Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem

The Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem is a network of investors, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profits who are using capitalism to drive positive change in the world through impact investing.

What does the Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem look like?

Thanks to the support and partnership of the Bush Foundation, we have been partnered with Cogent Consulting to map the Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem. Click here to interact with the ecosystem map and to learn more about the project. Map-imp inv

What is impact investing?

The Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem uses the World Economic Forum’s language for defining impact investing as an investment approach intentionally seeking to create both positive financial return as well as positive social or environmental impact that is actively measured. By this definition an impact investment could be an equity investment in a social enterprise, a program related investment (PRI) to a local not-for-profit, a loan to a community development financial institution (CDFI), or a retirement account investing in a fixed income bond fund that seeks and measures social impact. As long as the investor is intentionally seeking a social return and the social impact of the investment is being measured, the investment is an impact investment.

Who is part of the impact investing ecosystem?

The impact investing ecosystem is the sum of four types of organizations and individuals:
  • Sources of Capital — The sources of capital are organizations or individuals who control their own funds which they use to make impact investments. This category includes private foundations, venture capitalists, and both accredited and unaccredited investors.
  • End Users of Capital — The end users of capital are the organizations that convert capital into social impact. These organizations include not-for-profits and social enterprises.
  • Intermediaries of Capital — The intermediaries of capital act as a bridge between the sources of capital and the end users of capital. Like sources of capital, intermediaries make impact investments into end users of capital. However, unlike sources they are dependent on external funding. For example, a CDFI might act as an intermediary between private foundations and local entrepreneurs. The CDFI would receive loans from the foundations which it would use to make smaller loans to entrepreneurs. Intermediaries can take the form of CDFI’s, financial advisors, banks, or funds.
  • Field Builder — The fourth category of the ecosystem is not exclusive from the other three. A field builder in the impact investing ecosystem is an organization that is doing any kind of work to grow or mainstream impact investing. While the definition of field builder has not been agreed upon, the Bush Foundation has a working definition that I like best. They define a field builder as one that does any of the following activities in relation to impact investing:
    • Provides critical data and analysis
    • Spreads great ideas and builds capacity
    • Advances public awareness and policy
    • Builds and supports leadership networks

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The Impact Investing Community of Practice is for those who are either a source of capital, an intermediary enterprise, or a field builder and understand the need for mutual trust and respect within the group.