|Grassroots Capital Management (GCM) is an impact investment manager based in the US. Together with its India based partner, Caspian Advisors, GCM and its predecessors have launched five Microfinance funds since 2003. Currently GCM and Caspian co-manage four Microfinance funds; Fund Details.
Caspian and Grassroots work closely together on project development and management, sharing staff and resources between their New York, Massachusetts, Hyderabad and Delhi offices. For more information about Caspian please visit Caspian’s web site.
- SPTF: Grassroots and Caspian will be participating in the 2013 Annual meeting of the SPTF ( Social Performance Task Force) taking place from June 5-8 in Panama City. For more information click here. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting with Grassroots, Caspian, or Prospero Microfinanzas.
- During the SPTF meeting, Grassroots Director of Investments Louise Moretto will present preliminary findings from Grassroots research on elements of MFI corporate structures or documentation that can help support social mission. For further information contact Louise at email@example.com.
- Grassroots is once again a sponsor of the Slow Living Summit, to be held in Brattleboro Vermont June 5-7. The conference brings together efforts to strengthen local communities in the New England region. For more information on the Slow Living Summit click here.
- A Slow Money chapter has been launched in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and will hold its next meeting May 22, 2013 at UMASS Amherst; Paul DiLeo has joined the steering committee, see link. The Slow Money Pioneer Valley Chapter collaborates with other chapters such as Slow Money Boston, Maine, and New York/NYC, as well as maintaining a connection to Slow Money National to further regional efforts that spur investment into local food economies and share in the best practices being developed across the US.
- Grassroots is completing a Ten Year Review of the Gray Ghost Microfinance Fund, to be published this summer. The review summarizes Gray Ghost’s 23 investments and assesses its results and lessons learned.
- Caspian Impact Investments was launched April 14 with $10mm in committed capital. The fund will initially focus on four sectors in India’s growing impact investment landscape: microfinance, SME’s, low income housing and sustainable agriculture. With a first phase target of $40mm, the fund is managed by Grassroots India-based partner Caspian Advisors with support from Grassroots.
- The latest meeting of the Mission Investment Institute was hosted by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation April 10-12 in Austin and attended by 30 US based foundations. Paul DiLeo facilitated a working group on sustainable agriculture opportunities suitable for PRI and MRI engagement by foundations.
- In an informal contest held in April to select a slogan for B CORPS the Grassroots entry received the most votes. Grassroots’ winning slogan was: “B Corps: Making Our Values Our Business”. The winning description from the Redwoods group was: “A for-profit company that uses the power of business for social change”. Grassroots Capital Management was certified as a B Corps in 2008 and recertified in 2012. B Corps commit in their corporate documents to prioritize interests of other stakeholders – employees, costumers and the community – alongside owners and shareholders. Certification also requires a company to achieve a minimum score in a rating which considers governance, products, employee benefits, ownership, environmental footprint and other factors. GCM’s most recent B Corp rating is available click here.
- In preparation for finalization of the Social Performance Task Force’s Universal Standards on Social Performance Management at the June meeting in Panama, Grassroots has been facilitating a working group of leading microfinance investment managers to better define and operationalize the concept of “balanced returns” included in both the Universal Standards and in the UN PRI’s Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance. Grassroots is also participating in a second working group on the subject organized by the Council of Microfinance Equity Funds. Paul DiLeo and Anna Kanze were featured speakers in the SPTF Universal Standards for SPM Implementation series on section 6: “Balancing Social and Financial Performance”. For the webinar and power point presentation please click here and scroll down to the May 2013 session at the bottom of the page.
- GIIRS: As GIIRS Pioneer Fund Managers, Grassroots and our partner Caspian participated in the GIIRS beta in 2011 and received a4 star fund ratings for both the India Financial Inclusion Fund and the Bellwether Microfinance Fund, indicating that both are in the top two quintiles. The GIIRS dataset covered 268 rated companies, 128 in emerging markets, and is growing rapidly. The Q3 report is available here. Over the upcoming months the funds in India will begin their annual update assessment, and Prospero Microfinanzas, which received a “fund-in-formation” rating in 2011, will be initiating the rating process with the new investees.
- ImpactAssets 50, 2012: For the second year, Grassroots has been selected for the ImpactAssets 50 – an annual showcase of experienced private debt and equity fund managers that deliver social and environmental value in addition to financial returns. Grassroots and the 49 other selected firms were chosen out of nearly 100 applicants to represent the breadth of impact investing activities currently taking place. For more information, click here.
- IRIS: The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) recently launched an online registry of the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS), and Grassroots is one of the first 34 registered users. The registry is a centralized public listing of the IRIS metrics used by organizations to monitor the social, environmental, and financial performance of their impact investing activities. Our participation is part of our ongoing effort to encourage the use of standardized measures across the industry. To view the IRIS Registry, click here. To view Grassroots’ profile, where we have posted some of the IRIS metrics that we use to measure and track performance, click here.
- PIIF: Grassroots, as one of the official signatories of the UN-backed PRI Initiative’s PIIF (Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance) see link, has taken part in the voluntary pilot of the PRI’s new Reporting Framework in 2012. By participating in the pilot of the PRI’s and testing the indicators, we hope to help develop a framework that will increase transparency and accountability about responsible investment practices and processes. The report for Grassroots and our partner Caspian is available by firstname.lastname@example.org and the aggregated results of 15 voluntary responses to this exercise are available in the PIIF Signatories’ Report on Progress, which can be downloaded at www.unipri.org.
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