These New Funds Let You Invest According To Your Values–And Help Nonprofits

Source: These New Funds Let You Invest According To Your Values–And Help Nonprofits

New funds endorsed by the YWCA and the NAACP, which focus on companies with high grades on treatment of women and African-Americans, also give back to the nonprofits themselves.

If you don’t like the idea of investing in companies with poor records on issues like sexual harassment in the workplace or gender diversity in boardrooms, here’s a new option for you. The Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment ETF, launching in the first quarter of 2018, only contains the shares of companies with high grades on women’s issues.

The ETF, or Exchange Traded Fund, is one several impact-themed funds being launched by a Texas startup called Impact Shares next year, each with the name of a well-known nonprofit attached (the initial ETF is actually backed by YWCA Metropolitan Chicago). The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is also launching an ETF that empowers people of color through hiring, remuneration, and promotion policies. And others like Oxfam and Habitat for Humanity may not be long behind. They are in discussions with Impact Shares about ETFs around global poverty alleviation and affordable housing. ETFs are made up of basket of stocks, but unlike conventional index or mutual funds, they are tradable like common stocks. That potentially opens impact investing to more people.

Ethan Powell, founder of Impact Shares, says the nonprofits see potential for influencing corporate behavior. “There is a tremendous amount of power that comes from capital allocation and [in how investors spend their money],” he says. “Our investors are aligning their capital with a nonprofit that is really steeped in the issue that they care about.”

Stocks in the YWCA ETF are analyzed by Equileap, a gender-focused investment research group. It scores companies across 18 metrics, from their policies on harassment and employee protection, to those on equal pay, and the proportion of women in senior management. Its latest public report, covering 3,048 global companies, shows cosmetics giant L’Oreal, media company Pearson, and National Australia Bank in the first three places. The first U.S. company listed is Merck, in 18th place. Banks score well generally, with heavy industrial and energy companies tending to score worst.

Powell, who is based in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, says it wasn’t easy to persuade the nonprofits to get involved in finance. Despite the opportunity to influence corporate behavior, they were wary of collaborating with Wall Street.

“The big challenge for us is really in educating the nonprofits and getting them to embrace a new concept,” Powell says. “There’s a culture clash between the nonprofits and what is effectively Wall Street. Generally, they have a level of distrust towards corporate America and definitively Wall Street, which has a reputation for being self-serving.”

The nonprofits are willing to lend their names, though, because they benefit from the ETFs. Once Impact Shares, which is itself also a nonprofit, covers its own costs, it is donating all of its advisory fees to the groups. Powell estimates the partner organizations could get about $500,000 in donations for every $100 million dollars invested in their ETFs.

“For nonprofits creating the ETFs, like the NAACP and the YWCA, there is an opportunity to create engagement with large corporations and investors to drive social change,” says Saadia Madsbjerg, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation, which awarded Impact Shares a $300,000 grant last summer as part of its Zero Gap impact finance innovation program.

“It’s something that the nonprofits traditionally haven’t tried before and the ETFs also provides a sustainable source of funding for the nonprofits at a time when that money is desperately needed,” she says.

Investors who are interested in using their money for positive change have a growing range of possibilities these days, including managed funds that screen for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and robo-advisers that pick stocks algorithmically. Powell says impact-themed ETFs are a flexible option for people with moderate means: the minimum investment is just $20. Similar ETFs already exist, including State Street’s SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (or “SHE”), though they don’t have national nonprofits behind them.

Single-issue investing in complicated organizations may be an inexact approach. A company that does well by its women may still do bad things, after all. But the new ETFs promise market-rate, “S&P 500-like” returns while rewarding companies that do better on social issues. “We’re giving the investing public a way to engage in an issue and use their capital to not only generate a return for themselves but also to incentivize social changes,” Powell says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

Global sustainable investments grow 25% to $23 trillion | Bloomberg Professional Services

Source: Global sustainable investments grow 25% to $23 trillion | Bloomberg Professional Services

This article was written by Laura Colby from Bloomberg Briefs. It appeared first on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Global socially responsible investments grew by a quarter to $23 trillion over the last two years, with particularly strong gains in China, Japan and Australia and New Zealand.

While every region reported growth in socially responsible assets over the 24 months ending Dec. 31, 2015, the overall pace slowed from the 61 percent growth reported in the prior two-year period, according to a biennial survey by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.

