TGIF, Agents of Impact! We’ll be off Monday and back in your inboxes Tuesday, April 11.
🗣️ In good faith. This week’s convergence of Ramadan, Easter and Passover occurs only about every 33 years. In addition to the seasonal metaphors of rebirth and renewal, the overlapping holidays mark a shared commitment to those who are suffering – from modern-day slavery, from hunger, from ever-more-frequent “natural” disasters. The growing ranks of faith-based investors share those concerns as well. A portion of the £100 million ($125 million) the Church of England has allocated to address its own involvement in the slave trade will flow to impact funds targeting communities affected by the legacy of slavery, as Dennis Price reports. Impact investing more broadly puts faith in communities closest to the problems to craft their own solutions. Such hope is not utopian or fantastical, but a practical skill that, as Amanda Ripley notes in the Washington Post, “helps people reject the status quo and visualize a better way.”
Optimism nurtures new shoots as they break into the sunshine. This month’s Liist focuses on impact funds currently raising capital to restore land and marine ecosystems, as Jessica Pothering and Roodgally Senatus detail (Earth Day, perhaps the world’s largest secular observance, is two weeks out). Agents of Impact like Chante Harris are focused on creating channels for local project developers in the U.S. to access historic federal funding for climate solutions. Impact lenders for diverse-led businesses, such as Founders First Capital Partners, Apis & Heritage and New Majority Capital, are stepping forward to fill the gap left by Silicon Valley Bank, as Founders First’s Tracy Fuga writes in a guest post. The nonprofit Native Women Lead is experimenting with capital structures to empower and elevate Indigenous women in business (see Deal Spotlight, below). Impact fund manager NESsT is helping create livelihoods for Ukrainians who have taken refuge in Poland and Romania, as Roodgally reports.
Hope was on display at the Turner Miint student competition in Philadelphia, where judges, including ImpactAlpha contributing editors Monique Aiken and Brian Walsh, fielded investment pitches from student teams competing to outperform on impact (hear their takeaways on this week’s Impact Briefing). The talent and fresh ideas of students and other Agents of Impact are recharging impact investing and renewing legacy financial structures. We’re off Monday to replenish our own reserves. Whatever your faith, we wish you a restorative and hopeful holiday weekend. – Amy Cortese
More this week on ImpactAlpha:
- “Get ready: ESG critics are coming for ‘S’ issues,” by Fran Seegull of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance.
- “Mass migration, stranded communities and chronic climate disruptions challenge the muni market,” by Andrea Riquier.
- “Move over Blackrock, Vanguard is the new target for climate activists,” by Amy Cortese.
The Week’s Impact Briefing
🎧 On this week’s podcast. Turner Miint’s Adwoa Asare joins co-hosts Monique Aiken and Brian Walsh to talk about training the next generation of impact investors – and the winners of this year’s MBA Impact Investing Network and Training competition. Plus the headlines.
- Listen to this week’s episode, and follow all of ImpactAlpha’s podcasts on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.
The Week’s Dealflow
Deal spotlight: For female fund managers, catalytic grants are about more than money. The many varieties of catalytic capital share a common purpose: to spur investments in people, places and things that legacy investors otherwise deem too novel, too longterm or just too risky. For first-time fund managers—particularly women—the catalyzing goes beyond the capital. “Those types of investments and support make it a lot easier on movement-builders to dream and do,” says Jaime Gloshay of Native Women Lead, an Albuquerque-based nonprofit that seeks to empower and elevate Native women in business. The organization this week secured $650,000 from Comcast to support its Matriarch Revolutionary Fund, a flexible lending facility to support 200 Indigenous women-led businesses.
Indigenous women-owned businesses employed more than 61,000 people and generated $11 billion in revenues last year. Limited access to capital means nearly 70% are entirely self-funded, Gloshay says. Since 2020, the organization has been experimenting with funding models—and underwriting criteria—to bridge the funding gap. The grant from Comcast will cover the fund’s infrastructure costs and help launch an apprenticeship and investment-readiness program for 10 businesses. “By the end of this year, we’re hoping to see 10 Indigenous women-led businesses in impact funds,” says Gloshay. “I often work at the intersection of financial trauma and scarcity,” she adds. “These types of catalytic funding are helpful not just for our capacity, but for our grace.”
- Credibility boost. In South Africa, Linea Capital provides revenue-based financing to local women-led and -centered businesses. A grant from USAID that covers operating expenses and a first-loss capital reserve gave Linea a credibility boost with other investors, Linea’s Julia Price tells ImpactAlpha. Likewise, a USAID grant helped Amam Ventures in Jordan validate its fund design and cover advisory and legal costs. “We’re first-time fund managers,” says Amam’s Tamara Abdel-Jabar. “Having a sounding-board has been very helpful.”
- De-risking. ReFED’s catalytic grant fund backed seven consumer food-waste solutions. Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs will use a $5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to catalyze $30 million in loans for underserved entrepreneurs in Atlanta.
