Cre8tive Philanthropy


Investment and innovation in the for-profit social impact community.

Ron Cordes Interview on Impact Investing in Forbes Magazine

Ever articulate and a champion of impact investing, Ron Cordes, Co-Chairman of Genworth Financial Wealth Management interviews with Forbes magazine on impact investing and social entrepreneurship.

As I built our impact portfolio, I began to fully appreciate the ability to create “double bottom line” returns – particularly in 2008 when several of our microfinance investments were among the top performers in our portfolio. I also had the opportunity to speak with dozens of the wealth managers we work with at Genworth, and found that they had an emerging interest within their client bases to do the same thing we were doing – but lacked any tools or infrastructure to actually build and implement impact portfolios. 

Our philosophy is that to solve the world’s toughest problems we need exponentially more resources than can be provided through just traditional philanthropy.  Impact investing offers an opportunity to tap a giant new capital source to create sustainable, scalable solutions that can have potential game-changing results.

For the whole August 29th interview in Forbes.







Filed under: Impact Investing, Social Entrepreneurs

Business and Philanthropy: Integration and Collaboration

Business and philanthropy, when used together in a sentence, usually evokes images of successful business people (Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey) who are well-known philanthropists or stodgy corporate giving programs created more in the name of marketing and promotion than serious goodwill and intention to give back. Business and business people have generally been stereotyped as individualists with somewhat blind ambition toward singular goals, typically profit and production – not philanthropy.

That’s changing. Many of today’s business professionals have more altruistic purposes, for both work and life. They strive to contribute their time, energy, and skills in creating better communities. In step with this natural evolution and synthesis of passions and skills, the next generation of business owners and professionals are keen to have impact in all areas of their lives, and see little distinction between what have traditionally been separated as  business and philanthropic spheres.

What better place to look for this shift than the demand for social entrepreneurship and philanthropic courses at university business schools in graduate and undergraduate programs. A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek highlights the growing interest in these programs. 

Nonprofits and philanthropy may have, at one time, been viewed as quite different from business. However, purpose and mission are only a matter of viewpoint and execution. Rather than separation and alienation based upon profit/nonprofit, perhaps the viewpoint of integration and collaboration is in order. This leads to the concept that there may be a wide spectrum between pure purpose and pure profit, with everything in-between.  The wisdom lies in application; what problem is being solved? What is the best way to solve it?

Filed under: Giving, Innovation, Philanthropy, Uncategorized

Official launch of Impact Assets

June 15, 2011 – The offical launch of Impact Assets! The first impact investment platform for the financial advisor and investment community.

PR:      ImpactAssets Launches the ImpactAssets 50 – – A global landscape of leading impact investment managers

ImpactAssets today announced the launch of the ImpactAssets 50, a widely available global database of leading private debt and equity fund managers that deliver social and environmental value in addition to financial returns. Cumulatively, these managers represent $8.9  billion of capital invested across multiple asset classes, geographies, and impact areas (including leaders from microfinance, community development, Fair Trade, and other sectors).

Now available at, the ImpactAssets 50 provides financial and impact information on each manager and is searchable by asset class, assets under management, impact issue area, and geography. It offers both new and seasoned impact investors an overview of the industry’s leading fund managers who are taking the best of the for-profit and not-for-profit structures and blending them to yield social, environmental, and financial returns.

“The field of impact investing is evolving rapidly, and wealth advisors and their clients are increasingly looking for ways to make sense of the complex landscape. The ImpactAssets 50 provides a tool for advisors to help investors connect their portfolios with their passions and allocate capital to impact investments,” says Genworth Financial Wealth Management Co-Chairman and ImpactAssets board member Ron Cordes.

Wayne Silby, founder of Calvert Investments and Calvert Foundation, and chair of the board for ImpactAssets adds, “Assessing both the impact and potential of investment fund managers is difficult — the ImpactAssets 50 is well positioned to offer investors an entrée to this global landscape.”

Fund managers are selected by an investment panel composed of industry experts. Criteria for inclusion include:

  • 3+ years experience in the impact investing field
  • Minimum assets of $5 million under management
  • Demonstrated commitment to social/environmental impact at the portfolio level and corporate responsibility at the firm level.

