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
Features
Series
Themes
Community
Data
Subscribe Log In
More

Special Agent of Impact: David Bank, ImpactAlpha



Editorial note: The ImpactAlpha team has hijacked this week’s “Agent of Impact” to pay tribute to our very own David Bank on his birthday.

ImpactAlpha, May 7 – The editor and CEO of ImpactAlpha decided to treat impact investing as a journalism “beat”… then it became one. 

“The new lords of finance come, not to bury capitalism, but to refine it,” Bank wrote back in 2012, when the ashes of the financial crisis were still smoldering. The Occupy movement had tarred Wall Street with a broad brush; financial innovation had earned a bad rep. Bank’s story in The Atlantic (and then later, the first post on ImpactAlpha) opened inside the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, with him struck by “statistical whiz kids” pitching “complex new bonds, loan-guarantees, and hybrid structures of debt and equity.” Their target wasn’t mortgages, he wrote. “It was women’s economic empowerment. It was energy efficiency improvements and ranch-land conservation. It was small businesses in Africa.” 

The Atlantic: How Financial Innovation Can Save The World

In a profession that prides itself on trend-spotting, Bank’s gift is calling them earlier than most. As a young muckraker at the Los Angeles Daily News and Mercury News, he put a human touch on local issues. Later at the Wall Street Journal, he narrated tech’s transformation of business as it upended notions of value, risk and opportunity. Bank founded ImpactAlpha to tell the story of how social and environmental “impact” would do the same.

Bank has grown ImpactAlpha from an occasional blog to an essential daily read (or listen) for professionals across the industry – from impact’s boldface names to its B-school beginners. Week in and week out, he challenges, critiques and champions the field, celebrating “agents of impact” while pushing them to think bigger and go bolder. Perhaps his ultimate motive: “Willing into existence, by sheer force of exhortation for the alpha in impact, the reversal of polarity of tens of trillions of dollars in assets,” he quipped recently. 

When the COVID crisis hit, sending towns into lockdown and markets tumbling, Bank willed a counter narrative: that COVID would provide the urgency to make progress on challenges like climate and inequality, rather than an excuse to abandon them. Bank led his team in charting the disruption, from OMG and Mobilization, to the Trillions in impact capital needed to respond and then usher in a sustainable and inclusive future. “This is history in the making,” he told his editorial team this week.

If we’re able to turn a global pandemic into a tipping point for inclusive prosperity, it will indeed be the story of a generation. We wouldn’t want any other Agent of Impact narrating it.

You might also like...