The portfolio models from the Bay Area Impact Investing Initiative’s research is highlighted in Cornerstone Capital’s Journal of Sustainable Finance and Banking. This article summarizes the in-depth research into building place-based impact-oriented investment opportunities, particularly for the San Francisco Bay Area. By collaborating on the due diligence, encouraging deal flow, and keeping to high fiduciary standards, we can build a family of funds that would have a diverse set of impacts in and around the Bay Area. Corporate governance and shareholder activism focused on the largest Bay Area public companies/employers can influence corporate affairs in our own backyard, particularly around Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors. A place-based fixed income fund could be built from local/regional publicly traded bonds – corporate, public (state/city/regional), infrastructure including housing, education and transit, as well as a continuum of business and non-profit lending, local and direct. Likewise, real estate would include sustainable real estate investing in commercial, residential and public properties. Long term infrastructure funds as well as private investment (equity and debt) funds could address additional impact goals: water infrastructure, transit-oriented affordable housing development, cleaner energy, more access to broadband, etc., while creating new jobs.
Building a virtual and physical presence as a regional capital clearinghouse can connect not only investment dollars but also grant dollars, public support, mission-and-program related investments (PRIs and MRIs) by foundations, and align with a common mission for our own backyard. The research suggests that even 1% of all investable funds based or created in the Bay Area could supply hundreds of millions of dollars for profound local impact so that the Bay Area can remain a prosperous, sustainable region for everyone.