Today, at a White House roundtable on impact investing, senior Administration officials met with more than 20 private-sector investors answering the President’s call to action by announcing their new commitments to make more than $1.5 billion in investments that intentionally generate sound financial return as well as measurable social or environmental impact. New Administration actions will catalyze additional private sector impact investments and support these companies and entrepreneurs. Finally, according to a new private sector report released today, such smart policy interventions could help grow the global impact economy significantly.
President Obama has described this as an “all hands on deck” moment that requires all of us to pull together to create the change we seek. To tackle our most significant challenges, from combating childhood obesity to fighting climate change, from ensuring all hard-working Americans have the skills to get ahead to preparing American students for a 21st Century economy, to doubling access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, we need cross-sector collaboration fueled by a mix of improved regulation and public resources with private capital and philanthropic support. “Impact investing” stands out as one fast-growing model that brings together these strands. This model of investing to generate economic value as well as measurable environmental and social benefit is gaining traction across the country and around the world.
As part of today’s White House event, firms such as Prudential and the Capricorn Investment Group; foundations such as the McKnight, Ford, and MacArthur Foundations; and a wide range of family offices participated and discussed new impact investments.
Building on President Obama’s year of action using his pen and phone, the Administration will take a number of significant steps to encourage even more investors, foundations, businesses, and entrepreneurs to embrace this model. This includes announcements by SBA, USAID, and Treasury designed to facilitate the flow of private capital toward sustainable business models. These steps are just the latest in the Administration’s ongoing effort to support the growth of private sector led impact investing as a strategy to create jobs and strengthen communities in the U.S. as well as to advance the President’s global development goals.
Finally, the private sector U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investment Task Force also released Private Capital, Public Good: How Smart Federal Policy Can Galvanize Impact Investing – and Why It’s Urgent. The Advisory Board, which participated in our White House event, includes a blue chip group of 27 leaders from across the investment, business, foundation, academic, and non-profit sectors.
For more information on all of these commitments, see the Background on the White House Roundtable on Impact Investing.
Byron Auguste is Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House National Economic Council
Tom Kalil is the Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
Jonathan Greenblatt is Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the Domestic Policy Council