Archive for the ‘SOCAP 365’ Category

5 Ways to Be a Clean Money Revolutionary in 2017

February 24th, 2017

A SOCAP Guest Post by Joel Solomon

My first book, The Clean Money Revolution, is coming out in May. So, you may be asking, what is clean money? 

Clean Money is money aligned with purpose: money that is about more than self-interest; money that prioritizes the commons; money that makes the world better. Clean money regenerates ecosystems, builds fairness and equity for people, and helps achieve a healthy balance between people and planet.

Clean Money is revolutionary, and it’s also evolutionary. It expands our view of finance from a bank balance, or net worth calculation, or the name of a company you own stock in.

Clean Money builds true security and real prosperity, based on long-term thinking, and a safe, fair resilient future.

Clean Money considers where materials came from, who assembled them, and whether that process was just, regenerative, or destructive. From there, choices can be made. Choices that factor in the future of civilization.

We are in the midst of a great economic shift. It is a time of big challenges but also huge potential. The clean money revolution is the biggest opportunity for making money in history. Reinventing how we steward resources, feed, house, educate, transport, keep healthy, and employ humanity, while protecting natural systems, and the biosphere, are the prosperity drivers that can give us 500 more years of generative civilization.

This revolution can be peaceful, joyous, and smart. You will make it real.

5 Clean Money Practices

1. Invest as if lives depend on you.

Because they do. Be proactive. Research options. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI): screening global stocks and bonds for “less bad”, is a basic first step. Clean money thinks through where materials came from, who assembled them, and whether that process was just, or unjust, regenerative or destructive.

2. Ask annoying questions.

Wealth managers are seeing the trend. More insistent questions will lead to new products in mutual funds, retirement plans, bank accounts, insurance, and wealth management. Cleaner consumer goods, sourcing policies, environmental regulations, fair pay, and reduced discrimination, will follow.

3. Spend + invest locally.

Strengthen community. Recirculate dollars. Make better jobs. You can choose where you shop. Make choices that align with YOUR values.

4. Agitate, agitate, agitate.

Stand for what you believe in. Research. Get informed. Insist. Model it. Tell your friends. Be courageous. Use your influence. Take risks. Then go further. A movement is well underway, gaining momentum. It’s early. You are a leader.

5. Remember your ancestral responsibilities.

We are all ancestors, bloodline procreators or not. The people of many tomorrows are watching us. They want us to be smart and own responsibility for how we live our lives, what we consume, who we disadvantage, how we participate as citizens, and how our actions contribute to a safer, more loving, more just future.

Transitioning to clean money is no dutiful, painful exercise in morality. It is inspiring, invigorating, satisfying, life-enhancing. It gives meaning, purpose, and personal agency.

That’s what I mean by the Clean Money Revolution.

See you there.

Joel Solomon will be hosting the SOCAP 365 event “Capital Shifts for a Regenerative Economy: A Holistic Approach to Trends & Opportunities” at Impact Hub Berkeley on Thursday, March 2, 2017 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. Join Joel and a panel of leading thinkers and practitioners to discuss coming shifts in capital and how a “clean money revolution” might help us build a regenerative economic system that works for all. Learn more and get your tickets here.



Joel Solomon is Co-Founder and Chair of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest mission venture capital firm, with $98MM under management. Renewal Funds invests in Organics and Envirotech.

With Founder + Funder Carol Newell, Joel implemented a “whole portfolio activation to mission” strategy as leader of her “activist family office”. As ED of the Endswell Foundation they spent down a $20M endowment, leaving Tides Canada Foundation and Hollyhock as legacy charities while supporting BC’s renowned environmental community. As CEO of Renewal Partners’ seed capital fund over $10M was placed into dozens of green companies.

SOCAP Conversations: Martin Burt on the Poverty Stoplight Approach to Ending Poverty

February 7th, 2017

Martin Burt represented Poverty Stoplight at the SOCAP 365 event “Welcome Party: Poverty Stoplight comes to Washington, D.C.” on Friday, February 10. We were able to talk with Martin prior to the event.

Poverty Stoplight is working to eliminate poverty, household by household, in countries around the world. They do that by talking directly to people who are living in poverty conditions. They’ve developed a measurement tool and a methodology that helps impoverished families map their needs so they can navigate a way out. Since its inception in 2011, Poverty Stoplight has helped thousands upon thousands of families lift themselves out of poverty globally, from Paraguay, where the program started, to 25 countries including South Africa, Taiwan, Ecuador, UK, Tanzania, Nigeria and the U.S. (in New Orleans, Louisiana).

We talked to Martin Burt, founder of Poverty Stoplight and the NGO Fundación Paraguaya about his innovative “bottom up” approach to ending poverty around the world.