In addition to the ImpactAssets 50, ImpactAssets offers the Giving Fund, a donor advised fund that provides impact investment options across a range of risk/return profiles and a variety of issue areas. This allows donors to amplify the effects of their giving by aligning their investment assets with their charitable goals, effectively leveraging the impact of both.

To support these initiatives, ImpactAssets recently added three Managing Directors and an Executive VP to its senior management team.  Fran Seegull, formerly Managing Director of Funk Ventures and Senior Fellow at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, has been hired as Managing Director, Investments; Randy Strickland, formerly Managing Director at Principal Global Investments, and at Bank of New York Asset Management, has been hired as Managing Director, Distribution; and Jed Emerson, senior fellow with the Center for Social Investment at Heidelberg University and senior advisor to The Sterling Group, has joined the team as Executive Vice President, Strategic Development. Additionally, Elise Lufkin, formerly Senior Program Manager, has been promoted to Managing Director, Programs.

Per Tim Freundlich, President of Impact Assets and a globally recognized leader in the impact investing field, “Our objective is to become the ‘go-to’ resource for impact investing, and to catalyze $ 1 billion of new capital into the space over the next 5 years”.


ImpactAssets ( is a nonprofit financial services company that combines expertise in both philanthropy and asset management to catalyze capital for social and environmental impact.  Launched by Calvert Foundation in 2010, it leverages support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cordes Foundation, and several other leading philanthropic and financial services sponsors.  ImpactAssets has $60 mm of current assets and offices in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Bethesda, MD.

Filed under: Uncategorized

WANTED: A Few Good Businesspeople

What’s needed now in the social entrepreneur and impact investment space? Apparently a few good businesspeople according to Rodríguez Arregui, founder of Ignia, a VC fund operating in the impact investment sector. In a recent article posted by Reuters on the topic of impact investing:

I asked Klement and Rodríguez Arregui what trends they see in impact investing. Both see momentum picking up and more money coming into the sector. Companies like Wells Fargo and JP Morgan are putting money into this new asset class. Rodríguez Arregui thinks that a lot of the talent in the social investing world comes from the non-profit sector rather than business and that more business expertise is needed. (emphasis added.)

With new money and momentum in the space, why the lack of business expertise within the social entrepreneurship/impact investment sector? What can be done to get more people with business acumen to want to work at the intersection of profit and mission?

Filed under: Challenges, Impact Investing

IIX Asia launches Impact Partners

Direct from IIX:

 Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX) Announces Launch of Impact Partners, Asia’s First Private Placement Platform for Investment in Social Enterprises


Singapore, 18 April 2011



  • IIX launches Impact Partners, Asia’s first private placement platform for investment in social enterprises
  • Impact Partners will be the game-changer for sustainable, economic development across Asia-Pacific facilitating impact investments (focused on financial, social and economic returns) on a regional scale
  • Impact Partners is strategically based in Singapore, in close proximity to the growing number of Asian social enterprises and mobilizing Singapore’s effective financial infrastructure for impact investment

Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX) announced the launch of its private online platform, Impact Partners, in Singapore.  Impact Partners is poised to introduce impact investors to a select group of pre-screened Asian social enterprises in sectors such as agriculture, clean technology, renewable energy, education, healthcare and microfinance.

Durreen Shahnaz, IIX Founder and Chairman, said, ‘This is an important day for the sustainable development area in Asia. IIX was created to use capital markets effectively to support social enterprises that are having positive social and environmental impact in the region and Impact Partners is an important milestone in that endeavor. The launch of Impact Partners is a product of coordinated efforts by a great number of people and partners, and it marks the start of a new phase in the Asian social enterprise sector where we can celebrate and embrace sustainable growth through these fantastic entities.’

Impact Investors from across the region are excited with the launch of Impact Partners.  According to Pasha Bhaktiar, Partner at Dubai based WillowTree fund, “WillowTree’s mission is to make high impact investments and we are thrilled to be part of Impact Partners which will allow us to identify, assess and invest in social and environmental investment opportunities around Asia.”  Bonny Landers, CEO of Sterling Group in Hong Kong noted, “At Sterling Group, we have been exploring ways to achieve “blended value” with our philanthropic and investment activities. We are excited about the launch of Impact Partners which will provide us with access to deal flow in Asia as a way to develop our strategy as well as be part of a wider network.

