An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers


An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2022 PROFILE

UNICEF USA Impact Fund
for Children

Total Assets Under Management: $50 – 99M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 3 – Good Health & Well-Being
Global Health

Firm Overview

Category: Private Debt - Non-profit/NGO Finance

In partnership with UNICEF, the Impact Fund for Children exists to expand the continuum of financing that is at work for children, in multiple forms, to protect children's rights, help meet their basic needs and expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. The Impact Fund provides working and flexible capital to UNICEF to support and enable its work for vulnerable children, driving toward long-term, sustainable outcomes. Over 10 years, it has managed 2 pooled debt funds (1 active today), deployed over $450M+ to UNICEF with zero write-offs or defaults, reached over 1 billion children in over 50 countries, and is actively seeking to expand its product offerings.  Our current offering, the Bridge Fund, was launched to fast-track lifesaving assistance around the world when time matters most and has become a key partner of UNICEF in the fight to end the global pandemic. Time matters, especially in a pandemic.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$50 – 99M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 50% – 99%
Investment Thesis:

The Impact Fund develops financial solutions to help UNICEF deliver effective and sustainable programs for children and their families. The Bridge Fund helps UNICEF deliver money more quickly to where it is needed most, when it is needed most. 

Investment Overview:

We believe truly scalable, long-term impact will only be accomplished when we move beyond philanthropy alone by tapping into the multi-trillion dollar capital markets on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children, which can save children’s lives, maximize the full impact of philanthropy, transform markets and scale purpose-driven businesses. As our primary offering, the Bridge Fund fast-tracks life-saving funding to the field, on average, four months sooner than otherwise would have been available. This allows UNICEF to have more impact by, for example, accelerating vaccine procurement to complete immunization campaigns before children contract deadly diseases, providing uninterrupted access to educational programing and delivering supplies before school starts, and fast-tracking emergency relief to families just days after an emergency This was seen most recently as funding was deployed to Haiti following the deadly earthquake and Afghanistan as 1M children are at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition.

Company Differentiator:

Our key differentiation is our connection to UNICEF’s programmatic scale, scope and expertise globally including programming in 190 countries and strong government partnerships. UNICEF has a unique ability to engage concurrently at multiple levels - global, regional, country and local - supporting collaborative and innovative solutions in a diverse range of national contexts. Through this network, in FY21 alone, the Bridge Fund accelerated $93.3M of capital to over 50 countries, across 5 SDGs, driving child outcomes for health, education, safe water, and equity and inclusion against a diverse set of global funders including multi-laterals and government budgets.  The Impact Fund has a unique opportunity to drive progress toward the SDGs in partnership with UNICEF. We will capitalize on UNICEF’s global networks of foundations, governments and high-net worth individuals, its in-country community engagement and advocacy, and its role as market shaper as the UN’s leading procurement agent for supplies for children. 

Investment Example

In May 2021, a severe COVID-19 outbreak spread across India with more than 3 cases per second and nearly 3 deaths per minute at the height of the surge. In response, the Bridge Fund accelerated $6.3 million to India by one month to ensure that oxygen treatment was made available to up to 5,000 people. At a time of limited resources, this was life-saving support to help patients breathe that otherwise would not have been available. In addition, bridge funding also ensured that protective gear, such as triple-layered masks and face shields, were available to frontline healthcare workers treating infected patients. The Bridge Fund was replenished, in full, with fundraising proceeds of a campaign that occurred over a month’s time.  The Bridge Fund will continue to be a key partner to UNICEF as it works around the clock to end the global pandemic.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Impact Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Cristina Shapiro – President, UNICEF USA Impact Fund for Children More Info

Cristina Shapiro, a Mexico City native, joined as the President of the Impact Fund for Children in March 2020 after nine years at Goldman Sachs leading key strategic impact initiatives such as 10,000 Small Businesses Access to Capital, 10,000 Women, disaster response loans after Hurricane Sandy and Harvey, and social impact bonds. In her role in the Urban Investment Group, Shapiro sourced and underwrote over $250M in double bottom line loans to support small business owners unable to access funding from traditional markets or sources. Shapiro also managed the Goldman Sachs Foundation’s partnership with the International Finance Corporation that launched the first ever global facility for women entrepreneurs. Goldman provided the concessionary funds used to provide a first loss to incentivize banks in emerging markets to lend to more women.

Erin Egan – Managing Director, UNICEF USA Impact Fund For Children More Info

Mission-oriented leader with 10+ years of experience spanning both public and private sectors with a passion for driving social change. Deep knowledge and experience in Finance, including Sustainable and Impact Investing, Operations and Development. Specialized skills include: risk management, systems building, due diligence, portfolio management, grant writing and non-profit fundraising.

Shahriar Shahida – UNICEF USA Impact Fund for Children Board of Directors, Chairman of the Boa More Info

Experienced Chief Investment Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the investment management industry. Skilled in Portfolio Management, Investment Management, Hedge Funds, Distressed Debt, and Asset Management. Strong finance professional with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in International Business from The George Washington University.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as people of color:*
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as people of color:*
25% to less than 50%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Near-market Rates
Actual Performance of Impact Products/Funds Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Increasing access to healthcare services and improving health
Increasing access to water and sanitation
Other: Increasing efficiency of emergency response after disasters
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Alleviating poverty
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Health services
Education services

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

The Bridge Fund provides accelerated funding for UNICEF's programs, many of which utilize a results-based approach. Under this framework, UNICEF's country programs are structured around results and outcomes and funds are directed to have the largest long-term social impact on the lives of children. The Bridge Fund's investment evaluation is also in line with UNICEF's focus on equity and inclusion, which means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. 

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

The Bridge Fund provides funding to UNICEF and other UNICEF-approved NGOs. In this practice, we strongly consider the business and programs of these entities before providing funding. UNICEF’s mission is to advocate for the protection of children's rights, help meet their basic needs and expand their opportunities. UNICEF’s five core business values, care, respect, integrity, trust and accountability, build its internal culture. UNICEF is dedicated to environmental sustainability in its own operations. It is working to transform how and where it works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact, and has established a dedicated internal fund to support this. UNICEF is implementing solutions to reduce its environmental footprint in 70+ offices worldwide, with energy efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and cooling systems, water efficient fixtures, solar water heating and energy systems, and more. An increasing number of offices are running on solar power, including in Jordan, Zimbabwe, India and Haiti.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Impact Verified by an Independent Third-Party:
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to investors and donors
Third Party Validations:
Member of Impact Capital Managers
Impact Frontiers Cohort Participant
Implement recommendations from Task Force on Climate Related-Financial Disclosure
Net Zero Assets Managers Initiative
Utilizes standardized impact metrics (e.g. IRIS+, GIIRS, etc.)
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Erin Egan
Phone: 212-922-2571
Mailing Address:

125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038 USA

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