There’s a reason ImpactAlpha has been publishing so many stories on Philadelphia, even beyond the fact that our own Dennis Price and his family moved back last year.
We’ve been tracking locally-driven economic revival across the U.S.; Philly is testing approaches also taking hold elsewhere. Can local institutions and impact investors effectively direct capital to entrepreneurs and other agents of impact and change urban dynamics of economic dislocation, income inequality and racial division?
That question will be center-stage this week at Total Impact, the first outing for a new conference series from the Good Capital Project. The two-day fest in Philadelphia aims specifically to show financial advisors that impact investing offers an appealing and accessible edge, especially with women and millennial clients. Good Capital (which also owns the fall SOCAP conference in San Francisco) teamed with ImpactPHL, Philly’s new impact-investing consortium. ImpactAlpha is the event’s media sponsor.
The conference kicks off as Philadelphia takes its turn in the media glare, after two black men were arrested while waiting for a meeting at a local Starbucks. The city’s rifts have not been erased by a 21st-century economic revival and strong job growth. Poverty persists, especially along racial lines.
The challenge for those looking to accelerate impact investing broadly, and for Philadelphia’s homegrown investors, goes even beyond increasing the flow of “good capital” into zip codes where it doesn’t usually flow. Total impact requires new models of neighborhood regeneration and inclusive prosperity in which everyone is welcome.
More of ImpactAlpha’s Philadelphia coverage:
Philadelphia’s poised for another championship: Civic revival and inclusive prosperity
The challenge for Philadelphia is turning elements of a 21st-century revival into a shared vision of economic might and competitive strengths that distinguishes Philadelphia on the global stage. Story alone won’t make that happen, but it’s certainly a critical part of the equation. (Full story)
MetLife anchors Reinvestment Fund’s Clean Energy Fund
The insurance company invested $10 million in the Philadelphia-based community development finance institution’s new loan fund for small to mid-size clean energy projects. Buildings are responsible for almost 40% of US greenhouse gas emissions. “The Clean Energy Fund will accelerate the availability of energy focused improvements for smaller- and mid-sized projects that represent so much of the built environment around us,” says MetLife’s Matt Sheedy. (Full story)
Philadelphia Eagles: Angry birds? Nah, hungry birds.
Add NFL world champion to the list of small, esteem-boosting, wins that has America’s first capital rising again. Nationally, the city finds itself rising on lists of leading startups cities, tech and social enterprise ecosystem, and fast growing cities for millennials and immigrants. Earlier this year, Philadelphia was short-listed for Amazon’s new headquarters. (Full story)
Margaret Bradley: Turning Philadelphia institutions into impact investors
Margaret Bradley is on a mission to make Philadelphia “the center of the impact investment universe.” Bradley cut her at teeth at The Reinvestment Fund, one of the nation’s top community finance institutions. Now with Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a regional economic development fund, she’s charged with deploying $15 million into Philly startups tackling education, health, other social and environmental challenges. (Full story)
First Step Staffing to offer workforce training in Philly
First Step, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that provides support to people having trouble finding jobs, acquired part of for-profit On Time Staffing. The Philadelphia expansion is the firm’s first outside of Atlanta. Financing for the deal came from the Investors’ Circle consortium and includes loans from Nonprofit Finance Fund, Reinvestment Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. (Full story)
Philadelphia rings the bell on a 21st-century revival
Almost 250 years ago, Philadelphia incubated a world-changing startup: the United States of America. The rest is, well…history. Now, Philadelphia is incubating a locally-driven, 21st century revival that could become a model for other post-industrial U.S. cities. To reverse inequality and boost livelihoods, city and community innovators, along with local entrepreneurs and investors, are leveraging Philadelphia’s assets and building out the city’s civic, impact investing and entrepreneurial ecosystems. (Full story)
Philadelphia leaders commit $15 million to one-stop investor for social startups
Rather than approach investors separately, social startups in Philadelphia can go directly to ImpactPHL Ventures, a new initiative from ImpactPHL, the year-old impact investing advocacy collective, and managed by Ben Franklyn Technology Partners, a regional economic-development investment manager. The new funding will be used to back Philadelphia-based startups focusing on social, environmental and health issues with about $300,000 each. (Full story)
Reinvestment Fund backs solar project for Philadelphia Navy Yard
Reinvestment Fund, a Philadelphia-based community-development finance institution, is providing $1.1 million in debt to construct a two-phase rooftop-solar project at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. It’s being touted as the first community solar project in Pennsylvania, and one of only 25 in the U.S. (Full story)
The Reinvestment Fund tests the public bond market’s appetite for social impact
For decades, Don Hinkle-Brown has fantasized about having access to the public markets to raise capital for childcare centers and charter schools, grocery stores and health clinics, energy efficiency upgrades and small businesses in low-income communities. Now, he does, in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Hinkle-Brown is CEO of The Reinvestment Fund, based in Philadelphia (and a GSG Honors awardee), which raised $50 million with one of the first public bond offerings by a so-called community development finance institution. (Full story)