The social finance or impact investing disciplines continue to evolve. Impact investing is an emerging investment approach in which investors seek both financial returns and positive societal outcomes. The FWA’s community is interested in both impact investing as well as microfinance. The promise of microfinance is one of empowerment— empowering low-income women and men through access to credit to invest and grow their businesses, provide for their families, and support their communities. Fonkoze is the 2013 recipient of this program. Over 100 women in Haiti were helped that year through funding provided to Fonkoze to aid its work in areas of financial literacy, business skills training and health education.
The FWA’s involvement in Microfinance became much more intricate with formation of The Lenore Albom Microfinance Giving Program. This is a legacy left to the FWA by Lenore Albom, a former FWA President and visionary who understood the power that microfinance has to transform women’s lives.
Impact Investing is an approach to harness investor capital for social enterprises seeking to find innovative solutions to address long standing social and environmental problems. Impact investors look for both limited financial returns and strong social impact and often invest in enterprises that have the potential for scaling up. Microfinance is often referred to as the “mother of impact investing” and today the field has expanded to address a broader range of social issues including the environment, education and healthcare. Many of these social issues have a disproportionate impact on poor women, who often bear primary responsibility for managing the care of the family and the household. A core focus of the field is to find entrepreneurial solutions to global problems, and encourage private capital investment. Examples of such enterprises are those providing access to medicine and clean water.
The FWA’s Impact Investing Committee provides key industry panel discussions to increase awareness in this emerging investment approach in which investors seek both financial returns and positive societal outcomes. As the investing space continues to build in momentum, so does the FWA’s interest and involvement.
Lenore Album Microfinance Fund Recipient Fonkoze