SOCAP: How does the Poverty Stoplight approach to eliminating poverty differ from other organizations with the same goal?

Martin Burt: Poverty is multidimensional. By looking at poverty beyond income you can find many additional solutions. Poverty Stoplight is a new measurement tool that helps people self diagnose their level of poverty, across 50 indicators. That is 50% of the work. Poverty Stoplight also allows people to convert that diagnosis into a family action plan. The unit of analysis is not the individual, but rather the household. So you have a bottom up approach to self diagnosis (that involves) taking stock of what you are good at and what you are lacking. It is a self awareness approach that is quite empowering.

The difference between Poverty Stoplight and other approaches that are out there is that it is not a poverty index, but a dashboard. It is not an aggregation of data, but a disaggregation. The information can be aggregated to analyze the data, but the prime decision maker here is not the head of a welfare agency, but the head of the household. What you have here is a survey that is not extractive. It is not that somebody goes to the house and sucks the information away, the person is doing her own survey–compiling data for herself and developing a dashboard that can help her prioritize her actions.

Can you give an example of how the measurement process works at the household level?

The head of a household, either at home or in the workplace, fills out the survey using a computer or tablet. At the end of that 20 minute visual survey you get your own dashboard which gives you an idea of where you are in everything: weight, income, housing, transportation, violence, self esteem, family budget, financial health…etc. The dashboard shows each indicator as red (extreme poverty), yellow (poverty) or green (not poverty) for the entire household. If the adult has a child, the adult cannot overcome poverty without the child being well taken care of and vice versa. You cannot get a child out of poverty if the mother is chronically unemployed.

Your solution is also described as a coaching methodology. Does a mentor work with the head of household to develop their plan to get out of poverty?

Yes. Once the person sees their dashboard, then the program facilitator, who could be a social worker or the head of HR in the company, helps them to identify the top three priorities they want to address. Usually the solutions are locally applicable. Every country has its own way to get wheelchairs or to fix teeth. People are sometimes not aware of those solutions or don’t know where to start. So we have a coaching methodology that is based on helping people answer two questions: Is it worth it? and Can I do it?

Is it worth it? has to do with motivation. Can I do it? has to do with skills. So they develop some practices for motivation and skill building in order to help lift themselves up out of poverty. We also use peer pressure, group support, prizes and incentives. It’s a holistic approach, based on a concerted effort.

What opened your eyes to the need for people who are living in poverty to be asked to participate in the measurement process and to speak to what outcome they want for themselves?

We started with a microfinance program here in Paraguay. We saw that some people actually overcame poverty very easily and some people, despite financial assistance, did not. So we started consulting with them to ask, what does it mean not to be poor? So we defined locally what it means for people not to be poor or for people to be ok. They very quickly helped us define the 50 indicators and what the thresholds are.

Everybody in the UK or in the U.S. or in Spain or South Africa knows what it means not to be poor on income, which is the easy one, or in transportation or in housing. Once you have local definitions of what it means to be ok, then people can relate and say, I can do that.

No one is poor in everything. Like (the idea) in Anna Karenina, (that) all happy families are alike but each unhappy family is unhappy in their own way, every poor person is poor in their own way. That has to be respected. The overcoming of poverty (should be) a personal commitment with the support of society.

Where do you see the future of the program going?

I think that today’s technology allows poor families to take over and control their situation. Before there used to be paper files, which would have made that impossible. But the internet and increased digital capacity allows poor families to self diagnose and come up with their action plan, really take control of their situation and take advantage of all the services that are available. It is meeting supply and demand, but from the demand point of view. It is not like the hospital wanting to know who needs health services, but the patient wanting to know what type of services are available for her.

We are interested in starting a pilot program in DC to adapt the poverty indicators to what it means not to be poor in DC, what is the standard that families living in poverty aspire to, locally. We’ll be working with the community to find out what kinds of local solutions there are. Usually there are solutions, but the people in poverty don’t see them.

What is inspiring you most in your work right now? What is giving you hope for the future?

We are doing two types of competitions. In one students are competing to see who can get their parents out of poverty first. Engaging high school students to measure their family’s well being and convince the parents to overcome whatever problems they are having, is really turning youth into great assets. Another type of competition empowers poor families to help other families get out of poverty. So working with poor communities: with workers in companies (our biggest client here in Paraguay is a supermarket with 7000 employees–so that is 7000 families), with students, and with poor families helping other poor families.

It is not about the war on poverty, as defined by the top. It is victory over poverties as defined by each family. We use the words “poverty elimination” because it is the process of going from red or yellow in an indicator to green. Each family self defines when they are green, when they can move that little sticker in their dashboard to green, in each category. So we are results and impact focused.

