Social Finance Round Up: MaRS Announces Funding for Centre for Impact Investing, GIIRS Launches

SocialFinance.ca 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 October 3, 2011.

Last Week on SocialFinance.ca

David LePage posted Partnering to Create Social Value: Capital One Canada and Enterprising Nonprofits on September 21, 2011

Timothy Jack Nash posted $2.4 Trillion in Green Investment Since 2007 on September 23, 2011

Betsy Martin posted Workshop on Mission-Related and Impact Investing on September 23, 2011

Michele F. Gartner posted The Privilege of Doing Good on September 27, 2011

Jo Reynolds posted International models in finance and development at fiess2011 on September 28, 2011

Geraldine Cahill posted MaRS to Launch Centre for Impact Investing: Press Release on September 29, 2011

Geraldine Cahill posted Impact investing gets Canadian home base on September 30, 2011

Canadian and International News

MaRS announced that it was awarded $1.3m by Rockefeller Foundation and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation to launch the Centre For Impact Investing. The Centre will act as a national hub that will increase awareness for and effectiveness of social finance to catalyze new capital, talent, and initiatives dedicated to tackling social and environmental problems in Canada. Geraldine Cahill provided an overview of impact investing to accompany the press release, while the Globe and Mail also published a report.

The Clinton Global Initiative took place two weeks ago, headlined by the announcement of 194 new commitments valued at $6.2 billion and the launch of GIIRS (more below). Helen Brosnan and Thomas Kostigen reported on the event, while HotFrog CEO Laurie Lane-Zucker made a strong call for leadership from ‘the Global Impact Elite’. Jonathan Lewis, however, had some constructive criticism to offer: “we can and must learn from well-intended mistakes”.

 B Lab announced, at the Clinton Global Initiative, the launch of GIIRS Ratings & Analytics, the world’s first ratings and analytics platform for impact investing. B Lab also announced the commitment of 15 GIIRS Pioneer Investors (with $1.5b in impact assets) who declare an investment preference for GIIRS-rated funds and companies. Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, explains how GIIRS can be used to create a greater positive social impact through strategic investments. Andrew Kassoy, another co-founder of B Lab, described the launch, predicting that ‘in five years, there will be thousands of GIIRS-rated companies and hundreds of GIIRS-rated private equity and venture funds.’ Theresa Bradely did the same for the Christian Science Monitor, highlighting that the launch of GIIRS may herald greater acceptance of impact investing in mainstream finance as social impact can be measured. However, challenges do exist.

Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada announced that it would be closing its doors due to resource constraints. SocialFinance.ca wishes the team well and applauds the great work done to promote social entrepreneurship in the country!

Jonathan Greenblatt, who served as chief executive of the company that oversees GOOD magazine and helped create All for Good, an online volunteer database, has been named the new director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

The 25 winners of the Big Venture Challenge (run by UK social enterprise foundation UnLtd) were recently announced, receiving £25,000 to grow their businesses. The judges chose on the basis of each venture’s potential to grow its impact, the viability of its business model and the abilities of its management team. Of the 25 successful ventures announced, ten will receive a second round of £50,000, with a final two that demonstrate the fastest growth receiving an additional third round of £100,000. See the full list.

An interesting opportunity; Bill Conway, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, is taking public suggestions to find out what the best use of his philanthropic giving (estimated to be at least $1 billion) is. Email inquiries@carlyle.com if you have a great suggestion.

Paul Smith reports on two new interesting renewable energy investment opportunities, open to the public: Spark Your Power in Alberta and the Dutch company Wind Centrale.

The International Finance Corporation released a new report on inclusive business, titled Accelerating Inclusive Business Opportunities. The report identifies seven business models that expand access to goods, services and opportunities to the bottom of the pyramid. Read the entire report on Scribd.

The United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investing recently published its annual Report on Progress (download PDF) and found that while integration of environmental, social, and corporate governance factors remains limited as a proportion of the global market, it is growing steadily and important progress has been made.

A coalition of institutions led by Aviva Investors, called on United Nations’ member states to develop a global policy framework that requires listed and large private companies to integrate sustainability information throughout their annual report and accounts – or explain why they are unable to do so.