Impact Partners is now live at

Investors wishing to participate in what promises to be a new and exciting opportunity to evaluate, contact and invest in quality social enterprises should contact IIX for details on membership. Social enterprises seeking mission-aligned capital should also contact IIX. Both Investors and SEs can register and send their enquiries through


Background Information

IIX, Impact Partners and Shujog

IIX is a Social Enterprise (SE) with a social mission to provide greater access to capital for SEs in Asia-Pacific allowing them to grow more rapidly and expand their impact. With that mission in mind, and after two years of planning, development and hundreds of field assessments, it has launched Impact Partners.

Impact Partners is a private, online platform operated by IIX, designed to introduce impact investors to a select group of pre-screened Asian SEs. These SEs may include both for-profit and not-for-profit entities with social missions in sectors such as agriculture, clean technology, renewable energy, education, healthcare and microfinance.

Impact Investment Shujog (Shujog) is the not-for-profit sister organization of IIX which focuses on impact assessment, advocacy and research for SEs. Shujog is a key contributor of impact assessments of SEs on Impact Partners.

IIX has received generous financial support for its work from the Rockefeller Foundation in the form of a grant supporting research and proof-of-concept analysis.  IIX and Shujog have also benefitted from a Regional Research and Development Technical Assistance Program administered by the Asian Development Bank.  IIX and Shujog are working closely with Singapore government ministries in establishing their presence in Singapore. In particular, it is in continuous dialogue with the International Organisations Programme Office of the Economic Development Board

A game-changer for developing economies

Asia has 60% of the world’s population and faces immense population density and heightened vulnerability to economic downturns, social upheaval and environmental degradation.  Impact Partners is a game-changing platform for SEs to access investment capital, which can help them to grow more rapidly and alleviate or reduce these problems.  SEs provide innovative mission-driven solutions and offer investors the prospect of “triple bottom line” returns, creating social, environmental and financial value, thus setting a more sustainable and caring path for growth in developing economies.

Select Social Enterprises

At present, Impact Partners has profiled an initial group of SEs from a range of Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh and Thailand, operating in sectors including organic agriculture, renewable energy and microfinance.

These SEs from around Asia provide services and products that embrace social values while operating with the financial discipline, innovation and determination of private sector businesses. To be profiled on the site, a social enterprise will have to meet a number of criteria, including having a clear social or environmental mission with positive impact, demonstrating that they are (or have a clear plan to become) financially sustainable, and having a scalable model that can benefit from investment capital. 

An example is Excellent Renewable Energy in India. It focuses on creating bio gas plants that are designed to meet the energy needs of the community.  They also seek to raise awareness of clean and sustainable energy among the village community and potential investors.

Pranav Gadhia, Director of Excellent Renewable Energy said, ‘Our organization has had a long relationship with IIX and its sister company, Impact Investment Shujog. Together we’ve been able to set direction and a path for Excellent Renewable that should lead to scale and profitability, while maintaining our prime values of serving our community and our family of employees.’

Membership in the platform

Impact investor members are accredited, institutional and other “sophisticated” investors.  They include high net worth individuals, family offices, foundations, institutions and funds. Impact Partners targets investors who wish to make investments offering prospects of financial return while simultaneously creating positive social and/or environmental impact. These investors are the bridge between philanthropy, which incubates innovation and mobilizes attention to exciting solutions, and the private-sector capital markets that ultimately hold the wealth required to advance these solutions to a level proportionate to need.

Robert Kraybill, Managing Director of IIX, said, ‘We gave a lot of thought to what might be the best approach for bringing SEs and interested investors together. What we discovered was that the easiest way may also be the most effective. Investors want to find good SEs, and good SEs want to find interested investors. All that stands in the way is a good interface. We think we’ve got it.’

En Lee, Director of Impact Partners noted, ‘It was indeed rewarding to be able to bring such a platform to fruition and play a critical role in building the impact investment space in Asia which is new but is fast gaining momentum.’

