7 Key Impact Investing Vehicles Targeting Women
By Ana LaRue
While the flow of significant investment assets toward gender lens investing is still in its initial stages, success of those at the forefront is proving that this trend is here to stay.
In a previous blog post we discussed how to strengthen female leadership and career development across the impact investing sector. We now review what are some of the leading organizations when it comes to investing with a gender lens, where to look for opportunities and resources and what are some of the key investment vehicles specifically targeting women.
1. Female centered networking organizations:
- 85 Broads – Global network of 30,000 women whose mission is to generate exceptional professional and social value for its members.
- Catalytic Women – Membership based women’s network funding social impact, at any level and to every issue area.
- National Council for Research on Women – Network of leading university and community based research, policy, and advocacy centers dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls.
- Empower women – UN’s open global community for knowledge mobilization, innovation and partnerships in women’s economic empowerment.
2. Women’s investing networks and organizations:
- Criterion Institute’s Women Effect Investments – One of the first initiatives to build the field of gender lens investing.
- Women in Banking and finance – Not for profit membership organization showcasing and retaining female talent and contribution.
- Global Banking Alliance for Women – International consortium of financial institutions and other organizations propelling the growth of women in business and women’s wealth creation.
- Women in Finance – Women centered network aiming to share experiences and help members with personal development.
- Young Women in ESG Investing – Community of interest for young women working in the ESG investment industry.
3. Organizations working to increase the number of women on boards:
- 20/20 Women on Boards – National campaign aiming to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or more by the year 2020.
- Catalyst – The leading nonprofit organization dedicated to building more inclusive environments and expanding opportunities for women at work.
- 30% Coalition – Organization that is committed to the goal of women holding 30% of board seats across public companies by the end of 2015.
4. Gender lens centered philanthropy, foundations and endowments
- Women Moving Millions – Community of individuals who have made gifts and pledges of $1 million or more to organizations and initiatives promoting the advancement and empowerment of women and girls.
- Women Donors Network – Through member-led Donor Circles, regional events and trainings, and network-wide strategic initiatives, this network gives members the opportunity to connect with key leaders in the social change movement and participate in strategic grant making opportunities.
- High Water Women – Volunteer-driven organization working with nonprofit partners to identify significant volunteer and grant making opportunities to leverage the talents and aspirations of professional women.
5. Angel investors focused on women-led startups:
- Pipeline Fellowship – Boot camp for women angel investors, working to increase diversity in the angel investing community and create capital for women social entrepreneurs.
- Astia Angels – Global network of female and male angel investors that invests in women-led, high-growth ventures in high tech, clean tech, life science, health and wellness products.
- 37 Angels – Community of female investors committed to funding early stage startups.
6. Investment firms that pursues above market returns through investing in women:
- Golden Seeds LLC – Investment firm that pursues above market returns through the empowerment of women entrepreneurs and the people who invest in them. Nearly 300 angel investors have invested more than $55 million since 2005.
- Calvert Foundation’s Women Investing in Women Initiative (WIN-WIN) – One of the first women-focused impact investments available to everyday investors, offering a way to invest in women through healthcare, microfinance, and education.
- Veris Wealth Partners LLC – Wealth management firm aligning wealth with mission, with a strong focus on gender lens investing. They recently released a valuable new guide to “Women, Wealth and Impact.”
- Root Capital’s Women In Agriculture Initiative – Non-profit social investment fund investing in gender inclusive businesses targeting farmers in Africa and Latin America, aiming to provide reliable economic opportunities for women, and to ultimately better understand how women help grow rural prosperity.
- Pax World’s Global Women’s Equality mutual fund – Fund that seeks to outperform the MSCI World (Net) Index by investing in companies around the globe that are leaders in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment
7. Microfinance institutions empowering women in developing countries:
Many microfinance institutions often channel a large percentage of their loans to women. Some examples include:
- Grameen bank – World’s largest microfinance institution whose more than 90% of clients are women.
- Women’s microfinance initiative – Microfinance program establishing village-level loan hubs, administered by local women, to provide capital, training and support to rural women.
- Kashf – First specialized microfinance program in Pakistan to specifically target women.
Read more about Empowering Women through Impact.
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[Image credit: nexusplexus, 123RF]