Visit to learn more.

Martin Burt is the Founder of Fundación Paraguaya (the Paraguayan Foundation for Cooperation and Development) and Poverty Stoplight. He is a pioneer in applying microfinance, microfranchise, youth entrepreneurship, and financial literacy methodologies to address chronic poverty. Burt has been honored with the 2016 Latin American Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Microfinance Award from the Inter-American Development Bank, the Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award from the Schwab Foundation, the Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award, the Ashoka Changemakers Award, the Oikocredit Award, the Templeton Freedom Award, and the distinguished alumni Award from the George Washington University and University of the Pacific, among other distinctions. He is an Avina Foundation leader and a Synergos and Eisenhower Fellow. He has published books on economics, development, municipal government, poetry, and education.

SOCAP 365: Join Us in Conversation Year-Round

January 27th, 2017

By: Liz Maxwell, SOCAP 365 Product Manager

The world is very different since we gathered last September. Global markets will continue to be shaped by shifting political landscapes, at what feels distinctly like the beginning of a new era.

At SOCAP, we believe in cross-sector collaboration. We believe that diversity is a strength, that differing perspectives are valuable, and that the inclusion of broad voices is mandatory for meaningful dialogue. We know that market systems are dynamic and complex, and that sustained impact can only be built collectively over time.

In 2016, we launched the SOCAP 365 year-round event series. The intention is to convene the SOCAP community throughout the year in multiple locations. Our goal is to meet you where you are, dive deep locally, and build stronger regional alliances to support the continued growth of impact investing – both as a value-driven methodology and a strong community of practice.


SOCAP 365 Events in February and March

Here are immediate opportunities to join us at the first five SOCAP 365 events in 2017:

Additional events will be announced on a rolling basis; update your location here to receive invitations throughout the year to events happening near you.

In these changing times, we must gather. We must stay connected, remain committed to the work at hand, and remember the power we have to build strong alliances and global movements together.

SOCAP 365: Inclusive Food Systems at Scale

August 1st, 2016

KEG_7090SOCAP 365 event: June 29, 2016 at Impact Hub DC

Although the U.S. food system works well for some, our June 29th panel featuring local and national experts began with the acknowledgement that there are too many social, economic, and environmental costs which are not accounted for in the price of food. What would a more inclusive food system at scale look like? For starters, it would ensure that food that “truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth” is available to all, in the words of Real Food Challenge.

Read the full article on the SOCAP16 blog…

Missing Infrastructure for African-American Wealth Creation

May 2nd, 2016

#SOCAP365 at Impact Hub NYC

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The U.S. is battling systemic problems in terms of both wealth inequality and racism. Recent research from the Pew Center reveals some hard data connecting these two injustices: the average white individual has $144,000 in assets while black individuals, on average, have $11,000.  This has major implications for African-American wealth creation; it highlights the opportunity gap faced by black entrepreneurs trying to “bootstrap” or raise a “friends and family” round of funding, which then also raises the question for how wealth can be generated and sustained in black communities for the long haul.
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Jessica Norwood and Kevin Jones are tackling this problem head on, and presented some of their latest work at a SOCAP 365 event at Impact Hub NYC on Friday, April 15. Jessica is the Executive Director of Emerging Changemakers Network and a BALLE fellow; Kevin is the founder of SOCAP and the Neighborhood Economics platform. They are forming a unique partnership to begin building necessary infrastructure to increase the flow of capital to black communities in culturally appropriate ways with important core stakeholders along the way.
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The discussion ranged from blind spots within impact investing (Why does early-stage funding seem to flow more easily to start-ups in Africa rather than African-American communities?” “We recognize people through our dollars — we’re missing the opportunity to tell black entrepreneurs I see and value you”) to a much broader scope addressing issues of cultural exclusion, trust building, and ways market dynamics reveal and can potentially start to shift systemic racism.

@Kevindoylejones: “There are huge opportunities for financial inclusion to lead on issues of cultural exclusion. How can social capital shift the paradigm?”

@EmergeChange: “There’s a need to create trust and rebuild culture by deep listening & understanding of structural inequity dynamics — it’s the only true way to shift wealth.”

@EmergeChange: “We don’t have an airplane problem or a pilot problem — we have a runway problem.”

For more on this conversation, check out the #SOCAP365 buzz on Twitter and see additional resources below. We’ll continue exploring these themes as part of the Neighborhood Economics and Inclusive Entrepreneurship tracks at SOCAP16 and throughout the year at SOCAP 365 → sign-up for the SOCAP newsletter to stay updated on what’s happening next near you.

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