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  • Toward the Efficient Impact Frontier
    Michael McCreless

    A GPS for Social Impact

    How do we make sure we’re allocating each and every critical dollar we receive in the best possible way? How do we do create a portfolio that generates both impact and revenue?

    For most of our history, we at Root Capital — along with others in the impact investing space — have relied on a combination of intuition and prior experience to answer these questions. As an organization, and as a sector, we’ve lacked the the right tools to account for all of the factors of portfolio performance in a quantitative and holistic way. Until now.

    In the latest issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Root Capital’s Senior Director of Strategy and Impact Mike McCreless introduces the “efficient impact frontier,” a powerful approach to building a portfolio with the greatest possible impact for the level of expected return.

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    Nov 17, 2016
  • Financing Farm Renovation: How to Build Resilience Using a Blend of Capital
    Matt Foerster

    CFRI Learning Report CoverMore than two years following the launch of the Coffee Farmer Resilience Initiative (CFRI), we are pleased to share initial learning and recommendations on how to design financial products and services for long-term farm renovation.

    Read the report to discover the ways in which leading coffee companies along with the public sector, private foundations and pioneering impact investors are using a blend of capital to help Root Capital clients and smallholder farmers rejuvenate farms and invest in the future of coffee.

    Go to the download page for this learning report

    Feb 23, 2016
  • Investing in Resilience: A Shared Value Approach to Agricultural Extension
    Elizabeth Teague

    In this 31-page issue brief, the third in Root Capital’s Issue Brief Series, we share:

    • How private extension providers can advance climate-smart strategies among smallholder farmers.
    • The four most significant ways in which agricultural extension can create shared value for entire supply chains.
    • Four barriers that prevent agricultural enterprises from fully realizing the benefits of effective enterprise extension.
    • Insights from Root Capital’s global portfolio of borrowers and examples of enterprises that are investing in agricultural extension.

    Go to the download page for this issue brief

    Dec 03, 2015
  • Applying a Gender Lens to Agriculture: Farmers, Leaders, and Hidden Influencers in the Rural Economy
    Patty Devaney

    In this 14-page issue brief, the second in Root Capital’s Issue Brief Series, we share our experience of applying a gender lens to our work in smallholder agricultural finance. Through our Women in Agriculture Initiative, we have been able to better understand the areas in which we know we support women (as farmers, agro-processing employees, and leaders). This work has also identified new areas for potential impact that further foster economic empowerment for women, underscoring the vital nature of women in less conspicuous—but high-impact—roles and positions.

    Go to the download page for this issue brief

    Sep 03, 2014
  • Social & Environmental Due Diligence: From the Impact Case to the Business Case
    Michael McCreless

    We believe that assessing social and environmental factors is not just a way for mission-driven financial institutions like Root Capital to create impact.  In this 16-page Issue Brief, we posit that social and environmental due diligence can also create financial benefits that partially or fully offset the costs involved for lenders and investors.

    Read the Issue Brief to discover:

    • The five main ways in which social and environmental due diligence has improved Root Capital’s financial results
    • Examples of alignment between social, environmental and financial interests
    • Ways to integrate social and environmental due diligence into decision-making for impact investors, commercial financial institutions and food companies

    Go to the download page for this issue brief

    Jan 28, 2014
  • "A GPS for Social Impact"
    Michael McCreless & Brian Trelstad

    A GPS for Social ImpactThis article featured in the Fall 2012 edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. It discusses how Root Capital and Acumen Fund propose a system for program evaluation that is akin to GPS.

    "Measuring social impact is a quixotic pursuit. We both should know. Over the last several years, each of us has worked at leading social investment funds—Root Capital and Acumen Fund—measuring, managing, and communicating the social impact of our respective organizations’ investment portfolios. We have done a reasonable job counting outputs and aligning our performance with our own and other impact funds through the adoption of the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS). But..."

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    Aug 16, 2012
  • "Scaling Climate Smart Agriculture by Financing Small and Growing Businesses"
    Jesse Last

    Jesse Last guest blogs for the CGAP series titled "Climate Smart Financial Services."

    At Root Capital, we believe that facilitating the growth of climate-smart agricultural businesses that aggregate hundreds and sometimes thousands of small-scale farmers can break cycles of rural poverty and environmental degradation. Over the past decade, we’ve financed hundreds of small and growing businesses employing sustainable approaches such as agroforestry, organic production, and responsible harvesting of natural products. Scaling these and other climate-smart practices at the smallholder level can maintain the integrity of valuable landscapes while creating more prosperous and climate-resilient livelihoods for farmers, their families and communities.

    View blog post

    Apr 16, 2012
  • “An Agricultural Peace Dividend”
    William Foote

    This article featured in the Spring 2012 edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. It discusses how in northern Uganda, home to one of Africa’s longest and most brutal civil conflicts, organic farming is producing economic growth and stability.

    View article

    Feb 17, 2012
  • “Root Capital: A Case Study in Impact Investing”
    Liam Brody

    In this article, that appeared in Americas Quarterly in November, Liam Brody, Root Capital's Senior Vice President of Value Chain Relations, explains how Root Capital introduces big investors to small rural farmers and cooperatives—with dramatic results.

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    Nov 09, 2011
  • “Global Agricultural Value Chains: Sustainable Growth as a Means for Sustainable Development”
    Patricia Devaney

    Featured in the San Francisco Fed's Community Development Investment Review, this article was written by Patricia Devaney, Director of Knowledge and Impact. It discusses Root Capital's model for sustainable economic development, addressing the financing needs of rural small and growing businesses and building agricultural value chains.

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    Mar 04, 2011