The ImpactAssets team brings several decades of experience in impact investing, innovative financial services, philanthropy and wealth management.
ImpactAssets donors since 2016
What impact do you want to make?
We are facing climate and humanitarian crises, in a world that is organized around an extractive and exploitative economy. Our work is centered towards achieving a Just Transition to systems of governance and economy that benefit people and planet. This requires us to change not just what we fund, but who sits at the table and how we govern. To achieve this, we have been intentionally funding place-based projects on the ground that are rooted in local social movements and committed to building economic, social, and cultural power for impacted communities.
What has your impact journey included?
Our relationship with ImpactAssets has expanded over time. We have used different funds to accomplish different philanthropic goals as we learn and evolve. It has served as a home for a portion of our social impact investing on behalf of the Libra Foundation, and is now where Chris and I are directing our personal philanthropy.
The ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund allows us to be more creative. It helps increase our appetite for the right kind of risk and encourages experimentation. It’s a great way to deploy integrated capital. Investments in our ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund account often benefit from grants, as well. We are able to meet the actual capital needs of the projects we are funding, rather than being limited by silos between grants and loans. Applying an integrated capital approach is also a strategy to help "de-risk" projects (in the traditional sense of the word). For the projects we invest in, we want to make sure that the bulk of the risk sits on our side of the table.
What’s in your impact portfolio?
Several of our grantees and investees are part of ecosystems that support each other and intersect in different ways. One example is a grantee, Movement Generation. In addition to organizing and training around the Just Transition framework Movement Generation has participated in establishing a place-based cooperative loan fund in Richmond (Coop Richmond) that in turn is part of a network of loan funds anchored by the Working World, one of our investees.
We’ve recommended a number of Custom Investments through The ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund. One example whose work we’re inspired by is the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. At a time when opportunistic real estate funds are making bids to purchase mobile home parks, leading to financial burden and housing instability for the residents, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund has stepped in to support residents to work together to purchase their own properties as resident owned communities. In addition to a non-extractive loan, we also made a grant to support the overall capital stack that set the project up for success.
Why did you choose The ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund to make an impact?
ImpactAssets has been a partner that has helped give us the space and room to innovate. The ImpactAssets team has worked with us to ensure that we can move resources efficiently and expeditiously, through investments and grants, to support the folks on the ground who are making change possible. Everything we do has many people collaborating to make decisions and the platform has the flexibility to support that. It helps us focus on non-extractive finance, where we can focus more on impact and less on traditional expectations of return.
What’s next for your impact portfolio?
We are currently partnering with ImpactAssets and Candide Group to develop a loan fund focused on racial and economic justice that will hopefully be open to additional investors next year. A major priority is to support leadership from affected communities, so we are investing in projects led by women, people of color, black and indigenous people. These loans will focus on creating wealth- and power-building opportunities where we expect the value left in communities will be greater than anything we take out.
Words of advice?
Philanthropy should be in the business of investing in new models that democratize decision-making and ownership, and shift power and control to those who are most impacted by social, economic, and environmental harms. These are the people best positioned to lead us towards change and transformation.