The Brief: Character-based lending (podcast), green infrastructure, local fungi, remote women's healthcare, disrupting gender-based violence – ImpactAlpha

The Indigenous wisdom of lending based on character, not collateral (podcast). Current systems of credit are not working. Indigenous wisdom points to more promising approaches: deep local engagement and character-based lending. “Just because you’re unbanked, or not banked at the moment, doesn’t mean you’re actually high risk. It just means the system hasn’t worked for you,” Vanessa Roanhorse of Roanhorse Consulting and co-founder of Native Women Lead says on the latest episode of The Reconstruction podcast. Roanhorse worked with Nusenda Credit Union to launch Co-op Capital in 2018 to make micro and small loans of $500 to $10,000 and shift decision-making to organizations with deep relationships in the regions that potential borrowers live. Co-op doesn’t require collateral or automatically penalize people for lower credit scores. Instead, local community organizations in Co-op’s network determine who is ready to borrow. Drawing on proven practices of character-based lending, Co-op has loaned over $1 million through 200 loans with a default rate of only 2.5%.
Actis’ sustainable energy infrastructure fund raises $4.7 billion. London-based Actis has raised $19 billion since 2004 for private equity, energy and real estate investments. The new fund will, with co-investors, deploy $6 billion to create access to power in India, Africa and Latin America; at least $850 million will be invested in India over five years. A sample investment: a large-scale wind project under construction in Senegal by Lekela Power, one of the firm’s portfolio companies. The 159-megawatt project has potential to help offset six million tons of carbon dioxide and create 600 construction jobs, Actis says. Actis’ fifth energy fund received commitments from global pension funds, insurance companies, endowments, sovereign wealth funds and others.
Gender-lens investors begin to take action against workplace violence and sexual harassment. Dozens of investment funds use a gender lens in their investment decision-making. Some invest in women-led or owned ventures; others consider impacts for women all along the economic value chain. As few as nine funds are taking intentional action on gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. “We believe this is a missed opportunity for impact investors to impact the safety and success of women in the workforce, both through the provision of financing and gender expertise,” Ayesha Khanna, Virginia Schippers and Minh Nguyen-Hiltunen of Care Enterprises write in a guest post. The CARE-SheTrades Impact Fund, a debt fund created with Bamboo Capital and SheTrades Initiative, works with growing companies in South and Southeast Asia to create safe workplaces through the elimination of gender-based violence and harassment. The fund is raising $10 million in catalytic, first-loss capital.
ImpactAlpha partner events: SOCAP21 kicks off today (through Wednesday); opening day is free. On today’s agenda: “Narrative for Change,” with Macro’s Poppy Hanks, Marcy Ventures’ Larry Marcus and Kellogg Foundation’s Carla Thompson Payton, moderated by ImpactAlpha’s David Bank, at 1:30pm PT. Use code np_impactalpha for 20% off… Next up in the Next Normal Now series from the Global Impact Investing Network: regeneration. Join John Elkington, Kat Taylor and nearly two dozen special guests to discuss clean air, water, land, humankind and impact investing, Wednesday, Oct. 27. RSVP today. 