GSIA gathers results from regional sustainable investment groups around the world, tracking professionally managed funds that use responsible investing criteria. It includes impact investment and environmental, social, governance funds as well as portfolios that simply exclude weapons manufacturers or gambling companies. Those so-called exclusionary strategies represented $15 trillion — more than half of the assets studied.

The growth far outpaced that of invested assets under management broadly, which stalled in 2015 at about $71.4 trillion, according to Boston Consulting Group. While the vast majority of socially responsible investments are still held by pension funds and other institutions, retail investors now account for 26 percent, up from 13 percent at the end of 2013.

Happiness From Being Generous Has a Neural Basis Within the Brain – Seeker

Source: Happiness From Being Generous Has a Neural Basis Within the Brain – Seeker

In a study on the psychology of giving, MRI scans revealed that an area of the brain linked to generosity triggered a response in another part related to happiness. 

Ground Breaking Study on Domestic Sex Trafficking

By Excellence in Giving
Sex Trafficking has become the issue du jour in America during the past decade. The amount of legislation, coalitions, nonprofits, campus clubs, and documentaries focused on the issue have proliferated. With such an extensive amount of attention, what gaps still exist for donors to address? Excellence in Giving has spent the past year reviewing every study, interviewing sector leaders, and completing brand new research to answer that question.

So many urban legends about “100,000 trafficking victims in the USA with only 100 beds to care for survivors” have been circulated that it is time to set the record straight on what we do know, what we don’t know, and what we just discovered about the extent of the social sector’s role in the fight against domestic sex trafficking.

Did you know?

  • About 100 charities focus the majority of their work on domestic sex trafficking but that number more than doubled from 2011 to 2016 fueled by the 161% increase in private funding from 2010 to 2014
  • 88% of trafficking survivors had contact with healthcare workers while enslaved so training medical personnel how to recognize and respond to signs can rescue more victims
  • Sex traffickers believe selling sex is safer than selling drugs, and “Johns” who pay for sex have no fear of repercussions for posting online about the sexual favors received at 6,339 illicit massage parlors in the USA

Check out our entire ground-breaking study of The Fight Against Domestic Sex Trafficking.

ABOUT: Excellence in Giving’s Research team can identify key data trends for any topic ranging from homelessness in Houston to poverty alleviation in India. Gaps in services are identified so strategic funders can invest where action is needed to make progress solving a problem they care about. The goal is not just to understand an issue or categorize contributing factors to the problem, but to acquire actionable intelligence. Good research leads to smarter giving. Check out our Research & Evaluation Services.

Donations Grew 1.4% to $390 Billion, Says ‘Giving USA’

Charitable giving hit a record high for the third straight year in 2016, reaching $390.1 billion, according to “Giving USA,” an annual study that estimates American philanthropy. However, donations rose at a slower rate than in recent years — 1.4 percent — as key economic indicators grew modestly and a divisive election season sowed uncertainty.

Giving from living individuals, which for years has made up more than 70 percent of donations, rose to $281.9 billion, a 2.6 increase from 2015. That growth rate, though modest compared to recent years, helped offset a 10 percent loss in giving from bequests, which totaled $30.4 billion last year.

Foundation and corporate giving saw modest gains, with each increasing by a little more than 2 percent, to $59.3 billion and $18.6 billion, respectively.

Giving by foundations is the highest it’s been, according to the report, even after adjusting for inflation, but companies have yet to reach a prerecession high of $18.7 billion in donations, set in 2005. That might be explained by a shift in thinking about corporate philanthropy, said Una Osili, director of research at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which conducted the study for the Giving Institute.

In their philanthropy plans, some companies have focused more heavily on sponsorships, cause marketing, and volunteering opportunities for employees, which aren’t captured in “Giving USA” data, Ms. Osili said.

Slow Growth

Giving appears to have been affected by slower growth in key metrics like disposable income and personal consumption that are closely linked to philanthropy. Stock-market performance was strong in the final weeks of 2016, but market results were more mixed the rest of the year, which may have also reined in donors.

Last year “didn’t look like such a robust year” for economic measures tied to giving, Ms. Osili said.

Political and economic uncertainly may have also influenced giving in a year marked by a raucous U.S. election campaign and disruptive world events like Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Still, Ms. Osili said it’s hard to know exactly what impact the elections or any one event had on giving.

Total giving represented 2.1 percent of gross domestic product last year, the same proportion as the previous two years but slightly above the 1.9 percent average for the past 40 years.

