February 17

Family offices lead the way on impact investing

By Beth Pinsker


NEW YORK (Reuters) – When former investment manager Ron Cordes started a charitable foundation in 2007, he got frustrated because he could only “do good” when he was actively giving the money away to needy causes.

Then Cordes discovered impact investing. “We became passionate about sustainability,” he told Reuters.

At first, the Cordes Foundation allocated 20% of its $10 million endowment to private equity investments aimed to make a beneficial social or environmental impact. Today, all of the foundation’s assets are invested in projects that promote the family’s values, including ethical fashion brands and sustainable supply chains.

“There are real investing opportunities with impact. It’s not about disguised philanthropy,” said Cordes, who made his fortune primarily after he sold his firm AssetMark (AMK.N) in 2006.

For impact investors like Cordes, whose foundation is based in Maryland, financial gains are critical, but social returns are equally important.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

impact investing, philanthropy