A New Year’s Impact Investing Reading List

The holidays are often the time of year when people are reflecting on their values and reviewing their philanthropic giving. At Impact Engine, we believe that in addition to philanthropy, impact investing is something that merits consideration this season. Impact investing is a great way to align your investment portfolio with your values, while also generating financial returns. So for those who want to brush up on impact investing and how it might fit into their 2016 New Year’s resolutions, we have curated a holiday reading list of articles and reports that cater to specific audiences.

For the Reader Short on Time The Case Foundation, founded by digital pioneers Steve and Jean Case, invests in people and ideas that can change the world. They have been pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to promote impact investing, which includes supporting the US policy agenda and providing education and resources to investors. Their “Short Guide to Impact Investing” is intended to be a basic primer that helps individuals better understand how business can drive social change and create social impact. While it runs about 40 pages, it is broken into short, compelling chapters that outline the what, where and why of impact investing. It also enables individuals to identify their impact investing “center of gravity” and where they might fit on the impact investing spectrum. Sprinkled throughout are bite-sized profiles of social impact companies that are working across a variety of geographies and sectors, which help bring some of the concepts discussed in the paper to life.

For the Small Foundation Arabella Advisors is an adviser that helps philanthropists and investors who are serious about impact achieve the greatest good with their resources. Together with Mission Investors Exchange and Exponent Philanthropy, they developed “Essentials of Impact Investing: A Guide for Small-Staffed Foundations”. As the title suggests, this guide is particularly useful for small foundations that face unique challenges in trying to start impact investing programs. They outline how small foundations can capitalize on their specialized knowledge in particular geographies and program areas to identify investments and co-investors. They present a number of case studies as well as actual tools related to diligencing, structuring, and monitoring investments.

For the Numbers Nerd The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is an industry association dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing. Earlier this year, they collaborated with investment adviser Cambridge Associates to produce the first comprehensive analysis of the financial performance of market rate private equity and venture capital impact investing funds. “Introducing the Impact Investing Benchmark” analyzes 51 funds that pursue a range of social impact objectives, operate across geographies and sectors, and were launched in vintage years 1998 to 2010. Spoiler alert: many of the impact funds outperformed their traditional peers.

For the Action-Oriented The World Economic Forum has long engaged the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Recently, they have turned their attention to impact investing, launching a Mainstreaming Impact Investing Initiative. “From Ideas to Practice, Pilots to Strategy: Practical Solutions and Actionable Insights on How to Do Impact Investing” disseminates the best practices and lessons they have learned from early adopters of impact investing. It then attempts to distill them into concrete action items for practitioners, whether they be investors who are just getting started, those who are looking to expand the scope of their impact investing, or intermediaries & policy makers.

If you still haven’t gotten your fill, GIIN keeps an up to date list of resources and research, which you can filter by geography, sector, or instrument. Happy reading!

Elizabeth-Coston-HeadshotSpecial thanks to Impact Engine’s Director of Operations and Investor Relations, Elizabeth Coston, for allowing us to re-post her blog!

ABOUT IMPACT ENGINE Impact Engine is an investment fund that empowers entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to make a positive impact on society. Through financial and human capital, we help for-profit businesses address the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges.

Impact Engine identifies promising, early stage, tech-enabled companies creating positive impact through a product or service that addresses a significant social or environmental challenge. We focus on high-potential entrepreneurs addressing large market opportunities with a business model that has potential for scale. We invest both financial and human capital through our network of highly experienced angel investors and mentors, many of whom have built successful businesses.

 

 

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