Impact Across All Investments: The role of family offices in building the impact investing ecosystem across the continuum
By Liesel Pritzker Simmons
Back in 2012 my husband, Ian Simmons, and I created Blue Haven Initiative (BHI) as a single-family office with market-rate impact investing as its focus. We set out to build a portfolio that incorporated social and environmental factors into every investment decision we made. We wanted to do this not just because we thought it was the right thing to do, but also because we thought it was the smart thing to do. To us, impact investing is more informed investing.
This meant acknowledging a simple, but powerful axiom: All investments have an impact—social, environmental and financial. Using this as a guiding principle, we systematically rebuilt our investment portfolio to try to maximize our positive impact across all asset classes. Although the vast majority of our investments did seek and are seeking market-rate financial returns, we quickly realized that how we used our philanthropic assets (both grants and concessionary investments) would be crucial to our overall impact. Over the past several years, we have experimented with and refined our rationale for when it makes sense to deploy what type of capital. While still a work in progress, we believe that playing across the returns continuum expands our opportunities to have scalable impact.