BOSTON, Nov. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Social Finance, the national nonprofit and registered investment advisor, announced the launch of the Social Finance Impact First Fund. The Impact First Fund aims to create measurable, positive outcomes for people and the planet by making catalytic investments into funds with demonstrated potential for impact.
Communities across the country face a confluence of environmental and social crises—problems too large and complex to address with grant capital alone. Market-based solutions, like impact-first investments, which put impact above financial return, can direct capital to scale promising solutions for change. Impact-first investing seeks to return capital and compound impact.
Individuals (including donor-advised fund account holders), family offices and private foundations often lack the bandwidth needed to effectively identify and evaluate the many impact investment opportunities available across various asset classes. As a result, roughly $1.5 trillion in philanthropic assets meant for generating positive social change are often channeled into traditional market-rate investments. The Impact First Fund is designed to make impact investing more accessible and more cost effective. Ultimately, it aims to channel trillions in philanthropic funding toward positive social and environmental outcomes.
“We’ve been developing market-driven tools to achieve measurable, positive impact for more than a decade, and we have a track record of bringing uncommon partners together to solve tough problems,” Social Finance CEO and Co-Founder Tracy Palandjian said. “With the Impact First Fund, we are excited to unlock catalytic capital to deliver impact at scale.”
“For decades, fund managers and philanthropists have struggled with how to put more philanthropic capital to work to advance their visions for change,” Social Finance President and COO Kirstin Hill said. “They could build a team or hire an advisor to uncover and vet impact-first investments, but now the Impact First Fund provides a fully integrated, outsourced solution for mobilizing capital toward impact.”
To date, allocations to the open-ended Fund include recoverable grants from donor-advised funds (DAFs) at the Boston Foundation, Fidelity Charitable, and Vanguard Charitable, as well as a direct investment from a DAF at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Social Finance expects the Fund to be an attractive option for foundations making program-related investments, as the Fund seeks to deliver a low single-digit return on capital.
The Impact First Fund launched with two separate investments the Blackstar Stability Distressed Debt Fund and the Afterglow Climate Justice Fund. Blackstar is a national Black-owned and -led real estate investment fund focused on supporting and preserving single-family home ownership and wealth building in low- and moderate-income communities. Afterglow Climate Justice Fund is a private debt fund investing in organizations developing and launching new projects that will benefit marginalized communities who are disproportionately likely to experience the negative impacts of climate change.
“Social Finance has provided us the opportunity to interact with a broader universe of stakeholders that share similar impact objectives,” Blackstar Principal George Scott said. “We look forward to continuing our journey together and watching the broader impact the Fund will achieve.”
“We are excited to welcome the Social Finance Impact First Fund as a senior lender into the first close of the Afterglow Climate Justice Fund,” Candide Founding Partner Aner Ben-Ami said. “While all of our investors are deeply mission-driven, the Social Finance Impact First Fund represents an exciting, new pool of catalytic capital. We look forward to partnering with the Impact First Fund and thoroughly share their commitment towards mobilizing more philanthropic dollars towards meaningful, impact-first investments.”
Commitment to Impact
“Our team has a rare combination of expertise in both private fund investing and impact evaluation and measurement,” Vice President Stephen Vicinelli said. “We’ve developed an investment process that seeks to underwrite impact integrity in its approach to manager selection, portfolio construction, and impact measurement and reporting. And by making explicit the impact-first mandate, the team will be able to embed an impact-focused investment philosophy within its investment process.”
“Our approach to pursuing impact is rigorous. It’s also imbued with humility,” Vice President Catherine Dun Rappaport said. “We have created right-sized impact assurance processes to ensure that we get credible data about the type and magnitude of the impact associated with our investments and that providing evidence of that impact is not onerous or extractive to the funds, enterprises, and communities in which we invest.”
About The Social Impact First Fund
The Social Finance Impact First Fund aims to make impact-first investing easier, more accessible, and more cost-efficient for individuals, family offices, foundations, and donor-advised funds that seek to measurably change lives. The fund primarily makes investments into underlying private, impact-focused investment funds that support enterprises that are led by and support individuals from marginalized communities and have demonstrated effective strategies for achieving positive social and environmental impact. Learn more at socialfinance.org/impactfirstfund
About Social Finance
Social Finance is a national nonprofit and registered investment advisor (SF Advisors, LLC). We work with the public, private, and social sectors to create partnerships and investments that measurably improve lives. Our Impact Investment team designs, launches, and manages impact-first investments. Our Advisory team partners with government and philanthropy leaders to implement data-driven programs for social impact. Through the Social Finance Institute, we aim to build the field and change systems through actionable research, communities of practice, and educational outreach. Since our founding in 2011, we have mobilized more than $350 million in new investments designed to help people and communities realize improved outcomes in workforce and economic mobility, health, and housing. Learn more at socialfinance.org