Living Right: Buen Vivir Fund Heralds a More Democratic Kind of Impact Investing
By Steve Dubb
The Buen Vivir Fund—established by Thousand Currents and backed by the NoVo Foundation (founded by Peter Buffett, son of Warren Buffett, and his wife Jennifer)—is seeking to deploy a different, albeit historically well tested, impact investment model, one in which lenders and borrowers openly collaborate to achieve common goals, explains Rara Reines in Market Mogul. Reines notes that lending decisions are made not by a board, but rather “a Members’ Assembly where those with on-the-ground expertise have equal voting rights in decision making.”
To date, 19 partners have raised $1 million for the Fund. The group claims they are “poised to grow the Fund’s membership to 50 and increase investments to $5 million within the next three to five years.”
Over the past 30 years, Thousand Currents—known until 2016 as IDEX—has “invested in more than 750 community-led initiatives in 37 countries.” The group was formed in 1985 by “a group of ex-Peace Corps members and volunteers frustrated by the poverty reduction strategies they saw imposed on communities in the Global South.” According to its 2017 annual report, the organization has 15 staff members and total revenues of $6.6 million (including fiscal sponsorship income).
Photo courtesy of Martin Fisch.