Small logo Subscribe to leading news on impact investing. Learn More
The Brief Originals Dealflow Signals The Impact Alpha Impact Voices Podcasts Agents of Impact Open
What's Next Capital on the Frontier Measure Better Investing in Racial Equity Beyond Trade-offs Impact en las Americas New Revivalists
Local and Inclusive Climate Finance Catalytic Capital Frontier Finance Best Practices Geographies
Slack Agent of Impact Calls Events Contribute
The Archive ImpactSpace The Accelerator Selection Tool Network Map
About Us FAQ Calendar Pricing and Payment Policy Privacy Policy Terms of Service Agreement Contact Us
Locavesting Entrepreneurship Gender Smart Return on Inclusion Good Jobs Creative economy Opportunity Zones Investing in place Housing New Schooled Well Being People on the Move Faith and investing Inclusive Fintech
Clean Energy Farmer Finance Soil Wealth Conservation Finance Financing Fish
Innovative Finance
Personal Finance Impact Management
Africa Asia Europe Latin America Middle East Oceania/Australia China Canada India United Kingdom United States
Subscribe Log In

RSF’s New Funds for Soil Health, Biodynamic Ag, Fair Trade and Women-Led Businesses

Philanthropic funders are working to close the funding gap for social startups with a new mix of flexible investment tools. RSF Social Finance, for example, plans to launch four new funds focused on fair trade, biodynamics, soil health, and women.

The new funds are modeled after RSF’s Local Initiatives Fund, which was launched in 2012 to test an integrated approach to financing early-stage enterprises operating in local and regional U.S. food systems.During the two-year pilot RSF deployed $2 million through its Local Initiatives Fund to 40 early-stage sustainable food companies, which have leveraged $10 million in additional funding.

“That project proved to us that providing a tailored mix of different types of capital can help early-stage social enterprises deliver on their missions,” wrote RSF President and CEO Don Shaffer in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

For each new fund, RSF will raise philanthropic capital, which it can deploy as loans, loan guarantees, equity investments, and grants in a coordinated mix of capital that meets the funding needs of early-stage companies.

“Social enterprises think about growth as a way to serve their mission, not as an end in itself,” writes Shaffer, an editorial contributor to ImpactAlpha.

“They may intend to remain rooted in a community and serve as a model to others, for example, rather than pursue rapid and far-reaching expansion. Or they may need a longer runway to build a supply chain or other systems, because they can’t just plug into an existing infrastructure that’s part of the problem they’re seeking to address.”

Shaffer says the new Biodynamic Fund and Soil Health Fund grew out of regenerative agriculture advocates’ search for the next step beyond organic. The Women’s Fund is intended to serve women-led social enterprises. The new Fair Trade Fund will make loans to supplier that can’t access appropriate funding from other source.

As the funds are repaid, RSF aims to recycle about two-thirds of the money it deploys into new financing.

You might also like...