This new paper from KP Advisors puts forth a vision of “impact investing for social equity.” Noting that conventional impact investment strategies still tend to prioritize the needs of investors over the needs of communities, the paper draws on interviews with leaders in the field who are using investments to address the root causes of social and economic inequality. The authors call on investors to shift their expectations with regards to levels of risk, return, and time frame, and to better involve local communities in the decision-making process:
As cities wrestle with the growing challenge of wealth inequality, more and more leaders are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six such models—ESOPs, Worker Cooperatives, CDFIs, Social Enterprises, Municipal Ownership, and Emerging Hybrids—with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.
In 2012, the limited liability company Saver's Fresh Market took over operations at the regional chain Save-A-Lot food store, located in the Southside of Chicago, and converted it to a "Save-A-Lot Market," offering broader selections of fresh produce and meat. The 15,000-square foot grocery store is estimated to have created 19 jobs. Working to build a healthier community, the market partners with local nonprofits and CDFIs to offer community engagement activities, such as a smart shopping clinic and in-store health cooking demonstrations. Read more about Saver’s Fresh Market...
Next Street is a legally recognized B Corporation – which stands for “Benefit Corporation.” It is in many ways an ideal example of a Benefit Corporation, for its basic business model is about creating social benefit through the operation of a profitable business. Next Street provides financing and financial advisory services to urban small businesses and nonprofits. These firms provide jobs for more than 4,000 people and bring in $600 million in annual revenue. Read more about Next Street...
Cutting Edge Capital provides consulting services to help small business, cooperatives, social enterprises, and nonprofits raise capital in in a manner compliant both with complicated securities law as well as a business’ values. Its efforts include helping the California Air Resources Board with the state’s new cap and trade system, developing strategies to increase financing for the local food system, as well as designing a community investment fund for western Massachusetts. For their impact, Cutting Edge Capital was recognized as a B Corporation that is “Best for Communities”. Read more about Cutting Edge Capital...
TMI is a diversity and inclusion strategy consulting B-corporation. Founded in 2010 to help businesses recognize diversity as both an asset and a way to boost their bottom line, it has continuously worked to build healthy and productive environments for communities and workplaces to thrive. TMI outscored most B-corporations on its 2012 B-Impact Assessment. Assessed for its contributions to the environment, treatment of workers, community engagement, and transparency to stakeholders, it earned 116 out of a possible 200 points.
Thinkhaus is a graphic design company offering services in print design, web-based media, signage, and environmental graphics. The company hosts bi-monthly events, inviting the public to engage with artists, designers, business professionals, and community leaders to discuss how socially conscious design can strengthen Richmond communities and businesses.
Impact Makers provides management and IT consulting services. As a certified B-corporation, it must meet comprehensive social and environmental performance standards and incorporate stakeholder interest. In 2013, Impact Makers donated almost $300,000 to its nonprofit partners Family Lifeline, Rx Partnership, Future Leaders in Project Management, and the Peter Paul Development Center. In addition to contributing profits to their community partners, Impact Makers pays its employees to provide pro-bono consulting services for its partner organizations.
A community oriented publication with a circulation of 60,000, Greater Richmond Grid magazine showcases achievements in Richmond’s business, retail, arts and entertainment industries. The lifestyle magazine also donates over 50 percent of its profits to charity.
Acorn Sign Graphics is the first architectural signage company to receive a B-corporation certification. Specializing in environmental graphic design and sign manufacturing services, it recycles nearly all of its aluminum, plastic, wood, and paper materials and donates non-recyclable materials to the Children’s Museum of Richmond.