ImpactAlpha, Oct. 1 – Metrics. Standards. Dimensions. Frameworks. SDGs. Cathy Clark of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University’s Fuqua
ImpactAlpha, Sept. 16 – Universal owners are leaning into their power as long-term stewards of capital. Asset owners and managers are deploying a flurry
 If you thought this spring’s ExxonMobil proxy fight was dramatic, just wait ’til next year. Join Engine No. 1’s Michael O’Leary, The Shareholder Commons’ Sara Murphy, Illinois
ImpactAlpha, July 9 – Elevating the power (and wages) of low-income workers is not typically at the top of investors’ agenda. But a fairer
ImpactAlpha, Jun. 2 – The very rich are different, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once observed. One of those differences is the prerogative to put
ImpactAlpha, March 1 –  Capital is flowing to climate solutions. Climate bonds have topped $1 trillion. SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies are
ImpactAlpha, January 6 — A few of the keywords thrown around on last month’s Agents of Impact Call No. 26: accountability, electrification, institutional,
What: The Call No. 25: Gender-smart investing for a sustainable recovery Join SME.NG’s Thelma Ekiyor, Trade Depot’s Onyekachi Izukanne, Development Partners International’s Takudzwa Mutasa, Alitheia’s Temilade Denton,
The people and principles needed to solve the challenges of financing solar power for frontline health clinics were represented on ImpactAlpha’s Agents of
ImpactAlpha, Oct. 1 – What got us here won’t get us where we need to go. Guidelines that govern global finance need to
ImpactAlpha, Aug. 27 – Investors have been talking about systemic risks at least since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. More recently, climate
It’s long past time to get political.  Impact investing, with appeal on both the left and the right, has generally steered clear of
On this week’s podcast, roundtable regulars Imogen Rose-Smith and David Bank join host Brian Walsh to discuss the U.K.’s surprisingly ambitious climate plans
ImpactAlpha, Oct. 8 – On this week’s podcast, The Plug’s Sherrell Dorsey joins host Monique Aiken to talk Black tech ecosystems, the origins of
ImpactAlpha, Oct. 4 – Black, Indigenous and other communities of color are often told that economic development projects will bring jobs and services to
ImpactAlpha, Oct. 1 – On this week’s podcast, host Brian Walsh is joined by John Cochrane from the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance to
ImpactAlpha, Sept. 24 – On this week’s podcast, host Monique Aiken is joined by FullCycle’s Stephan Nicoleau to talk about Climate Week, climate action
ImpactAlpha, Sept 20 – Infrastructure is highways and bridges. And hospitals and airports; broadband, clean water, plumbing and electricity.  And it all needs
ImpactAlpha, Sept. 17 – Roundtable regulars David Bank and Imogen Rose-Smith return this week to join host Brian Walsh for a conversation about Imogen’s
ImpactAlpha, Sept. 10 – On this week’s podcast, host Monique Aiken and ImpactAlpha’s David Bank preview next week’s Agents of Impact call and sample
ImpactAlpha, Sept. 3 – On this week’s podcast, host Brian Walsh chats with ImpactAlpha’s Dennis Price and Amy Cortese to talk ‘beta stewardship’ and
ImpactAlpha Aug. 30 – With hurricane winds still blowing and rain falling, essential workers already are stepping up to bring back services and
ImpactAlpha, Aug. 27 – On this week’s podcast, guest host David Bank talks with Roodgally Senatus about the earthquake relief efforts and growing
ImpactAlpha August 23 – The overhauling of U.S. systems of mass incarceration to advance justice in criminal justice requires the leadership of people
In the past eighteen months, the global community has clearly seen that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women. The
Optimizing for Impact. Want to learn more about Optimizing Impact for the Sustainable Development Goals? Over the next few weeks, ImpactAlpha will offer a
When most Americans think about civil rights, we think about the violence perpetrated upon Black Americans and the nonviolence movement that finally helped
Disclosure: Catalytic Capital Consortium (C3) sponsors ImpactAlpha’s coverage of catalytic capital. Today, we are excited to announce 14 new awardees of the Catalytic
There is no denying that impact finance is one of the most sought after spaces in finance right now, but what does it
A decade ago I experienced what is described as ‘multiple discovery’ – the idea where most discoveries or inventions are made independently and
Maximizing the transformative possibilities of impact investments requires shifting power from individuals and institutions toward communities that have historically been kept at the
ESG-focused assets — increasingly ubiquitous in the global investment landscape — have grown exponentially over the past 10 years. Currently in the United
When global leaders converge on Glasgow in November for the COP26 climate summit, all eyes will be on the pledges that politicians make
