Since the fall of 2016, in an effort to build a broad and inclusive ecosystem of impact investing, GSIC has engaged nearly 1,000 individual investors, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, public sector officials, professional advisors and other changemakers who all care about accelerating social solutions through the use of creative capital. Through educational workshops, lunch & learns, speaking events, surveys, happy hours and vigorous social media, GSIC will continue to support impact investing connections, education and innovation in Georgia.
9/1/2016: Founding of Georgia Social Impact Collaborative (GSIC) in San Francisco during SOCAP (Social Capital Markets Conference) by a core group of Georgia-based leaders determined to create an ecosystem-wide effort to accelerate impact investing in the state. Over the next 6 months, founders of GSIC researched impact investing networking maps, tools and practices, as well as reviewed dozens of impact investing work around the globe.
6/12/2017: GSIC engaged Advantage Consulting in data collection effort to develop the Ecosystem Map. We issued RFPs to several local consultants. Advantage, led by Chris Allers and team of 4 consultants, won the RFP to run the year-long engagement.
9/19/2017: Impact Investing 101 for Foundations. Sandra Mikush and Lisa Richter led a session on Impact Investing 101 for Foundations. 75 foundations and investors attended. There is a lot of interest in Atlanta surrounding impact investing but not a lot of experience. Importing experienced practitioners is a good way to show local investors how the practice is done elsewhere, with clear examples and strategies to go to market.
5/16/2018: Mission Investors Exchange 2018. An Urban Institute report recognizes GSIC as example of ecosystem initiative. Impact investors from around the nation learn about GSIC’s work in GA at Mission Investors Exchange’s national conference in Chicago. 130 impact investors — mostly foundations — learn about GSIC’s work in Georgia among other ecosystem networking efforts from other regions.
6/4/2018: Ecosystem Report published. Georgia has an emerging impact investing ecosystem. Researchers found meaningful evidence of active investors, enterprises, intermediaries, and enabling organizations. However, no entities currently serve as connecting or linking organizations to grow and sustain the ecosystem across metro Atlanta or the state, and the existing ecosystem is highly fragmented, with connections among players maintained by a relatively small number of circles of relationships.
10/4/2018: Launch of Ecosystem Map. Antony Bugg-Levine, Brian Cayce, Dori Pap and John Hardman presented in front of a crowd of almost 150. There are far more social impact entrepreneurs in Georgia than might have been expected. The problem is the lack of connections between them and the lack of awareness of one another’s existence. The map seeks to break down the barriers and increase efficiencies in the market. Alongside the map, GSIC published its online presence with blogs, case studies, a glossary and other resources for the community.
10/4/2018: Impact Capital for Nonprofits and Social Enterprises Workshop. High-capacity nonprofits participated in a session led by Antony Bugg-Levine and Beth Doreian of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). Atlanta’s nonprofits have not been exposed to many creative forms of capital — from tax credits to performance-based contracting. Some are more ready than others to manage these complex facilities.
11/1/2018: Social Media Strategy Launched/Inaugural Blog Published. The first of numerous blog posts goes live, followed up by monthly newsletters, twitter campaigns and other social media to profile news on impact investing.
3/27/2019: Pay for Success Lunch & Learn. High-capacity nonprofits, foundations and impact investors attended a session led by Deborah Kasemeyer of Northern Trust and Mary Wickersham of Social Impact Solutions. Nonprofits need to work on their data management before a transaction can take place. There needs to be a clear outcomes payment trigger, which requires clear and mutually-agreed upon data. We also need to pull governments and other possible payers into the conversation once nonprofits are ready to finance their intervention; investors are ready.
4/2/2019: Theory of Change Strategy Workshop. Based on surveys and small breakout sessions, GSIC’s leadership plans next phase of development and future focus areas for the organization.
4/10/2019: Inaugural GSIC Happy Hour with the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI). The first of several happy hours, social entrepreneurs and foundations gathered to discuss the difficulty of raising capital. There are many social enterprises in Atlanta struggling to raise capital; GSIC can provide a space to mingle and network.
6/5/2019: Inaugural SocEnt Breakfast with the Village Micro Fund. A group of 12 joined Donte Miller to hear about creative ways to deploy and raise capital. New ventures in Atlanta are considering how they can make it a reality.
7/22/2019: GSIC Happy Hour with Startup Atlanta. Social entrepreneurs, startups and foundations are looking to engage with impact investors but are having trouble finding them. With Startup Atlanta listing GSIC in their 2019 Ecosystem Guide, startups are beginning to look to GSIC as a point of connection.
8/7/2019: SocEnt Breakfast with the Intentionally Good Project. Roughly 20 attendees joined GSIC to hear from Joey Womack and Yonina Gray. 95% of venture capital investments go to companies with white, male founders. The lack of diversity in VC investments is unhealthy from a risk perspective as well as unethical from a social impact perspective. Inclusion and social impact are two guiding principles that work in tandem. The Intentionally Good Project is launching as an accelerator to support diverse-led and social impact companies this fall.
9/9/2019: GSIC Happy Hour with Generator. Roughly 50 attendees joined to network among social entrepreneurs, investors, foundations, wealth managers, nonprofits, accelerators and other support organizations.
10/3/2019: Leveraging CDFIs for Mission Workshop. Roughly 40 foundations and impact investors joined for a program led by Sameera Fazili of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Courtney Smith of PNC Bank and Sandra Mikush formerly of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. There are roughly 20 CDFIs operating in Georgia and there are several more that are either looking to incorporate or import their products to the Atlanta/Georgia market. Foundations, more educated on the role of CDFIs, are engaging in some ways, and we anticipate the connections and working relationships to increase.
10/23/2019: GSIC Happy Hour @ SOCAP. Almost 50 SOCAP attendees with an interest in investing in Georgia joined us for a casual meet up of Georgia and southeast-based impact investors and entrepreneurs to share stories and network.