Fairware, a promotional design agency in Vancouver specializing in custom branded sustainable products, recently became a member of the B Corporation community.

Root Cause held a breakfast session with Dr. Jeffrey Liebman discussing social impact bonds; the Nonprofit Finance Fund liveblogged the event, while you can relive it through Youtube here.

Project Frog, a start-up that designs and builds prefabricated sustainable buildings, announced a $22 million investment round led by GE.

The government of Andhra Pradesh, India (which has seen the greatest issues arising in microfinance after reports of coercive practices) has launched a cooperative microfinance bank for self-help groups, providing an alternative source of micro-loans.

 

Learnings

Cathy Clark interviewed Jed Emerson and Antony Bugg-Levine on their new book and the relationship between social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

Vanessa Lu wrote a report on Slow Money in the Toronto Star, profiling a number of uses of social finance principles in Ontario.

Saket Mundra of Toronto for Acumen presented patient capital as an alternative to current solutions for poverty alleviation that are not having the desired impact: “With slightly longer time horizons, modest financial returns and significant social advancement, patient capital can be an effective tool in poverty alleviation.”

David LePage published an article on the growth of social enterprise in British Columbia, highlighting the role of grants from the government as well as foundations, as well as the importance of conferences. This excellent article provides a good model for growing social enterprise in various jurisdictions and can be downloaded in full here [PDF].

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship recently released an updated version of their Social Investment Manual, combined with a number of recommendations for building the impact investing marketplace in Canada. Abigail Noble has more details.

Amy Cortese, the author of Locavesting, writes in the New York Times about the Obama administration’s proposal to support crowdfunding and increase access to capital for entrepreneurs. Alex Howard also covered the bill for the Atlantic, highlighting how entrepreneurs are using Kickstarter to raise financing.

Charles Cameron brings up a tough question for discussion on Social Edge – is it wrong for a nonprofit to transition into a for-profit model? Does incorporation represent a betrayal of the community that supported the nonprofit? Fascinating discussion.

Bryan Farris argues that “the allure of making money off of doing good has resulted in a high percentage of funds pursuing returns first, impact second.”

David Bank, reporting from SOCAP, looks to the future and sees a day when integrating social and environmental impact into financial activity will become the default. Also see this fantastic presentation on the full markets spectrum by Brian Walsh, going from charity to for-profit.

Josh Cleveland provides three insights on creating real, scalable impact from Kevin Starr of the Mulago Foundation – have a well defined mission, measure appropriately, and then match the mission and the measurement.

Nicole Skibola profiles the Pipeline Fellowship, which trains women to become angel investors for social enterprises.

A good overview of impact investing – difference from ROI, need for impact assessments, growth potential, and the role of personal interests by Reynard Loki.

Howard Buffet, the grandson of leading investor Warren Buffet, plans to use private sector principles to disrupt philanthropy for the better.

Securitisation could be a viable financing mechanism for solar rooftop projects in the US, but rating agencies are still struggling with how to assess these deals, according to financing experts.

Shilpa Kannan wonders whether impact investing could help India’s poor.

Events

2011 Social Enterprise Conference at Columbia University
October 7, 2920 Broadway, Uris Hall, New York

ClearlySo Social Business Conference 2011
October 11, LSO St. Luke’s, 161 Old Street, London

Slow Money – 3rd National Gathering
October 12-14, 2011, San Francisco

Social Business and Microcredit Forum
October 17, 2011 – Georgia Tech Robert Ferst Center

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

Global Microcredit Summit 2011
November 14-17, 2011 – Valladolid, Spain

The Corporate and Community Social Responsibility Conference
November 15, 2011, Algonquin College, Ottawa

EVPA Conference 2011: Venture Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Societal Change
16-17 November, Turin, Italy

Enterprising Spirit: Creating Value and Social Good
November 17th, 2011, Delta Bow Valley Hotel, Calgary

Jobs

Cause and Affect is hiring a Director of Strategic Partnerships to advance their rapidly growing portfolio.

Root Capital has a number of exciting opportunities available; head over to their Employment page for more details.

Echoing Green is looking to hire three new positions: Online Community Manager, Social Investment Council Manager, and Development and Fundraising Assistant.

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