Using finance as a tool for social change
Leveraging each investment for good
Awaken Cafe is becoming an institution in Oakland. At its core, an espresso bar, organic cafe, performance & event space, live music venue and art gallery in the heart of the new downtown, with the mission of bringing people together to launch movements. Social movements often start at a table over a shared meal. Awaken serves as a nurturing meeting spot for entrepreneurs, artists and change makers all coming together to share ideas and strategies for revitalizing our Oakland neighborhoods. I like that Awaken is committed to local, organic and community, and honestly, it’s fun to be an investor in an awesome local gathering spot!
Ecosystem Integrity Fund
The Ecosystem Integrity Fund is a venture fund focused on generating significant financial returns by investing in companies that enable greater environmental sustainability. The EIF team seeks to achieve this goal by identifying real businesses in mostly overlooked industry segments—businesses that have effective, in-demand, and scalable solutions—by providing these businesses with the capital, strategic perspective, and hands-on management they need to succeed.
I met Devin, co-founder of the fund, and found him to be full of integrity. I then looked at the companies chosen and was impressed with their choices, decision-making process, and spectrum of solution oriented thinking and products. Shortly after I invested, they launched their second fund, and I have invested in that as well.
Farm Fresh To You
The Capay Farm Fresh To You Green Loan Program helps deliver organic produce to your home or office from local family farms. This loan goes out to local farmers, and all clients of Capay are invited to participate, fostering community and transparency about what our money is actually doing.
I like organic produce in a box, all the better when it's delivered to your door. I particularly like that this loan goes out to local farmers, expanding their potential. I also appreciate that all clients of Capay are invited to participate at an entry level of $2k, fostering accessibility, community and transparency. Also, what other investment lets you decide between an interest rate in cash, or will pay you in super fresh organic produce!?
Farmland LP is a private REIT, acquiring conventional farmland and converting it to certified organic farmland by using sustainable agriculture best practices. The regenerative land management techniques result in optimal soil and plant health obtained without using chemical inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, etc.), increasing the productivity of the land while keeping operational costs low for farmers. Its innovative business model allows Farmland LP to fulfill its mission of delivering solid returns to investors while helping build a sustainable, healthy, local food system for the future.
As a 5th generation Californian from a ranching family, I believe in sustainable farming practices. I was happy to find an investment where for profit dollars would be used to convert farmland using sustainable practices.
Kubé Nice Cream
Kubé Nice Cream is a local artisan-food-producer of raw, plant based, hand-crafted, coconut cream "nice cream" in the Bay Area, California. The standard international pasteurization process of coconut cream and milk uses a toxic preservative and bleaching chemical called sodium metabisulfite. Kubé is the emerging leader in harnessing the power of raw, unpasteurized coconut cream. Kubé believes that real, fresh and healthy foods, without chemicals, support healthier outcomes for all people and for the earth.
Nia Global Solutions
Nia Global Solutions brings the concept of Impact Investing to public markets, offering investors a managed portfolio of publicly traded stocks that harness the innovative social purposes of capitalism. The portfolio is carefully constructed of companies that create meaningful outcomes, not only for its investors, but for people and the planet too.
I was drawn to create Nia Global Solutions as a way to bring conscious investing to the public markets. At Nia we engage in a very careful due diligence process looking at solution-driven products, run by diverse management teams. We are unique in that we bring activism into the public markets by engaging with both our chosen companies as well as those who do not make our buy list for the portfolio. NGS will also donate a percentage of profits to those non-profit organizations who are working on issues of corporate accountability.
Red Bay Coffee
Red Bay Coffee is building a global community through their commitment to sourcing, developing, roasting and delivering the best and most beautiful coffee to the people. They focus on creating opportunities within the community at large while fostering single origin, fair trade, direct trade, organic and sustainable coffees. They believe in the creation of a value chain emphasizing ethics and diversity, not just a supply and demand chain. They envision a world in which coffee is a vehicle for inclusion, social and economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, innovation, and environmental sustainability.
Renewal2 and Renewal3 funds are diversified social venture funds investing capital for the development of underfunded sectors that are critical to a sustainable economy. Renewal funds invests in change by supporting businesses at the forefront of social and environmental innovation, infusing both capital and operating guidance to the organic food sector.
I love both the concept of Renewal as well as the founding team and their long history of investing for social change and environmental sustainability. I am excited to be invested in both Renewal2 and Renewal3.