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How the First Lady Helped Small Groceries Reduce ‘Food Deserts’ in California

Making the investment case for bringing healthy food to low-income communities was none other than the First Lady. And inner-city grocery businesses and their customers are benefitting in a big way. Michelle Obama announced the California FreshWorks fund in 2011, highlighting the need for financing inner-city grocery markets in order to bring affordable, healthy options

Will Women and Millennials Drive Social Investment Surge?

Younger investors and women are grabbing the attention of money managers as they start to move billions, even trillions, into social and environmentally responsible funds and companies. The broadest category of socially responsible investment — including, for example, mutual funds that screen out “negatives” such as alcohol and firearms — grew last year to $6.57

Sweet Deal: How One Company Found a New Way to Support Cacao Farmers

Improving the productivity and livelihoods of the more than 2.5 billion farmers around the world should be one of the biggest impact investment opportunities around. Yet, small-scale agriculture businesses, with their seasonal revenues and volatile prices, have generally been seen as too risky and troublesome for equity impact investors. Maya Mountain Cacao launched in Belize

EcoLogic: Packaging Sustainability

In the hierarchy of waste, “reduction” has the highest value, even above reuse, recycling and recovery. Julie Corbett launched EcoLogic Brands Inc. in 2008 with a driving goal: to reduce America’s rising pile of plastic. Six years later, the company’s “eco.bottle” is in stores carrying Seventh Generation’s 4x liquid laundry detergent, Bodylogix protein powder, and

‘Conservation Bonds’ Take Green Financing to the Next Level

ZURICH — Only around $50 billion is spent each year on the protection of nature around the globe. The lion’s share – around 80 percent, or $40 billion – comes from government budgets and philanthropy. Even if public and philanthropic investment levels were to more than double to $100 million per year, the level of

How One Investor Is Finding Profit in Social Change

Ron Cordes used to get patronizing pats on the head from the traditional financial advisors he once worked with. Now, many of his former colleagues are asking him to help them get smarter about impact investing. “They used to say, ‘That’s great, you’re solving the big problems. We’re just slogging away in the traditional investment

LeapFrog Investments: Insuring Families’ Rise out of Poverty

Trend-spotting is one of the key attributes of impact investors, and LeapFrog Investments spotted a big one: rising demand from emerging middle-class families for insurance against risks that threaten to plunge them back into poverty. LeapFrog Investments is a private equity investor in companies providing financial services for individuals earning between $1.25 and $10 a