The mission and vision of an organization is undoubtedly shaped by its founder. We've asked our founder of Impact Charitable, Ed Briscoe, to share his story of why he decided to start this organization.
In the early 2000s, I quit my job in a commercial bank to go to business school for the opportunity to better align my values with my career. I had grown weary of my daily work while my volunteer work was far more fulfilling. Business school offered the opportunity for a fresh start and more control over my chosen work.
My first exposure to impact investing (primarily known as social responsible investing or “SRI” at that time) was through the opportunity during business school to help manage $400,000 in investments from the local utility company. As the president of the Net Impact club, I chose to run it as an SRI fund in partnership with the finance club. This experience opened my eyes to the contradiction in wanting my career to align with my values, yet not looking at my investment portfolio through the same lens.
A few years later, I saw and experienced the deep benefit of highly targeted impact investing through the Unreasonable Institute and the impact investing community in Boulder, Colorado. This presented a significant shift in how I saw the capital markets working. In my work in structured finance, the process was often adversarial, unlike the process in this new context; funders and entrepreneurs were partners in giving a business the best chance to succeed. The entrepreneurs and the team at the Unreasonable Institute were much of the inspiration for starting Impact Charitable.
When I started my own business in 2012, I sought to orient all of my work around moving more money into impact investing. As I began to seek ways to help move more money into impact, it was clear to me that foundations and donor advised fund sponsors should be leading the way. A lot of effort went toward looking at what grants went to, but not what the investments were doing. And that just didn't make sense to me. There is a lot of money being set aside to give to charity every year, but its not doing any work while it's waiting. That is what we want to change.
Last year, we created Impact Charitable to be a donor advised fund (DAF) sponsor, born out of the impact investing community and culture here in Colorado. Our board is made up of active impact investors, entrepreneurs, and innovators in social enterprise and impact investing. The board includes:
- Helen Gemmill - former chair of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County
- Rich Hoops - very active angel investor in impactful companies around the world
- Heather Potter - CEO of PharmaJet
- Brook Eddy - CEO of Bhakti Chai
- Tyler Hartung - COO of the Unreasonable Institute
- Praful Shah - very active angel investor, investment committee member and regular source of advice/inspiration with his long history in impact investing
And we are continuing to grow. Kate Reinemund joined us earlier this year as Executive Director. Annie Roethel joined us recently as Director of Engagement. Emily Winslow of PeakChange is providing us with marketing consulting and expertise as we continue to build our brand.
Together, our board and team are committed to investing 100% of the organization’s assets in impact, as well as providing a “safe space” for people to explore and learn about impact investing, and activating millions of dollars in donor advised funds for impact.
Finally, I want to tell you about a couple of our early donors:
My neighbor Bart and I met for drinks one evening. We got into a deep discussion as I learned about his work developing “Impact Loop”, a tool to help organizations evaluate and measure impact. When he learned about our DAF offering that would be 100% dedicated impact investing, it was an easy decision for him. He quickly moved his funds from his existing DAF that did not provide significant impact investment options, to Impact Charitable through a grant.
A group of four families who knew each other through church pooled together their money several years ago to buy a condo that they would rent out and give away the profits. It was a unique way for them to deepen their relationships and engage their children in giving. Earlier this year one of the families moved away and the property management became a burden. So the four families decided to sell and use the profits to open an Impact Charitable DAF, which offset the capital gains taxes created by the sale. The four families will continue to work together with us to invest in impact while continuing the charitable work they committed to do together years ago.
These stories inspire us in our work to deepen the impact in the impact investing space. We look forward to meeting more people like Bart and the 4 Stories families and empowering them to align their giving and investing with their values.