) is designed to meet the criteria of the fossil-fuel divestment movement by screening out oil, coal and natural gas companies. It also screens out companies with generally

UK Youth Employment Social Impact Bond Hits Payout Milestones

Investors who backed a  pay-for-success program in London have been alerted that the “success” part has panned out. The “social impact bond,” or SIB, raised £900,000 ($1.4 million) to boost at-risk youth employment. It was backed by UK’s Department for Work and Pensions. Now that the program has met its outcomes targets required, the agency

Sonen Capital: Put Foundation Endowments to Work for ‘Total Impact’

At Sonen Capital, we believe that capital markets can and should help solve the world’s pressing environmental and social issues, while at the same time delivering market-based financial performance. For foundations in particular, impact-oriented investment portfolios have enormous potential to amplify philanthropic programming and grant making. Too frequently foundations invest at cross-purposes by investing their corpus

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

Counterpoint: ‘Market-Rate’ Funds Should be Benchmarked to Impact, Too

A basket of impact investment funds measured solely for their impressive social and environmental returns would justifiably prompt the question, “How did they perform financially?” So it is with two reports this year that analyzed data from investment funds and found that, at least in some categories, they matched or outperformed a comparable set of ‘normal’

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