Social Finance Round Up: The Pershing Square Foundation Grants $1.5M for Social Impact Bonds produces a weekly round up featuring social finance related news, insights, job openings, and events. We source the content for these round ups from Twitter, an RSS reader, and directly from our community of social finance practitioners. Below is our round up for the week of August 2, 2011.

Last Week on

Jo Reynolds posted Social Finance Round Up (Canada Special): Sustainable Investing Professional Certification on July 25, 2011

Stacey Corriveau posted Social Enterprise Legal Structure: Options and Prospects for a ‘Made in Canada’ Solution on July 27, 2011

Alex Kjorven posted Job Opportunity: Program Coordinator, ACCESS Community Capital Fund on July 28, 2011

Canadian and International News

The Pershing Square Foundation announced a three-year, $1.5 million grant to Social Finance, Inc (US) to introduce social impact bonds in the United States. Amy Tennery followed up with a profile of Bill Ackman, the activist investor behind Pershing Square Capital, terming the investment ‘a bit of a gamble’.

Big Society Capital Limited announced its first CEO, Nick O’Donohoe (formerly Global Head of Research at JP Morgan) and names its first board. The first investment, worth £1m, is for Private Equity Foundation to support disadvantaged young people.

Startup America launched a public-private partnership with Michigan Growth Capital Partners and Dow Chemical Company with an Impact Investment Fund that would invest up too $130 million in Michigan’s small businesses.

India’s oldest microfinance institution, Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Ltd. (popularly known as Basix) is on the verge of closure due to a controversial state law that restricts moneylender activity after reports of coercive recovery practices.

Martin Rich outlined his views on the current status and attitudes of different impact investor groups in a webinar at Social Finance UK. He also published an excellent blog post on 3-Dimensional Investing, an approach that encourages investors to think in terms of risk, financial reward and measurable impact.

Learning and Best Practices

Jed Emerson cautions against the misuse of the word ‘impact’ in impact investing and urges that we think about the movement in a more holistic manner.

Deidre Schmidt explains the similarities and differences between Social Impact Bonds (piloted in UK) and Human Capital Bonds (attracting interest in the United States).

Benedict Rickey heeds the lessons of the microfinance industry, which is under fire, and asks – what can social finance learn from microfinance? (New Philanthropy Capital)

After three sections of the American Bar Association planned to oppose the L3C legislation, Kyle Westaway penned a response to the criticism.

From the UN PRI to the Equator Principles, the standards meant to make investment decisions more sustainable are too weak to work, argues the IIED’s Emma Blackmore.

Jean-Luc Park argues that the lack of experience in and transactional cost of learning impact investing is a barrier in finding capital for social enterprise. (Aspen Institute)

Ashley Hamilton, sustainable investment consultant (and Writer at, believes that shareholder engagement is critical to companies adopting stronger social/environmental policies. (Axiom News)

Jonathan Lewis applauds the merger of SJF Institute and Investors’ Circle, terming it ‘one-stop shopping for social entrepreneurs’. (Social Edge)

John Bloom says that a reinterpretation of fiduciary stewardship, looking at more than fulfilling only material requirements, is required in order to remedy social issues in today’s economy. (RSF Social Finance)

Philip Rosenbloom highlights the importance of developing the ability to do not just compliance-based monitoring and reporting, but also strategic financial analysis. (Nonprofit Finance Fund)

Abigail Noble discussed the importance of helping social entrepreneurs learn about social investing and build good relationships with potential impact investors, using the success of the Schwab Foundation’s guidebook (PDF) as an example. (Stanford Social Innovation Review)

Martin Underwood shared four risks from the Peterborough SIB that we should all be aware of, based on the Young Foundation’s paper on social impact investment (PDF).

Cathy Clark, professor at Duke University, shares some insights and critical ideas emerging from the Impact Economy event at the White House in June. (Social Edge)

Upcoming Events

SOCAP 11: At the Intersection of Money and Meaning
September 6-9, 2011, Ft. Mason Centre, San Francisco

Workshop: Call for Participation:”Socially Responsible Investment and Canadian Extractive Industries”
September 10-11, 2011, University of British Columbia (UBC)

Impact Investing Summit
September 20-21, Washington D.C.

International Forum on the Social and Solidarity Economy (FIESS) (Program)
October 17-20, 2011, Palais des congres, Montreal

Did we miss any news, insights, or events? Use the comment form below to add to this round up. Photo credit:

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