Impact is increasingly seen as not only crucial to a just recovery from effects of COVID-19, but also to the creation of stronger,
When a problem is on your doorstep, it’s only natural to be compelled to find a solution.  Over the past years, demand for
The creator economy is a burgeoning new segment for all investors – art-lovers or not – who want to drive impact through quality
ImpactAlpha, October 15 – Being an investment banker in Chicago as a recent graduate wasn’t working for Aunnie Patton Power. “I was given
ImpactAlpha, Oct. 8 – Climate scientists are having a moment, decades overdue. Private investment funds are seeking out climate soothsayers to inform decision-making. Prescient
ImpactAlpha, October 1 – Halima Iqbal didn’t plan to start her own fintech company when she returned to Pakistan in 2018, after years
ImpactAlpha, Sept. 24 – Before she herself began teaching 20 years ago, Cathy Clark helped her father run a summer program in Philadelphia that
ImpactAlpha, September 17 – Hilda Moraa was ahead of the trend of enterprise technology providers popping up all over Africa and other emerging
ImpactAlpha, Sept. 10 – When you own everything, you don’t want everything to go to hell. That’s the simple concept behind the emerging doctrine
ImpactAlpha, Sept. 3 – On neighborhood strolls, Jessica Brooks sees schools, churches, apartment buildings – and unused rooftops. Such “infill” spaces represent a
ImpactAlpha, Aug. 27 – The Taliban is in power in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Not going away are the education centers, health clinics
ImpactAlpha, August 13 — Charli Cooksey has lived most of her nearly 35 years on the same block in North St. Louis. After
ImpactAlpha, July 30 – This is what an impact investing career path looks like. McCluskey was working at UBS, first in investment banking and
ImpactAlpha, July 23 – Heather Fleming started an industrial design firm to do thoughtful, community-centered design. Several years ago, she brought her skills
ImpactAlpha, July 16 – As a first-time manager of an impact-oriented venture fund – and a Black man – Qadree defied the odds when
Greetings, Agents of Impact! 
The Call: Catalytic climate capital. Global investment in the low-carbon transition looks likely to cross the $1 trillion mark this year, but three to four times that much is needed to keep climate goals in range. Agents of Impact Call No. 33 will bring together entrepreneurs and investors using catalytic capital in early-stage innovation, full-scale commercialization, climate justice and other persistent capital gaps. Learn about the tools of catalytic climate capital, including credit enhancements, off-take agreements, project equity and blended finance, with Prime Coalition, Breakthrough Energy, The LEAF Coalition, Convergence and others, Tuesday, October 26th at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. RSVP today.
The Indigenous wisdom of lending based on character, not collateral (podcast). Current systems of credit are not working. Indigenous wisdom points to more promising approaches: deep local engagement and character-based lending. “Just because you’re unbanked, or not banked at the moment, doesn’t mean you’re actually high risk. It just means the system hasn’t worked for you,” Vanessa Roanhorse of Roanhorse Consulting and co-founder of Native Women Lead says on the latest episode of The Reconstruction podcast. Roanhorse worked with Nusenda Credit Union to launch Co-op Capital in 2018 to make micro and small loans of $500 to $10,000 and shift decision-making to organizations with deep relationships in the regions that potential borrowers live. Co-op doesn’t require collateral or automatically penalize people for lower credit scores. Instead, local community organizations in Co-op’s network determine who is ready to borrow. Drawing on proven practices of character-based lending, Co-op has loaned over $1 million through 200 loans with a default rate of only 2.5%.
Through her consulting practice, Roanhorse works with social enterprises to co-design wealth-building and entrepreneurship strategies in communities that have been systematically excluded from traditional capital systems. “We have to bring Indigenous thinking back into the circle,” she says. “I think once we’re willing to do that, which is a whole lot of power shifting, we can actually start to think creatively and collectively about how we move.” Native Women Lead with New Mexico Community Capital was awarded $10 million from the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, backed by MacKenzie Scott and other philanthropists, to help Indigenous women founders scale up their enterprises. “Until we can get into the seat of decision-making around how capital products are designed and how that capital is going to flow,“ says Roanhorse, “we will continue to be marginalized in what is the right fit and also in being able to showcase why.”
