Giving Compass' Take:

• Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund and Durreen Shahnaz, founder, and CEO of the Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), discuss the future of impact investing and its accomplishments thus far. 

• How does your charitable giving fit into the impact investing practice? 

• Check out the Giving Compass Impact Investing Magazine to learn more. 

A dozen years have passed since the term “impact investing” was coined at a meeting of investors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists at the Rockefeller Foundation’s retreat center in the Italian seaside town of Bellagio.

Antony Bugg-Levine recalled that the new term helped create a way for profit-oriented businesses to justify investments to address social problems such as poverty or inequality. Bugg-Levine is currently CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund in New York, which provides loan financing, access to capital and direct advisory services to nonprofits.

Since then, the impact investing movement has overcome many challenges. However, more obstacles lie ahead even as there is untapped potential for growth, said Durreen Shahnaz, founder and CEO of the Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) in Singapore, a social stock exchange and the world’s largest impact investment private placement platform.

The impact investing space has evolved over the past decade in distinct phases. The first phase saw “innovators who were focused and motivated by mission, and were developing small investment funds and products on the outside of the mainstream,” said Bugg-Levine.

In the second phase, “mission-motivated people” moved into mainstream financial services institutions, where they were able “to start a little program or start a fund” designed around impact investing, he added.

“Now, we’re entering a third phase in which there’s enough momentum among the owners of wealth who want their fund managers and wealth advisors and institutional investors to provide them with impact investing products,” said Bugg-Levine.

In that setting, Bugg-Levine emphasized that impact investing needs “to scale with integrity,” or that the businesses that do impact investing should not be driven solely by their profit motives.

Read the full article about impact investing at Knowledge@Wharton