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The History of Impact Investing with Antony Bugg-Levine: Episode 49 of Money + Meaning

SOCAP June 16, 2020

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Antony Bugg-Levine of the Nonprofit Finance Fund talks about the evolution of impact investing and the direct line between the civil rights movement and modern impact investing.

“When we coined the phrase impact investing, one of the reasons we chose it was very intentionally to capture two fundamental camps or points of view. One was people who said ‘capitalism is the greatest thing the world has ever had, I want to steer that potential toward more social purpose’. There was another group – and this tension has continued – who felt that wasn’t good enough. The purpose wasn’t to keep the investing systems in place and unlock more capital, it was to fundamentally change the way investing worked.”

 “We, as impact investors, we’re allies not activists. We’re here to unlock potential that’s already there.” 

–  Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund

This week’s guest is Antony Bugg-Levine, impact investing pioneer and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). Founded in 1980, NFF is a community development finance institution that provides financing and consulting to nonprofits across the country. In his role at NFF, Antony recently helped launch a $75mm Covid-19 response fund to support NYC nonprofit organizations most affected by the pandemic with both grants and interest free loans. After realizing the urgency of the crisis, NFF worked with the Ford Foundation to secure the second largest program-related investment in Ford’s 50+ years issuing PRIs in just nine days. Prior to his work at NFF, Antony was a Managing Director at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he led the foundation’s impact investing initiative. He is also the founding board chair of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and author of the book “Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference” with Jed Emerson.

The conversation with Antony spans the history and evolution of the field of impact investing, from a revolving loan fund created in Benjamin Franklin’s will to the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 through the meeting where the phrase “impact investing” was coined in 2007. Antony also discusses the direct line between the civil rights movement and the modern field of impact investing. Lastly, he discusses his work with the Nonprofit Finance Fund and where he is finding hope during the current pandemic. 

Featured Voices

Antony Bugg-Levine
Nonprofit Finance Fund
Alex Kravitz

Additional Resources

About Money + Meaning

Money + Meaning is the official podcast of SOCAP. The series aims to expand the conversation around impact investing and strategies to finance and support social change while stimulating innovative and valuable new partnerships across sectors.

Impact Investing / Stakeholder Capitalism
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