The Michigan Impact Investing Hub: A New Table to Bring Partners Together

Monday, September 20, 2021

CMF is working with leaders around the state in launching a new structure and support to promote better communication and facilitate more collaboration in the impact investing space.

The Michigan Impact Investing Hub is a model for convening and connecting stakeholders engaged in impact investing, including nonprofits, foundations, advisors, fund managers and beyond.

The Hub consists of a four-leaf clover ecosystem in which similarly situated stakeholders will periodically gather, share what they believe is needed in Michigan’s impact investing ecosystem and propose actions to meet those goals.

A team of peers from each “Leaf” will be more regularly convened to share thoughts and brainstorm ideas as a collective, and the results will be shared back with all Hub participants.

“It is our hope that the Hub will promote communication amongst all stakeholders, which will lead to more idea sharing and collaboration and result in more impact deal flow,” Jennifer Oertel, CMF’s impact investing expert in residence said.

CMF has been at the forefront of this field since 2013 through the leadership of our community of philanthropy, including CMF’s Impact Investing Committee and its partners. Since that time the practice of impact investing has made significant strides forward.

Over the years stakeholders have increasingly expressed through various statewide and regional convenings that they would like a common point of convening. 

“It’s exciting because we’re finally getting to this point that we’ve been talking about for several years,” Renee Johnston, president and CEO of Saginaw Community Foundation, CMF trustee and chair of CMF’s Impact Investing Committee said. “The Hub gives members another opportunity to engage in this space versus just attending a seminar. It aligns them with resources and connectors and allows them the opportunity to be a part of a greater network,” Johnston said. 

The Hub will serve as a shared table to build relationships and break down communication silos.

“By casting a wide net so that anyone interested or involved in impact investing in Michigan may participate in the Hub, we hope to create a more level playing field where all stakeholders may come together to share ideas,” Oertel said. 

According to Oertel, the Hub is designed to strengthen the work of those newer to the practice as well as those who have been engaged in this work for many years. 

“We believe that the collective group, no matter how experienced one is, will benefit from the growth of the ecosystem, connecting with others they don’t normally come across, and being able to express their opinion about what the ecosystem needs in order to continue to grow and thrive,” Oertel said.

According to Oertel, when CMF began this work, there were a few large private foundations that were active and some community foundations were periodically doing deals that weren’t necessarily labeled as impact investing.

“Today, we have scores of examples of impact investment work, more CMF members are hiring staff dedicated to impact investing,” Oertel said.

Although there has been great evolution in impact investing, Oertel shared that there is still work to do to make it a mainstream practice. 

“Hopefully in the near future, the idea that someone, especially philanthropic organizations with their public missions and additional tax benefits, would invest their capital without a thought as to the potential social impact of those investments, will be but a memory of the way things used to be done,” Oertel said. 

The Saginaw Community Foundation has been involved and engaged with impact investing over the past five years. 

“I see the Saginaw Community Foundation as an investee as well as an investor. As an investee, I’m hoping that we can be connected to those investors through the Hub who can either help continue to educate us or provide opportunities for us in this space,” Johnston said. 

Johnson shared that the Hub is another example of how Michigan is a leader in philanthropy. 

“I hope that our members see that the Hub could be built to move mountains in our state and beyond on behalf of philanthropy and I’m hoping that our members see a potential role for themselves within this Hub,” Johnston said.

Phillip Fisher, founder of Mission Throttle, chair of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation and former chair of CMF’s Impact Investing Committee, shared that the Hub is an opportunity for people with aligned values, interests and passions to work together to scale social capital for community benefit.

“The Hub will serve as a resource center ‘collective’ bringing field leaders together with those who wish to experience the power of impact investing on the same journey,” Fisher said. 

The Hub officially launches on October 4th. Join us for the Hub kickoff event to grow your network and your knowledge base and be a part of shaping this exciting new endeavor.

“If members have questions on whether or not this is a space for them but they’re interested in learning more about what their role could be, they should really explore this and take advantage of what CMF has to offer,” Johnston said. 

Two-Year impact Investing Fellow Opportunity

CMF is hiring a Two-Year Impact Investing Fellow who will support both the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation and CMF. The fellow will help advance the foundation’s work to ensure organizations focused on social and environmental impact have access to growth capital to expand innovation and grow organizational capacity and sustainability. The Fellow will additionally be engaged in CMF’s work with foundations across the state engaged in and exploring impact investing as a vehicle to positively and equitably affect change in communities.

Want more?

Register for the Impact Investing Hub Kickoff event. 

Read more about the Two-Year Impact Investing Fellow position. 

Learn more about Impact Investing. 

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