How Impact Partners works

The Impact Partners website includes several public pages containing general information about Impact Partners, social entrepreneurship and impact investing.  Investor members will also be issued a password that will allow them to access the private portion of the site.  Within these pages, investors will be able to search for SEs based on a variety of criteria, including country of operation, sector, investment type, etc. Members will be able to access information on each of the profiled SEs. 

For each of the SEs showcased, the information presented will include its business and financial information as well as information on its social and/or environmental impact. Summaries of its business and financial information will be provided by the SE and will be presented in a standardized format.

Summaries of an SE’s social and/or environmental impact will be provided separately.  This will also be based on information provided by the SE but may contain analysis and evaluations performed by IIX’s affiliate Impact Investment Shujog or another third party provider of social impact assessment services.

Investors will also have the ability to access additional supporting information, which may include, for instance, audited historical financial statements provided by the company. This may also include detailed analysis and assessments focused on the social and environmental impact created by the company. All of the information presented on the platform will be subject to confidentiality undertakings given by the investors as a condition of their membership in Impact Partners.

If an investor wishes to learn more about an SE to consider a potential investment in the enterprise, she will be able to indicate her interest by contacting Impact Partners, which will then introduce the investor to the SE’s management.  The investor and the company may then enter into a discussion that may lead to a privately negotiated investment transaction.

Further Plans

IIX anticipates that with the recent growth in the awareness of and interest in SEs, demand for such Impact Investment opportunities will grow and will help set the stage for IIX’s next big launch, the Impact Exchange in Q1 2012.


Impact Exchange, launching in early 2012, will be the world’s first stock exchange focusing exclusively on SEs, where investors can purchase and trade shares and bonds issued by SEs. IIX will provide liquidity to investors by supporting listing, trading, clearing and settlement of securities.

For further information, please contact:

En Lee                                                               Lina Tang

Director, Impact Partners                                 Business Development Associate

Telephone +852 9490 3662                             Telephone +65 6221 7051                                                                         

Filed under: Uncategorized

Foundation Flat Tax Proposed

Last month Rep. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, proposed a 1.39% flat tax on all foundation investment earnings. The offset would be a lower age, from 70 1/2 to 59 1/2,  for the provision that allows $100,000 tax-free transfers from IRA’s to charitable causes. Additionally, private foundations would now qualify for the tax free transfer, whereas they are currently unqualified.

Private foundations are currently subject to up to a 2% tax on investment earnings but are provided exemptions if their charitable giving reaches certain qualifying amounts. The flat tax would require a tax be paid regardless of their donation levels.

The key question: would this legislation suppress the amount of money going to non-foundation charitable causes? If foundations don’t have an incentive (through tax policy) to give at higher levels, will they? Is the proposed flat tax a tax on wealthy citizens’ private foundations or a tax on charities? What is the likely outcome? How will such a policy impact behavior?

Filed under: Charitable Tax Laws, Foundations, Giving, Philanthropy

BYU and Acumen Fund Host Impact Investment Case Competition

BYU and the Acument Fund are hosting a case competition for BYU students. More from BYU’s Universe.

Filed under: Challenges, Impact Investing

Impact Investment Fund Challenge

Can the world of finance (you know, the same one that brought the financial crisis) be the same conduit for “capitalism 2.0”?

Filed under: Impact Investing, Innovation, Social Entrepreneurs

Sarona Asset Management Closes Impact Investment Funds of Funds

Raising over $22m, Sarona Asset Management recently closed on their new Global Diversified funds of funds fund. This fund is the most recent fund among the 6 other funds they manage.

Filed under: Impact Investing

Impact Investment Gains Traction in Financial Markets

A news round-up this week suggests multiple new developments for impact investments within the financial sector. An impact investment infrastructure platform from Gate Technologies is in beta testing with a formal launch for institutional investors anticipated this quarter. In other news, Mission Markets updates their successes with their impact investment platform and secondary market for impact investments (see Hotfrog and Better World Books – the two successful listings on the platform). And that’s the round-up!

Filed under: Impact Investing, Uncategorized

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