The overall growth rate in “Giving USA” is close to a February 2017 estimate by fundraising-software company Blackbaud, which reported that giving grew 1 percent last year.

The numbers are “Giving USA” researchers’ first estimates for 2016 giving; the figures will be amended over the next two years as researchers receive updated data.

Uncertain 2017

It’s unclear how giving will fare in 2017. Gross domestic product grew at its slowest pace in three years in the first quarter of 2017, and as of mid-May the S&P 500 had seen returns of 6.5 percent, down from a 9.5 percent increase for all of 2016 (but well above 2015’s sub-1 percent gain). “The big message is that it’s a mixed picture” so far, Ms. Osili said.

Source: Donations Grew 1.4% to $390 Billion, Says ‘Giving USA’ – The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Path to Strategic Philanthropy Part 1

This is the first of a series of posts from TrustBridge Global on Strategic Philanthropy.  The people of TrustBridge Global have decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge and expertise in charitable giving. This series is intended to be a value-added resource – worth your time to read.

Many of the families we’ve served share a common journey from “reactive check writing” to proactive strategic philanthropy. Along the way they experience greater joy as their giving has greater impact on the causes they are passionate about – while benefiting their business and their family. What does that look like and how does one get on that path?

Moving to Strategic Philanthropy is well worth the effort. It is a huge subject area that would fill many books, but it’s possible to summarize the most basic tenets:

  1. It Starts With Passion – When you think about your community, another country or the world in general, what makes you angry? What is your calling? What ignites your passions? This passion (or these passions) could be yours or a fusion of your family’s interests. Ultimately, it leads towards a vision of creating change. For example: Sara’s passion is anti-human trafficking as a result of her travels in Eastern Europe. She is energized by the vision of putting an end to this horrific crime.
  2. Narrowing the Focus – What issue? Where? Who? Example: Realizing she cannot be everywhere and do everything, Sara narrows her focus: a) combating sex trafficking of b) young women in c) Belarus.
  3. Your Unique Approach – Based on your personality, preferences and resources, you will arrive at an approach to change that is unique. Are you hands on? How much resource can you supply? Do you want to supply other resources such as time, influence in addition to money? Go it alone or partner with others? Sara is a busy executive, so partnering and/or funding an existing program is a must. She is willing to add some of her influence as a business owner, plus would want ways to involve her husband and adult children.
  4. Specific Theory of Change – Continuing to research possible activities, narrowing to realistic and specific goals and defining hoped-for outcomes leads to a theory of change. One of Sara’s theories of change is that empowering at-risk people to make informed decisions about migration abroad will reduce the number of young women tricked into sex trafficking. One of Sara’s children finds a successful program in the Ukraine, so Sara partners with La Strada Belarus to provide educational programs and a 24 hour hotline so young women can investigate and find resources for legitimate and safe overseas opportunities. For USD 50,000, Sara helps fund trainers to visit 1,000 secondary and vocational schools and for another USD 150,000 helps underwrite a billboard campaign to promote the hotline’s awareness for one year. The hoped-for outcome is that awareness of the dangers of international migration and the hotline will rise to 90% among the roughly 700,000 women between 15-29 years of age.
  5. Evaluation and Iteration – Theories by definition are still conjectural and subject to experimentation. As we put our theory of change into action, outcomes need to be evaluated and iterative adjustments to the program. A survey drive six months into the program collects awareness data as well as anecdotal evidence of successful and unsuccessful outcomes. The NGO feels that radio would be an effective addition to raise awareness and Sara adds an additional USD 70,000 for a radio advertising campaign for the hotline.

At best, this is a crude framework for a subject area and process that has many important sub-disciplines. How can lasting change be established by developing indigenous leadership? How can theories of change be originated by locals instead of outsiders? How can one find charities to trust? How can one approach philanthropy as a truly integrated function of one’s business? How can giving be harnessed as a powerful transmitter of healthy family values? These and other topics will be addressed in future emails.

Strategic Philanthropy can mean the difference between throwing money around reactively and deriving real impact, meaning and joy in giving. But it’s a daunting process for busy families. TrustBridge Global serves you as your personal foundation staff – use our time and expertise to organize your giving and become more proactive Ultimately, it’s about giving on your own agenda, not the agenda of others – and TrustBridge is your guide and servant for your journey. Email or call me if you want to know more.

TrustBridge Global is now open!

