2020 Social Impact Report

Download a full copy of our 2020 Social Impact Report

A Year of Transformation by Michael Kramer

One from the Heart: A Tribute to Jack Brill by Hal Brill

2020 Sustainable & Responsible Impact

2020 Shareholder Advocacy Review

2020 Regenerative Investments

Putting Equity at the Center of our Organizational Culture by Carrie VanWinkle

Spotlight: Kachuwa Impact Fund by Brady Quirk-Garvan

Spotlight: New Summit Investments by Ryan Jones-Casey

Spotlight: RUNWAY  by Nicole Middleton Holloway

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2020: A Year of Transformation

Crisis and opportunity have an interesting partnership. They don’t always go together, but when they do, they can catalyze powerful change in individuals, countries, and human civilization. Many forces converged in 2020 to create such a dynamic—a global pandemic, heightened attention to racism, extreme weather events and accompanying natural disasters, the disruption of democratic norms by a white supremacist authoritarian president, the proliferation of misinformation and conspiracy theories, and, finally, a historic election.

The year 2020 demanded resilience, and while we surely felt tested on many levels and tried to hold onto our center, many of us found ourselves reflecting on the meaning of life and then acting to change our own lives and work harder to build a just, equitable, and sustainable society.

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2020: Sustainable and Responsible Impact

Despite the massive economic and social disruption wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, governments and investors continued to buoy the capital markets. Conscientious investors saw the opportunity to channel their money into funds supporting families and small businesses in crisis. Last year, Natural Investments and our clients held $785M in responsibly managed assets, representing a 21% increase from the prior year.

We directed a significant proportion of our client investments (approximately $541M) toward responsibly managed mutual funds and separately managed accounts that use ESG integration strategies. Applying environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria helps us screen out firms with the worst corporate behavior, an approach that minimizes poor performance risk, as shown by numerous studies.

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2020 Shareholder Advocacy Review

Natural Investments plays a proactive role within our industry by facilitating positive economic, social, and environmental change. One of the ways we push for the transformation we want to see is through shareholder engagement with companies, as well as advocacy with elected officials and federal agency commissioners on matters of public policy.

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2020 Regenerative Investments

Natural Investments has regenerative investments with forty-nine companies and funds that create social and environmental benefits in response to some of our society’s most pressing challenges. Regenerative, in this context, refers to private equity and debt investment opportunities with an explicit mission for positive societal and environmental impact. As of 2020, Natural Investment clients devoted $110M to regenerative investing, a 19 percent increase from the prior year.

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Spotlight: Kachuwa Impact Fund

Kachuwa Impact Fund is an investment cooperative and public benefit corporation focused on owning and operating “impact real estate” and investing in privately held “impact companies.” As a cooperative, Kachuwa is democratically owned and controlled by its members. Brady Quirk- Garvan of Natural Investments recently met with Blake Jones, founder of Kachuwa Impact Fund, to talk about what makes Kachuwa unique.

Brady Quirk-Garvan: What exactly is Kachuwa Impact Fund’s approach to investing?

Blake Jones: By design, at least 60 percent of Kachuwa’s assets are real estate and no more than 40 percent of its assets are investments. Kachuwa is like a real estate investment trust (REIT) combined with a mutual fund. Our diversified holdings have a positive impact on society and the environment. Kachuwa’s goal is not to maximize financial return; instead, it is to create positive impact while earning reasonable returns for its members that may be considered “below-market.”

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Spotlight: New Summit Investments

One of the primary challenges facing investors seeking to make market-rate, high impact investments outside public markets is that most private investment structures have high minimum-investment requirements, often above $1,000,000 per investment, that put this type of investing out of reach for many investors.

To address this barrier, New Summit pioneered a private high-impact “fund of funds” model that provides a typical New Summit investor with exposure to 10-12 underlying private fund investments.

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Spotlight: RUNWAY

RUNWAY was founded in 2017 by leaders in the women of color entrepreneurship ecosystem to help provide “friends and family”- style capital, expertise, and mentorship to Black businesses who are vitally important to the communities they serve yet continue to face many barriers to building their businesses.

Since launching its first pilot program in partnership with Self Help Federal Credit Union in Oakland, Calif., with a modest $500,000, RUNWAY has since expanded nationally and now directs several million dollars to support Black businesses on both coasts. As a 100% Black and Brown-women led financial innovation firm, RUNWAY is a great example of an innovative impact investment group

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2019 Social Impact Report

Download a full PDF copy of our 2019 Social Impact Report

Intentional Growth, Deeper Commitment by Michael Kramer

2019 Overall SRI Impact

2019 Shareholder Advocacy Review

2019 Regenerative Investments

Progress on Private Prison Divestment by Kirbie Crowe

Divest, Then Reinvest by Scott Secrest

Spotlight: First Nations Oweesta by James Frazier

Spotlight: The Ujima Fund by Kate Poole

Spotlight: Ecotrust Forest Management by Malaika Maphalala

Mitigating Our Carbon Impact by Christopher Peck

 

 

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2018 Social Impact Report

A Year of Emerging Leadership: 2018 Reflections, by Michael Kramer

2018 Notable Highlights

2018 ESG & Advocacy

Carbon Offsets: Making a Positive Climate Impact, by Christopher Peck

Profile: Green Century Capital Management, by Brady Quirk-Garvan

Profile: American Homeowners Preservation Fund, by Amy Pender

Profile: Blue Hub Capital, by James Frazier

Profile: Calvert Impact Capital, by Susan K. Taylor

Profile: Iroquois Valley Farms, by Andy Loving

Download a full PDF copy of our 2018 Social Impact Report

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