APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
In order to effectively address both a lack of awareness about impact investing and uncertainty about where and how to initiate these kinds of investments, the Global Impact 50 will bring together both philanthropic and financial stakeholders to select and advance the firms deploying impact capital in the most effective ways.
The Global Impact 50 will be the first published 'index' of leading impact investment managers. The purpose of the index is to aggregate information. At inception, the index will allow investors to be introduced to and evaluate the top players in the field across a spectrum of securities, issue areas, and geographies. Eventually, it could serve as a benchmark for performance as the industry matures and impact managers begin to develop track records that can be used to create performance benchmarks.
The composition and number of managers included in the index launch will be determined through the research and selection process based on those firms meeting the published index criteria. The Global Impact 50 will have an Advisory Council and Review Panel of recognized leaders in social enterprise, impact investment, and capital markets who will determine the criteria and evaluate the candidates. The Council is currently being assembled and will be a panel of experts using criteria that reflect financial and social impact performance.
The Global Impact 50 will be viewed as the key resource by wealth managers and financial advisors to:
- become informed and educated about the field of impact investing;
- engage with and conduct research on leading impact investment managers (using the tools provided through the Global Impact 50 website); and
- access a broad array of impact investment products, including individual and multi-manager funds, equity, and debt offerings, spanning the entire landscape of issue areas and geography.
The Global Impact 50 will be the first initiative from the partners (Giving Assets, and Calvert and Cordes Foundations) to deliver a comprehensive impact investment platform to wealth managers, financial advisors, and the institutions and service providers with whom they engage to manage their client portfolios.
This platform, currently code-named 'ImpactAssets' pending the outcome of a branding review now underway, will include both field-building tools for the impact investment sector and the development and management of impact investment vehicles and products. It will be formally launched in 1Q 2011 to coincide with the launch of the Global Impact 50 as outlined below.
The people and organizations behind Global Impact 50 (listed below) represent a unique combination of recognized leaders in the social capital, impact investment, and wealth management arenas, and will be leveraging their considerable reputations, experience, infrastructure, and contacts to build and grow the platform.
Cordes Foundation (CGI Member Organization) ) - The Cordes Foundation was founded in 2006 by Ron and Marty Cordes with the objective of advancing the fields of social entrepreneurship and impact investing as tools to drive capital toward new and innovation solutions to the world's most pressing problems. The Foundation was a founding sponsor of the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of the Pacific, and also sponsors innovative programs including Ashoka U., ThinkImpact, SparkSeed, and the Cordes Fellowships awarded at the Opportunity Collaboration. In addition, the Foundation has implemented a robust impact investment strategy on its own balance sheet, with a current allocation of 30% across a diversified portfolio of debt and equity investments. Ron Cordes has over 25 years experience in the investment industry, and is co-chairman of Genworth Financial Wealth Management, a billion investment management platform which serves over 6,000 financial advisors and 100,000 individual investors.
Calvert Foundation - With more than million in impact investment assets under management and a 15 year track-record, Calvert Foundation promotes investment as a tool to end poverty. The Foundation serves over 7,000 individual investors through its Community Investment Note and two dozen corporate and philanthropic clients through Community Investment Partners, its registered investor advisor. Wayne Silby, founder of Calvert Group mutual funds and Foundation co-chair, is committed to the project and will serve on the Advisory Council.
Giving Assets - An impact investment oriented donor advised fund with million in assets, Giving Assets is the 501c3 public charity housing for the Global Impact 50 and also fiscal sponsor for field building activity. Tim Freundlich is the Executive Director of Giving Assets and has 15 years of experience in the impact investing space including over 13 years as a senior manager at Calvert Foundation and the co-founder of both SOCAP (the leading U.S. conference for impact investment and social entrepreneurship) and Good Capital, a boutique venture firm in the space.
The Rockefeller Foundation - As one of the world's leading Foundations, Rockefeller has dedicated significant resources to support their Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing initiative, which seeks to help catalyze an efficient industry that can deploy investment capital to complement philanthropy in solving social challenges at scale. Antony Bugg-Levine, who directs this initiative, has extensive experience in the fields of microlending and international development and is supporting the Global Impact 50 as an Advisory Council member and sponsor.
The Advisory Council will be chaired by Jed Emerson of Blended Value Group, a CGI Member and globally-recognized thought leader in the field of impact investing. The Council, which is still in formation, currently includes:
Ron Cordes, President, Cordes Foundation and leading impact investor
Wayne Silby, Founder and President of Calvert Foundation
Antony Bugg-Levine, Managing Director, Impact Investing Initiative, Rockefeller Foundation
Jeremy Mindich, Founder of Scopia Capital and Advective Fund, an impact investing donor-advised fund
The development of the Global Impact 50 will be overseen by Tim Freundlich, President of Giving Assets and Jed Emerson - both long-time leaders in the field of impact investing. The project is staffed by Sarah Williams, who led international grant-making at Pfizer Inc and established the Pfizer Foundation, which was, at its inception, the largest corporate foundation in the U.S. with million in assets.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
The Global Impact 50 will be announced at The Clinton Global Initiative in September. A website to accept nominations and inquiries is in development and will be launched on September21st, 2010 to coincide with the announcement.
The project team will spend 4Q 2010 finalizing the Advisory Council, selection criteria, the Review Panel, and developing the on-line application for investment firms. Criteria will be shared with leaders in the field and posted on industry blogs to invite comment and discussion from key stakeholders and generate interest and name recognition for the index.
Impact investment firms will be invited to complete an application by December 1st, 2010. The Global Impact 50 will leverage the considerable research talent and data at the Calvert Foundation to conduct the research and ranking analysis necessary to compile the index. The Review panel will be convened in Q1 2011 to assess the applications and make final selection of Index members. The Global Impact 50 will be formally launched at end of Q1 2011, in conjunction with a major media partner currently in negotiation.
There is a new wave of entrepreneurs in the world who are taking the best of the for-profit and not-for-profit systems and blending them to yield social, environmental, and financial returns. These ventures attack world problems with an effectiveness and efficiency that neither system can achieve alone, whether it be the radical scale and sustainability of the more than billion of microfinance assets in the developing world or the explosion of fair trade and organics into a + billion annual revenue first-world market.
Meanwhile, individuals are awakening to the proposition that they can invest as well as grant to create a better world, and philanthropic assets are beginning to flow to a new investment category - impact investments. According to a 2010 study, Money for Good, led by Hope Consulting, there is billion of U.S. market demand for impact investments. Yet, to date, very little of this market demand has been catalyzed into impact investment capital due primarily to two issues:
A significant lack of awareness about impact investing, not only among the investing public but specifically among wealth managers and financial advisors to whom they traditionally turn for advice and direction with respect to their investment portfolios.
A significant lack of sales and distribution infrastructure and product availability to support the implementation of impact investments and the inclusion of these investments within both philanthropic (i.e. Donor Advised Fund, private foundation) and traditional investment portfolios.