February 28, 2017

For years, a small group of visionary men and women have been dreaming of a donor-advised fund charity built from the ground up to be truly global.  Today, that dream is reality!

Headquartered in Switzerland, we believe TrustBridge Global Foundation is the first open, flexible donor-advised fund in Continental Europe.  TGF also serves as the hub of a growing global network of foundations and charities in Bermuda, USA, South Africa and Hong Kong.  Our twofold purpose is 1) to build Generous Communities by serving business owners and families as their personal foundation and 2) to use our Global Networks to facilitate fast, efficient and easy cross border giving and impact investing worldwide.

Thank you for celebrating with us!

TrustBridge Global Foundation – Generous Communities. Global Networks. Better Life.

A life of service is a life worth swiping – The Straits Times

It’s not all about you, you of the digital generation. Service to others is key to a fulfilled life.

In today’s highly competitive Singapore, many high-fliers want to achieve – but my question for them is: Who are you achieving for and what are you truly leaving behind?

Many of us today, especially among the younger generation, have the mentality that to achieve “success” (defined in your own eyes – be it status, money or position), you put yourself first – some of you even do this subconsciously without realising it’s always about what’s best for you.

Let me ask you: Which is the most successful sports team?

Answer: The most successful sports team in the professional era is not the New York Yankees, or Manchester United, but a team from a far less well-known sport. It is the New Zealand All Blacks in rugby, who have an astonishing 86 per cent winning percentage and numerous championships to their name.

How are they able to do it? Especially since they are from a country with such a small population, similar in size to us. Even less well known is the concept of “sweep the shed”. It is a selfless ethos of how each All Black player, no matter how famous, has to humbly sweep the locker room after each game. This is the foundation of an All Black – serving others before self. Character and discipline triumph over talent.

In an era of self-entitlement, we should not forget the key element of true achievement. Talent and discipline are important. But so is humility.

Humility is not about bowing or appearing servile before your superiors. It’s about performing little acts of service for your company, your team, your family, and your country daily.

What are acts of service? Taking out the trash, helping to put back your bowls and plates after a meal at the hawker centre, and deeper acts of commitment such as volunteering weekly and helping a colleague out at work when you don’t need to.

I cannot blame today’s youth for being selfish: I was probably like you too as I pushed myself up the career ladder. I want to share with you my personal journey so you can take in my observations with your own set of experiences and life goals.

At 29 years old, I was already running a small proprietary credit desk at a local bank. By my mid-30s, I had learnt how to manage winning teams and set up regional offices from scratch for two large US companies – from buying coffee powder to laying T1 lines.

The wake-up call came with the premature birth of my daughter. That forced my wife and me to recalibrate our lives, and reminded us of the things that really matter to us. We had both been involved with social work since university and we revisited this first love with more fervour. We took time to re-forge deeper family and personal relationships (simple commitments such as having a meal with family members every weekend). I also spent time nurturing talent and investing in the lives of young people.

One of the first things I did at my office in the new multinational company was to send a company-wide e-mail to instruct my colleagues to wash their own cups and not wait for the cleaners to do so. I have made similar decisions in US companies; but this time there were a lot more colleagues and they were from very diverse backgrounds. The question “What would my colleagues, especially the traders, think?” did cross my mind for three seconds – but discipline and humility are key attributes which I really wanted to encourage, so I got over my brief hesitation.

Sweeping the shed can start from the office and at school and should continue at home.

It’s the little acts of service that will truly matter at the end of the day. A word of encouragement to your family. A smile for a service personnel. Spending time (not on your phones or on social media) with good friends and meeting them face-to-face. Being kind to yourself.

“How can I serve?” and “How can I give?” are questions I do not hear often from young people. Perhaps it’s time to ask a little more, do a little more, give a little more. I learnt from my kind-hearted neighbour who asks every morning “Who can I bless today?”

You need to be part of something bigger than yourself. If you want higher performance, begin with a higher purpose. At your age, you can do a lot, especially with other youth – focusing on technology and financial literacy. How about teaching computer coding at a study centre or teaching financial literacy to kids in a neighbourhood school?

What if I told you that this is the secret to true sustainable and meaningful success? To live a purposeful life.

That in addition to making meaningful impact in whatever cause or field you choose, material successes will also naturally come – not because you seek them, but because you will then naturally act and apply your life with a passion and selflessness to much bigger things beyond your own narrow ambition?

