If you’ve wanted to form an impact circle but aren’t sure how to get started, Invest for Better has the program for you. Applications are now open for the Spring 2021 Cohort of Invest for Better’s Circle Leader program. Kicking off on February 11th, this free training program offers the resources and know-how for women to form, lead, and grow their own impact investing circles.
Invest for Better is a national initiative aimed at helping women demystify impact investing, take control of their capital and mobilize their money for good. It is non-profit and non-transactional, designed to address the “aspiration gap” between women’s interest and their action by overcoming obstacles to participation, and building trusted peer communities.
As the only initiative of its kind in the United States, Invest for Better is aimed at helping all women recognize the power of their investments and become impact investing change agents. Housed at The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), Invest for Better relies on guidance from a Steering Committee of field leaders and investors. The organizations collaborates with a wide range of networks, organizations, funders and corporations.
Impact investing, like philanthropy, focuses on stretching a dollar to do the most good. However, where traditional philanthropy supports things like charities and nonprofit organizations serving women and girls, impact investing approaches the flip side of the coin, focusing on companies, start-ups, and campaigns designed to change the world.
For example, let’s look at a philanthropist and an impact investor who both want to make a difference for women and girls: The philanthropist donates to a global organization providing sanitary products for women and girls in underserved communities, while the impact investor joins the board of or buys stock in and up-and-coming woman-led corporation with a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and environmental advocacy.
“You can decide whether you’d like to focus on earning market-rate returns, or whether you’re open to earning lower financial returns, taking on higher risk, or investing for a longer timeline in order to achieve greater social or environmental impact,” Invest for Better explains in their breakdown of impact investing.
Similar to a giving circle, in which members pool their philanthropic dollars to make larger dollar-figure donations, an impact circle applies the same methodology to impact investing. Some impact circle members choose to pool their resources to make larger-dollar investments, while others focus solely on educational resources to create better investors. The goal of an Invest for Better Circle is to promote female leaders’ investment knowledge, confidence, and networks in order to create well-rounded investors.
To that end, the Circle Leader program is designed to connect interested women with the resources they need to form their own impact circles.
Invest for Better Circles involve the following:
- An intimate group of 5-15 women
- A series of 6-10 get-togethers over a 1 year period (in-person or online)
- An opportunity to learn from experts across asset classes
- A process to clarify goals, get advice on overcoming obstacles and share investment ideas
- Structure and materials provided in the Invest for Better Circle Toolkit and Circle Hub
- A powerful community of trust, enabling participants to build momentum in their impact investing journey
The Spring 2021 cohort will participate in training, resource study, and guidance workshops starting on February 11th and continuing through the end of March. From February to April 2021, prospective Circle Leaders will recruit 6-15 participants each, forming the foundation of their own impact circles. Finally, from April to October 2021, the Circle Leaders will take what they’ve learned to conduct six monthly meetings (skipping one month to help with scheduling) with their new circle members, making investments as a group based on the training provided by Invest for Better.
Joining the Circle Leader program is free, and Invest for Better provides a robust collection of resources and training for potential Circle Leaders. Drawing off of a central “Circle Hub” of resources, members of the spring cohort can access the Invest for Better Circle Toolkit, which breaks down the ins and outs of starting and leading an impact circle, while receiving coaching and advice from the Invest for Better team on creating curriculum, sourcing members, and maximizing investments.
In addition to this training, Invest for Better plans to offer periodic “Ask the Expert” sessions for Circle Leaders and their circle members alike, as well as ongoing virtual meetings for the Spring cohort members to share their experiences and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
With the first program calls kicking off on February 11th, Invest for Better encourages interested Circle Leaders to apply into the cohort by February 10th. To learn more about the program and apply, visit Invest for Better’s website here.
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