Think investing is all about personal gain? Think again.
True
The Rockefeller Foundation

Like so many immigrants, Leanna Wilson's parents came to America following the "American Dream."

Her father owned a small bakery in his homeland of Jamaica, but when the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, their dream of a successful business didn't pan out exactly as they had hoped.

Leah Smith, Wilson's cousin, also has small-business roots, although her parents chose to stay in Jamaica. And despite being gutsy entrepreneurs, they never managed to thrive financially either.


But this didn't stop Wilson and Smith from growing and deciding to follow in their parents' entrepreneurial footsteps and become business partners.

Wilson and Smith. Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation/Upworthy.

"I don’t know when it is that we decided to start a business," Wilson says. "I think we always knew. Maybe it’s just in the blood."

They started a small company called GroupOut — a dining concierge service that helps groups navigate party and event planning in the often spatially constricted New York City.

Their joint backgrounds in corporate event planning, finance, and design helped Wilson and Smith's business take off, and soon enough, they were turning a profit.

Photo via GroupOut, used with permission.

Suddenly, they were presented with a problem they'd never imagined — what should they do with the excess money? Enter impact investing.

Simply put, impact investing allows investors to focus their capital on causes or organizations that create social change while still seeing a return on their investment, just like they would with any other investment. For socially conscious individuals like Wilson and Smith, it's a win-win.

"We always wanted GroupOut to have a social impact," Wilson explains. "We’ve struggled with finding the right way to do it."

Wilson and Smith are not alone in their desire to put their money toward a better world.

According to a survey by the United States Treasury, millennials are choosing to invest in organizations and projects that prioritize the greater good more than any generation before them. Not only are they simply more driven by activism, many are still struggling with things like student debt and shrinking job pools, so they're less trusting of traditional investment practices.

Young women making art at the YWCA Chicago. Photo courtesy of the YMCA/Rockefeller Foundation.

It's likely the reason why they're interested in having their investment dollars focus on causes that align with nonprofits like the YWCA and NAACP, whose mission is to empower women and eliminate racism.

That's where Impact Shares came in for Wilson and Smith.

Impact Shares is a nonprofit financial advisor that helps people invest in companies that are aligned with the social causes they care about because they partner with nonprofits — such as the YWCA and NAACP — to create a financial portfolio of socially responsible companies. This provides an incentive for companies included in that portfolio to continue to be an engine for progress and it creates a roadmap for others to do the same

It also directly benefits nonprofits, like the YWCA and NAACP, financially too. When investing, there is management fee that usually goes to Wall Street, but with Impact Shares, that fee goes back to the nonprofits as a charitable contribution.

Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation/Upworthy.

This makes Impact Shares a win-win-win for all parties concerned.

"Impact Shares is putting forth a new model for the next generation of finance," Adam Connaker, Senior Program Associate in Innovative Finance and Impact Investing at The Rockefeller Foundation, writes in an email. "One where investors can partner with leading nonprofits to give them a voice on corporate citizenship."

"Other Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ETFs (Exchange Trade Funds) have made small charitable contributions, but this one goes to the next level by engaging the non-profits deeply and giving them the entire net management fee as a donation to support the incredible work they do on behalf of vulnerable populations," he continues.

Members of the YWCA Chicago. Photo courtesy of the YMCA/Rockefeller Foundation.

The YWCA ETF launched on August 27th and NAACP's was formally listed on July 18th for any other investors who might be interested in making an impact on women's empowerment.

If this is the future of investing, the world is in for some major improvements in social good organizations big and small.

For more on Wilson and Smith's story, check out the video below:

These millennial entrepreneurs want to invest their hard-earned money while also using it to make a social impact.

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, November 30, 2018

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.