The Brief | October 22, 2019

The Brief: SOCAP cheat sheet, investing in Puget Sound, impact first at Global Partnerships, five impact tools

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Agents of Impact at SOCAP. Come talk innovative finance and catalytic capital, fueled by appetizers and cocktails and co-hosted by ImpactAlpha and the Rockefeller Foundation, Wednesday evening at The Firehouse at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Move the conversation forward with Rockefeller’s Adam Connaker, ImpactAlpha’s David Bank and Amy Cortese, and special Agents of Impact. RSVP now.

Dress for (impact) success. Wednesday also is the day to catch the eye of Maura Dilley and her team, who will be asking, “What values are you wearing?” for ImpactAlpha’s annual “Best Dressed at SOCAP” feature (here are the 2018 and 2017 editions).

After-party. Come have lunch with us to recap, follow up, plot plans and exchange contacts on all those good ideas you don’t quite remember from the night before. Bring your own lunch to meeting room No. 6 in the Festival Pavilion, noon, Thursday. Sign up.

Featured: ImpactAlpha Original

ImpactAlpha’s cheat sheet to 10 impact investing themes at SOCAP19. SOCAP is here and ImpactAlpha has you covered. All year long, we’ve been digging into the kinds of themes on display at this week’s Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco. We’ve assembled what to read, what not to miss and who to meet over the next few days. And if you can’t make it out to the Bay, this guide, SOCAP’s livestream, and our coverage will keep you in the loop.

Catalytic capital. Returns on inclusion. Opportunity Zones. Good jobs. Regenerating soil. Latin America. Indigenous impact. Creative economy. Refugee lens. Impact tech. Our opening salvo: “Impact washers” should fear real impact investors, not the other way around. Actually delivering impact is the only way to capture that impact alpha. Now that financial institutions and big-shot investors have put themselves on the hook for impact, demand is spiking for those that can actually deliver it.

Keep reading, “ImpactAlpha’s cheat sheet to 10 impact investing themes at SOCAP19,” by Dennis Price on ImpactAlpha.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Russell Family Foundation invests $6 million for Puget Sound vitality. Russell Family Foundation has pushed to align its investment portfolio with its philanthropic mission: improving the environmental and community health in the Puget Sound region. The Gig Harbor, Wash.-based foundation, which has $140 million in total assets, committed $3.8 million to StoneCastle, which has an impact-focused Federally Insured Cash Account designed to boost liquidity for community banks and credit unions in underserved areas. The foundation is investing $1.5 million for community-led property redevelopment in Tacoma’s gentrifying Hilltop neighborhood; $250,000 to convert a former University of Washington lab for future conservation and environmental programming; and $500,000 in Organically Grown, an Oregon produce distributor with a unique ownership model. The investments add to its already 75% mission-aligned portfolio. Check it out.

Global Partnerships taps catalytic capital for its Impact-First Development Fund. Global Partnerships is raising a fund to support lower-profitability products and services that commercial investors may ignore. To get private investors to back the Impact-First Development Fund, family office Ceniarth and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation committed $4 million in first-loss capital. Ceniarth and Kellogg helped Global Partnerships secure an additional $50 million from U.S. development finance institution OPIC, pushing the fund to a $55 million first close. “Creating opportunities for deeply underserved communities requires impact investment strategies that genuinely prioritize impact even when this means accepting more modest investor returns,” said Ceniarth’s Diane Isenberg. Global Partnerships is looking to raise up to $70 million for social enterprises tackling poverty through education, livelihoods, energy, water and healthcare access, sanitation, and housing. OPIC announced its intention to back the fund last year. More.

Techstars and Harlem Capital join forces to back diverse founders. Harlem Capital will help Techstars boost founder diversity in its accelerator programs. Techstars will stock Harlem’s deal pipeline. Private equity giants TPG and KKR struck similar deals with Harlem this year, as the investment firms seek to build out diversity strategies.

Signals: Ahead of the Curve

New tools for the diligent impact investor. We’re deep into conference season, which has surfaced a raft of new impact investing tools, resources and reports. ImpactAlpha rounded them up:

  • Creative economy. Upstart Co-Lab demystifies the creative economy for impact investors with three new deep dives on ethical fashion, sustainable food and social impact media.
  • Faith and investing. Morgan Stanley’s Jewish Values Tool Kit helps advisors guide clients in creating investment and strategic grant making portfolios that align with their Jewish values.
  • Impact due diligence. Pacific Community Ventures’ Impact Due Diligence Guide offers practical tips and guidance for developing and implementing impact due diligence approaches (see, “Assessing the expected impact of investments… before you make them).
  • Impact accountability. Aeris Insight’s Aeris Atlas helps asset managers and their investors collect, aggregate, analyze, and report impact and financial data. The firm’s Aeris Impact Management Assessments provide an independent evaluation of a fund manager’s impact management capacity.
  • Impact investing clubs. Invest for Better’s Invest for Better Circles toolkit offers an investment club model and toolkit for women impact investors. “This toolkit is a great guide for women to get organized around their impact investing journeys and to feel empowered to take action with conviction and intentionality with a trusted circle of colleagues,” said Justina Lai of Wetherby Asset Management, which is helping distribute the guide.
  • Share this post (and share your tool or resource with us at [email protected] and we’ll add it to the post).

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

The DFID IMPACT Programme is calling for concepts for impact investing products, tools and services that address system-level market barriers and increase capital to meet global goals in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia… Next Street launches Next Street Capital to help financial institutions serve small businesses and entrepreneurs… Living Cities seeks a chief operating officer in New York or Washington DC.

Thank you for reading.

– Oct. 22, 2019