And that in so doing, you will find joy – and realise that work can equal life – and that a life worth living for is a life worth dying for?

Take Tinder, for instance. The dating app is a microcosm and encapsulation of this world we live in, where everything is a transaction. This is what we have come to – where

Source: A life of service is a life worth swiping, Opinion News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Salesforce Chief Philanthropy Officer Suzanne DiBianca Wants All Companies To Drive Social Change

Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Fellows in 70 countries. We have provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across business and social sectors for more than 30 years. In fact, Ashoka launched the field of social entrepreneurship. And Ashoka Fellows – social entrepreneurs we’ve identified and supported for their systems-changing solutions to social problems — remain at the core of our community, and their insights show us how the world is moving and what is needed next.

What role should businesses play in social change? In political advocacy? Is it okay for corporations to take a public stand, as Salesforce has and does, on issues like equal pay for women or LGBTQ rights? What do these actions signal about the future of CSR and corporate giving? To get some perspective on these questions, we turned to corporate philanthropy pioneer Suzanne DiBianca, who leads philanthropy and stakeholder management at Salesforce. Ashoka’s Michael Zakaras sat down with DiBianca recently at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California.

Michael Zakaras: Suzanne, you created with Marc Benioff the Salesforce Foundation in 2000. Can you give us a sense for where your values and entrepreneurial instincts come from?

Suzanne DiBianca: Well, I was raised by a capitalist and a social worker, and I often think that I ended up in the middle. My dad was a businessman, my mom ran the department of juvenile justice for the state of New Jersey. That meant, among other things, that kids from my mom’s work were often staying at our home. We were living in Princeton in the days of The Preppy Handbook, and these kids didn’t look like anyone in my school or neighborhood. It helped me see from an early age that there was a much bigger world out there and it wasn’t always very kind or fair. Looking back, these were important threads that shaped my direction and contribution.

Zakaras: You were part of a small group that created and began sharing the model of ‘integrated philanthropy’ years ago. What is it and why is it important?

DiBianca: Integrated philanthropy essentially means aligning your community support with your core business and competencies. For companies especially, it’s a recognition that often your technology, your products, and your time are just as valuable as the dollars you can give away. At Salesforce we created and spread the 1-1-1 model, which means we agreed to give away 1 percent of our equity, 1 percent of our time, and 1 percent of our product at minimum. For us, this has amounted to $120 million in grants, 1.4 million employee volunteer hours and technology for 28,000 nonprofits and education institutions.

Zakaras: Is 1 percent enough?

DiBianca: It’s a starting point and something that companies of any size  can easily adopt and build from. And that’s what we’re seeing – beyond our direct giving, we have encouraged the open adoption of the model and its principles through the Pledge 1% program and more than 850 companies are now taking it up.

Zakaras: Beyond corporate giving, Marc Benioff has been quite vocal about certain issues especially in support of the LGBT community. Is he crossing a line that makes some people uncomfortable?

DiBianca: Some people aren’t sure how to react, yes, and think that corporations have no business taking a stand on social issues. But what are companies really other than a collection of people moving something forward? In our case, our people have a set of values they care deeply about, and we have created a workplace environment that encourages them to drive change within the company walls and beyond. What message would we be sending if we encourage this on the one hand but stay in the shadows on the other? Some applications of corporate philanthropy miss this point and it’s an important one.

Zakaras: Do you see any downsides to allowing businesses to have such a big voice or such big leverage in the political sphere? What about certain high-profile cases where for religious or moral reasons companies refuse to serve certain customers?

DiBianca: We consider equality a core value, it’s that simple. And advancing it sometimes means being vocal to protect our employees and pushing back against discriminatory legislation. It’s all part of taking a broader stakeholder perspective and asking what’s right for them.

Zakaras: What’s the next frontier for CSR at Salesforce and what new directions excite you most?

DiBianca: We’re taking values alignment to a new level and integrating our stakeholder commitment into every aspect of our business. I’ve taken on a new role to lead our stakeholder management. This is important. Sustainability, for example, shouldn’t be siloed off in a corner at a .org – it should be integral to the business itself. Philanthropy is one avenue for supporting social change, yes, but so is how we invest, the sustainability of our business practices, our employment practices, and also our advocacy. It’s really about re-thinking what a business can and should be.

Source: Salesforce Chief Philanthropy Officer Suzanne DiBianca Wants All Companies To Drive Social Change

 

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