Kellogg World Alumni Magazine

Kellogg World > Features > Investing in Solutions

Through impact investing, Kellogg alumni are tackling some of the world's biggest problems — and satisfying the bottom line

Stories as told to Sara Langen

Contrary to conventional thought, financial returns and social returns aren't mutually exclusive.

In fact, when pursued simultaneously, pairing markets with philanthropy can have a very powerful outcome. Powerful enough, perhaps, to contribute to solving some of the world's biggest problems, including hunger, poverty, pollution and disease.

This new strategy, known as impact investing, is creating all sorts of buzz in the private equity and venture capital arena — and Kellogg alumni are leading the charge. These investors and industry leaders have adopted innovative methods for placing capital in businesses that generate financial returns and have an intentional social or environmental goal.

Interestingly, Kellogg alumni each approach this strategy from a slightly different perspective. David Chen '84, principal and founder of Equilibrium Capital Group, pursues investments with a market rate of return in the areas of green real estate, water asset management, energy efficiency finance and other environmentally driven initiatives. Debra Schwartz '88, director of program-related investments at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, manages a portfolio of below-market-rate loans and investments that support economic development and affordable housing organizations in the U.S. In Madrid, Agustín Vitórica '99 and Luca Torre '06, founder and co-CEOs of Ambers&Co Capital Microfinanzas, direct their investments toward microcredit institutions that support low-income workers in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. And Amit Bouri '07, director of strategy and development at the Global Impact Investing Network, is establishing metrics and industry standards for impact investing to encourage greater activity among mainstream investors.

In their own words, these Kellogg leaders outline their strategies for connecting the dots between pressing global problems and smart investment solutions.


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