Industry’s first publicly available, searchable resource of impact investing fund managers reveals a growing market and innovative managers.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 23, 2021—The Open Road Impact Fund (ORIF), the first investment fund designed to provide short-term bridge loans to help social entrepreneurs move from impasse to impact, has been named to the ImpactAssets 50 2021 Emerging Impact Manager List.
ImpactAssets 50 2021 (IA 50) is a free online database for impact investors, family offices, financial advisors and institutional investors that features a diversified listing of private capital fund managers delivering social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.
Created by Open Road Alliance, ORIF is a $40 million fund that provides short-term bridge loans to social impact organizations that run into unexpected obstacles on their path to scale, thereby ensuring that these businesses survive and thrive. ORIF is the only impact investing fund to focus on filling discrete, short-term gaps in the social sector.
Recognized for its unique approach and proven track record, ORIF is the first fund by Open Road that is open to outside investors, including family offices, foundations, and impact-first investors. The Fund will disburse $100 million in bridge loans to 200 social enterprises in its first five years — keeping $1 billion of impact on track while providing investors with a financial return.
As Open Road’s CEO, Maya Winkelstein, reflects, “in the time of COVID and other macro-uncertainty, it’s been a privilege to provide the fast, flexible, and often urgent capital needed by social entrepreneurs to adapt to the new normal. Being named an Emerging Impact Manager by Impact Assets is yet further validation that this kind of bridge financing is a good bet for investors and an essential tool for achieving impact at scale.”
As the market leader in social sector emergency bridge funding, the Impact Fund was well equipped to disburse millions of dollars in critical bridge capital to social organizations in need upon the start of COVID-19 and now the resulting economic crisis. The impact of the Fund is felt in organizations across sectors, including a healthcare firm that was able to expand its telemedicine offerings to vulnerable populations in New Jersey; East Africa’s largest tilapia farm, which provides 20 million high-protein meals to local communities; and an education company that accelerated its expansion into Ghana — all amid the global pandemic.
“When we launched the IA 50, we knew there was tremendous potential for impact investing, but realized many interested investors weren't aware of the incredible range of impact fund managers available to them. As the field has evolved, we have also become aware of the large number of innovative fund managers not identified via our traditional networks," said Jed Emerson, ImpactAssets Senior Fellow and IA 50 Review Committee Chair. “More recently, we have expanded the lens of our process to capture more breadth and diversity of impact fund managers and in doing so have also chronicled the progress made by impact investors as well as the work that still needs to be done.”
The IA 50’s Emerging Impact Manager list, which debuted in 2020 and spotlights newer fund managers that demonstrate potential to create meaningful impact, also saw significant growth. The number of emerging fund managers across a variety of themes and geographies included in this year’s list grew to 41, up from 16 managers in 2020. Total AUM increased to $917 million, up from $397 million last year.
“The growth we’ve seen in the IA 50 over the past decade is reflective of the growth, maturity, and increased diversity of the impact investing industry as a whole,” added Sandra Osborne Kartt, CFA, Director, Investments, ImpactAssets. “Along with the Emeritus and Emerging Impact Manager lists, this year’s IA 50 represents the vast array of impact themes and strategies available to impact investors today.”
In addition to Emerson and Osborne Kartt, the IA 50 Review Committee is comprised of an expanded group of impact investment experts and leaders, including Lauren Booker Allen, Senior Vice President, Impact Advisory, Jordan Park Group; Mark Berryman, Managing Director of Impact Investing, The CAPROCK Group; Ronald A. Homer, Chief Strategist, Impact Investing, RBC Global Asset Management (US) Inc.; Karl "Charly" Kleissner, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Toniic and KL Felicitas Foundation; Malaika Maphalala, CPWA® Private Wealth Advisor, Natural Investments, LLC; Cynthia Muller, Director of Mission Investment, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Rehana Nathoo, Founder & CEO, Spectrum Impact; Stephanie Cohn Rupp, CEO and Partner, Veris Wealth Partners; Fran Seegull, Executive Director, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, Ford Foundation; Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative; Julia Sze, CFA, Impact Investor, Julia W. Sze Consulting and Margret Trilli, President and CIO, ImpactAssets.
Osborne Kartt and Jennifer Kenning, CEO and Co-Founder of Align Impact and IA 50 Senior Investment Advisor, led the ImpactAssets and Align Impact Investment teams in the application scoring and analysis process.
About the Open Road Impact Fund
The Open Road Impact Fund is a $40 million fund launched in September 2019 by Open Road Alliance. The Fund provides short-term bridge loans to established social enterprises experiencing an unexpected, externally caused cash crunch on their path to scale. Built on the proven track record of Open Road Alliance, the Impact Fund is the first fund by Open Road that is open to outside investors, including family offices, foundations, and impact-first investors. It is currently the only impact investing fund to focus on filling discrete, short-term gaps in the social sector. In its first five years, the Fund will disburse $100 million in bridge loans to 200 social enterprises—keeping $1 billion of impact on track while providing investors with a financial return.
To learn more, please visit: https://openroadalliance.org/investors/
About Open Road Alliance
Open Road Alliance serves the social sector by keeping impact on track in an unpredictable world. Founded in 2012, Open Road helps nonprofits and social enterprises overcome obstacles to impact. From small startup solar companies in Tanzania to human rights organizations in Syria, Open Road Alliance works across geographies and sectors. As the market leader in social sector bridge funding, our goal is to ensure innovative efforts to address the world’s greatest challenges can carry on without interruption. We do this by offering fast, flexible funding via charitable grants and loans. Open Road Alliance has provided 300+ grants and loans to 250+ organizations across 60+ countries, keeping more than $500 million of impact on track.
To learn more, please visit: https://openroadalliance.org
About the ImpactAssets 50
The IA 50 is the first publicly available database that provides a gateway into the world of impact investing for investors and their financial advisors, offering an easy way to identify experienced impact investment firms and explore the landscape of potential investment options. The IA 50 is intended to illustrate the breadth of impact investment fund managers operating today, though it is not a comprehensive list. Firms have been selected to demonstrate a wide range of impact investing activities across geographies, sectors and asset classes.
The IA 50 is not an index or investable platform and does not constitute an offering or recommend specific products. It is not a replacement for due diligence. In order to be considered for the IA 50 2021, fund managers needed to have at least $25 million in assets under management, more than three years of experience as a firm with impact investing, documented social and/or environmental impact and be available for US investment. Additional details on the selection process are available here.
The IA 50 Emerging Impact Manager list is intended to spotlight newer fund managers that may demonstrate future potential to create meaningful impact. Criteria such as minimum track record or minimum assets under management may not be applicable.
The IA 50 Emeritus Impact Manager list illuminates impact fund managers who have achieved consistent recognition on the IA 50.
ImpactAssets is the leading impact investing partner for individuals, families and philanthropists tackling the world’s greatest challenges by investing in the world’s brightest ideas. We make it easy for our clients to “discover, connect and invest” in game-changing entrepreneurs and funds. Founded in 2010, ImpactAssets increases flows of money to impact investing with our 100% impact investment platform and field-building initiatives, including the IA 50 database of private debt and equity impact fund managers.
The ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund is an innovative vehicle that empowers donors to increase the impact of their giving by combining it with strategic, sustainable and responsible investing to build a sophisticated philanthropic endowment. The Fund currently has more than $1.4 billion in assets in 1,400 donor advised funds, working with 350 wealth advisors across 60 financial services firms.
Learn more at www.impactassets.org
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