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Why we created Untold Returns:
Adventures in Impact Investing

Impact investing is about making a difference and earning responsible returns. But achieving that double bottom line doesn’t come easily. We want to spread the word that smart investments with a conscience work. That’s why we created Untold Returns.

The Untapped Potential of Impact Investing

In their annual survey, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) found there’s currently about $228 billion AUM in impact investments globally.1 That’s a lot, but let’s put it in context. More than $81 trillion is invested worldwide – meaning impact investments represent less than one percent of all investments. Even if you narrow it down to domestic investments, private investors in the U.S. have over $47 trillion under management.2 Meanwhile, donors in the U.S. gave $410 billion to charity in 2017 – close to double the amount in impact investments worldwide. Right now, impact investing is a rounding error. Yet its potential is immeasurable. Here’s why:

  • Developing countries face an annual $2.5 trillion investment gap in key sustainable development sectors (SDG)3
  • To look at one SDG – Sustainable Cities and Communities – the number of people living in “slum” conditions rose to 883 million between 2000 and 2014
  • The U.S. alone has a shortage of more than 7 million affordable, available rental homes4
  • Think tanks have identified impact investing as a viable solution to America's talent gap, with the goal of getting more Americans post-secondary education5

The simple truth is that trillions of dollars are needed to solve the world’s challenges – far more than government grants and philanthropy combined can ever provide.

Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., believes impact investing is the answer – or at least part of it. We’ve seen first-hand the benefits of this type of investment for communities and investors alike. When investors can look forward to creating measurable social impact while pursuing risk-adjusted returns, they’re much more likely to direct their money toward causes that need help. And there are plenty.

Finding the Hidden Opportunities

While impact investing is still relatively young (the phrase was only coined about a decade ago6), the opportunities for investors to find causes that speak to them abound. Whether you’re motivated by environmental issues such as climate change, flood management or conservation, or social issues such as poverty, hunger, housing, or education, this rapidly growing sector is offering more and more ways to put your money to work to make a difference while also earning a potential return.

But connecting more of the available capital with problems that need solving will take two things: greater awareness among investors of instruments with a double bottom line, and greater understanding on the part of wealth advisors and community foundation investors of what to look for in this quickly growing field. This is why Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., created Untold Returns: Adventures in Impact Investing. It’s why we’re thrilled to have Bethany McLean, an award-winning financial journalist, host the program. And it’s why we’re glad you’re here. The easier it is for you – and financial professionals like you – to identify the varied impact investment opportunities that are out there, the better off the world will be.

Thanks for listening.

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