- Share this post.
Agrifood investing. Agri-Business Capital Fund invested in four African food processing businesses… South Africa-based Maltento, a company that breeds insects for sustainable protein, raised $788,000.
Climate tech. Bidra Innovation Ventures raised $200 million to invest in ventures addressing climate impacts in food and agriculture… Equator raised $40 million for early-stage startups enabling Africa’s climate-resilient economic growth… San Francisco-based Ecosapiens raised $3.5 million for its marketplace that trades carbon credit-backed NFTs… Svante raised $15 million to capture carbon dioxide emissions and convert them to aviation fuel.
Economic inclusion. NESsT will support up to 15 social enterprises to create good jobs for refugees… Bangalore-based Avanti Finance closed a $24 million to ramp up credit and financial services for India’s smallholder farmers… Renew Capital backed Uganda’s Xente and Wazi Vision… South Africa-based affordable energy and internet provider Yellow secured funding from Triple Jump.
Energy transition. Investors target home energy efficiency in Europe… Paris-based Effy secured €20 million to provide energy retrofits for homeowners in France… Equator Energy was bought by IBL Group and impact fund Stoa… Decentral Energy Managers scored $12.1 million for clean energy in South Africa… Oil giant BP and Morgan Stanley’s India Infrastructure group invested $22 million in India-based e-logistics company Magenta Mobility… Cowboy Clean Fuels snagged $7.5 million to produce renewable natural gas from agrifood waste.
Green materials. The IFC originated its first loan for green-materials manufacturing in Africa, committing €120 million to Sococim Industries to make lower-carbon cement in Senegal… Evoco, a Toronto-based manufacturer of plant-based, sustainable materials, raised C$12 million.
Waste-to-value. Waste-to-energy company Covanta is acquiring Circon Holdings, a New Jersey-based sustainable waste management company.
The Week’s Talent
Cindy McCain, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, was named executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme… Former Georgia state representative Stacey Abrams became the inaugural Ronald W. Walters endowed chair for race and politics at Howard University.
Rachel Curley, a former democracy advocate at Public Citizen, joined US SIF as director of policy and programs… Boston Common Asset Management’s Steven Heim won the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility’s 2023 Legacy Award… Zineb Bennani, Mirova’s global head of business development, will become CEO of Mirova U.S. in May.
The Week’s Jobs
Franklin Templeton seeks a sustainable investments research analyst… Sunwealth is hiring a senior project finance associate… Capricorn Investment Group is recruiting an investment analyst… Morgan Stanley seeks a digital product manager for its sustainable investing and wealth management group… Acre is hiring a senior research consultant for financial services and ESG… Citi is looking for an assistant vice president and sustainable finance metrics reporting analyst.
Goldman Sachs Asset Management is hiring a vice president for its sustainable investing group… Ford Foundation is looking for a mission investments technology fellow… The Global Impact Investing Network is recruiting an investors’ council and leadership initiatives director, a partnerships management and donor relations associate director, a climate solutions director, and a membership associate and corporate impact investing associate.
Other U.S. locations
Reinvestment Fund is on the hunt for a chief financial officer in Philadelphia… Also in Philadelphia, Shift Capital is hiring an operations assistant… Energy Impact Partners is looking for an impact and sustainability associate in Washington, D.C… Prime Buchholz is looking for an investment analyst in Boston. Also in Boston, Social Finance has openings for an associate director and an impact investments director.
Kapor Capital seeks an investor associate and principal in Oakland… Prologis has an opening for a merger and acquisitions manager for global energy and mobility in San Francisco… The Packard Foundation is hiring a mission investing analyst and a racial justice director in Los Altos, Calif… Health Forward Foundation is on the hunt for an impact strategist… Carbon removal nonprofit Terraset seeks an executive director… Enterprise Community Partners is looking for an investment communications manager.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is recruiting a U.K.-based circular economy reporting and disclosure specialist… Acumen seeks a program associate for its Acumen Academy in London… Gold Standard is recruiting a sustainable finance and innovation officer in Geneva… ResponsAbility is recruiting an impact investing finance intern in Zurich… Swedfund is looking for an impact analyst in Stockholm… ARCHIMED is on the hunt for a sustainability and impact associate in Lyon, France.
Other global locations
Transition VC is hiring a startup ecosystem manager for an energy transition accelerator in Bangalore… New Story seeks an impact investment director in Mexico City… Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund is recruiting an investment associate for sustainable investing in Toronto.
The DFC seeks an impact management and monitoring specialist for climate… As You Sow is hiring a private equity coordinator… Indigo is looking for a product marketing director for its carbon and sustainability programs… The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is looking for a remote strategy analyst… Responsible Innovation Labs is looking for an executive director.
That’s a wrap. Have a wonderful weekend.
– April 7, 2022