Actis’ sustainable energy infrastructure fund raises $4.7 billion. London-based Actis has raised $19 billion since 2004 for private equity, energy and real estate investments. The new fund will, with co-investors, deploy $6 billion to create access to power in India, Africa and Latin America; at least $850 million will be invested in India over five years. A sample investment: a large-scale wind project under construction in Senegal by Lekela Power, one of the firm’s portfolio companies. The 159-megawatt project has potential to help offset six million tons of carbon dioxide and create 600 construction jobs, Actis says. Actis’ fifth energy fund received commitments from global pension funds, insurance companies, endowments, sovereign wealth funds and others.
Smallhold secures $25 million to grow organic mushrooms in local warehouses. Consumers are demanding locally-grown and climate-friendly food options. Brooklyn-based Smallhold is growing organic mushrooms in local warehouses for nearby restaurants and grocery stores, to demonstrate fungi’s potential to feed the world. Investors in the Series A round include Astanor Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, Almanac Insights, Wheatsheaf Group and AlleyCorp. Smallhold manages warehouses in Brooklyn and Texas and is looking to launch in Los Angeles next year.
Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:
Gender-lens investors begin to take action against workplace violence and sexual harassment. Dozens of investment funds use a gender lens in their investment decision-making. Some invest in women-led or owned ventures; others consider impacts for women all along the economic value chain. As few as nine funds are taking intentional action on gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. “We believe this is a missed opportunity for impact investors to impact the safety and success of women in the workforce, both through the provision of financing and gender expertise,” Ayesha Khanna, Virginia Schippers and Minh Nguyen-Hiltunen of Care Enterprises write in a guest post. The CARE-SheTrades Impact Fund, a debt fund created with Bamboo Capital and SheTrades Initiative, works with growing companies in South and Southeast Asia to create safe workplaces through the elimination of gender-based violence and harassment. The fund is raising $10 million in catalytic, first-loss capital.

ImpactAlpha partner events: SOCAP21 kicks off today (through Wednesday); opening day is free. On today’s agenda: “Narrative for Change,” with Macro’s Poppy Hanks, Marcy Ventures’ Larry Marcus and Kellogg Foundation’s Carla Thompson Payton, moderated by ImpactAlpha’s David Bank, at 1:30pm PT. Use code np_impactalpha for 20% off… Next up in the Next Normal Now series from the Global Impact Investing Network: regeneration. Join John Elkington, Kat Taylor and nearly two dozen special guests to discuss clean air, water, land, humankind and impact investing, Wednesday, Oct. 27. RSVP today
Tides seeks a senior advisor for corporate social impact in San Francisco… Adasina is looking for a business development coordinator in San Francisco… The Puget Sound Partnership is hiring a tribal liaison in Washington State… The Community Center for Education Results seeks a director of research partnerships… Seattle Foundation is looking for a scholarships associate advisor in Seattle… Mercer is searching for a sustainable investment senior associate in Boston… Twilio.org is recruiting a senior impact fund manager.
The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance, African distributed solar lender SunFunder, U.K. crowdfunding platform Energise Africa, and Self-reliance and Solar in the West Bank and Gaza are the winners of U.N. awards for “Financing for Climate-Friendly Investment”… Opportunity Finance Network’s virtual conference, from Oct. 19-21, features U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the Small Business Administration’s Isabella Casillas Guzman, and Google’s Ruth PoratConvergence is launching its “State of Blended Finance 2021” report Wednesday, Oct. 27.
Thank you for your impact.
– Oct. 18, 2021
Choose beats that you’re interested in, and we’ll show you more of them as you explore…
On this week’s podcast, roundtable regulars Imogen Rose-Smith and David Bank join host Brian Walsh to discuss the U.K.’s surprisingly ambitious climate plans
ImpactAlpha, October 15 – Being an investment banker in Chicago as a recent graduate wasn’t working for Aunnie Patton Power. “I was given
ImpactAlpha, Oct. 15 – Invest in climate action for the planet – and the people.  “Climate change is a public health issue, it’s a
Email [email protected] for an invite
Bold leaders. Taking action. Driving impact.

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