One of the roles of the IRI is to connect different stakeholders in the responsible investing community, and this year we’ve been excited to work with Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) students who are leading the Impact Investing Study Group (IISG).
An initiative between IRI Director David Wood and HKS MPA students John Griffith and Anubha Shrivastava, the IISG is comprised of around 70 students across HKS, HBS, HLS and GSD with some professional and/or academic background in impact investing. Throughout the year, the IISG has convened a series of roundtable...
Rebuilding disinvested communities takes more than money. Rather, as research done by the Initiative for Responsible Investment (IRI) at the Harvard Kennedy School has shown, places that have been starved of resources for extended periods of time often lack the policies, practices, or relationships they need to effectively leverage existing or new resources.
IRI's capital absorption framework not only recognizes that there is a complex system that governs how resources flow into communities, it also provides a way to think beyond individual transactions to identify changes at a system level so that investment is used more effectively to achieve community goals. Potential system-level interventions can include bringing new partners to the table, identifying new resources that can be provided by existing partners, creating different ways of doing business, and changing the policies and relationships that determine the allocation of money and other resources.
Many of these approaches are central to strategies used in collaborative initiatives carried out by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that have been funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s PRO Neighborhoods program. The growing collaboration among CDFIs—which can be banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions that have a primary mission to provide access to financial services in low-income communities—have included the development of joint products and services, efforts to share risk and expertise, jointly developed new technologies, and the development of larger scale projects which could attract additional investors.
In light of the recent White House proposal on infrastructure, now may be a good time for investors to consider what makes infrastructure investment responsible, or “high road”. The current proposal is reportedly focused on incentivizing private sector investment in infrastructure, rather than providing a large federal spending package or a revenue producing proposal, like increasing the gas tax. With this framework, investors may see an uptick in infrastructure fund-raising. Indeed, investors may have an opportunity at this moment to signal what kinds of infrastructure investments they consider investable. Two recent publications may be helpful to those considering investments that both meet their long-term risk-return profile, and properly include consideration of relevant ESG factors and collateral community benefits.... Read more about Investing in “High Road” Infrastructure
Pension trustees gathered at the Harvard Kennedy School in June for the Trustee Leadership Forum for Retirement Security's Annual Convening. The TLF hosted 60 trustees and welcomed guests from Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, and South Africa. Running through the three days of convenings was a mission to elevate the "S in ESG", or, more specifically, how to protect people in investments. Priya Mathur (CalPERS), David Wood (IRI), Jose Meijer (APB), and Hughes LeTourneau (CWC) all shed light on this topic and shared their work. Collaboration was another theme that resonated, in particular around investment in "high road" infrastructure. Thanks to our special guest speakers Jose Meijer, Michael McCarthy, representatives of the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative, and Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg.
Small cities across the state of Massachusetts, from Lawrence and Fall River to Chicopee and Pittsfield, are facing many of the same economic challenges we saw highlighted during the 2016 election across the Rust Belt and upper Midwest. Many of these “Gateway” or “Working” cities in Massachusetts were founded on a strong manufacturing base, which declined over the latter half of the 20th century, leaving behind economic stagnation and declining population. While many of these cities today are seeing increased attention as a result of their regional importance (Pittsfield and Springfield) or rising populations from immigration, they still lag the state averages in household income and educational attainment.... Read more about Investing in Small Cities: Capital Absorption in Massachusetts