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Episode 63:  Raising Investment Funds for Inclusive Financial Services with Andy Posner

Episode 63: Raising Investment Funds for Inclusive Financial Services with Andy Posner

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, hosts Jenny and Michelle chat with Andy Posner, Founder and CEO of the nonprofit Capital Good Fund. The fund’s mission is to create pathways out of poverty and advance a green economy through inclusive financial services.

Andy launched Capital Good Fund (CGF) in 2009 to combat predatory lending and the climate crisis by providing more equitable lending options to underserved communities. In this episode, Andy shares his journey developing CGF, CGF’s inclusive consumer lending programs, and how he raised millions of dollars from investors to fund this amazing work.

14 years after its founding, CGF now operates in 10 states. “We’ve lent out over $26 million to almost 11,000 families with a 97% repayment rate. And we’re growing really quickly,” says Andy. Listen to the episode to learn more.

Andy Posner founded Capital Good Fund in February of 2009 while earning his Master of Arts in Environmental Studies from Brown University. After reading Banker to the Poor by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus, also known as the “Father of Microfinance,” Andy quickly recognized that equitable financial services could unlock the potential for underserved communities just as they could for clean energy technologies. As the financial crisis of 2008 began to unravel the economy and devastate low-income communities, Andy decided to take action. He launched Capital Good Fund with an eye toward using financial services to tackle endemic poverty—first in Rhode Island, and then nationwide.

Andy firmly adheres to Dr. Yunus’ dream to put poverty into museums; or, as Andy says, put poverty out of business. He is the former Treasurer of the national Board of Directors of the Credit Builders Alliance, and a member of the Board of the Community Reinvestment Fund—one of the largest nonprofit lenders in America.

Andy has published his ideas in Huffington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Chronicle of Philanthropy, his own newsletter (Be The Change), and nearly a dozen poetry journals. He was also selected as a 2011 Hitachi Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneur and a 2013 American Express Emerging Innovator (one of 45 globally), and a 2015 Rhode Island Foundation Nonprofit CEO Fellow. Andy was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Poetry Prize for his piece, The Machinery of the State.


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The Capital Insight podcast intro and outro is voiced by Marina Verlaine. She can be contacted at reel.peach.vo@gmail.com

Episode 62: Driving Community Investment for Sustainable Agriculture with Rebecca Busansky

Episode 62: Driving Community Investment for Sustainable Agriculture with Rebecca Busansky

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, hosts Jenny and Michelle chat with Rebecca Busansky, Senior Program Manager at Franklin County Community Development Corporation, about her role in supporting local investing in farms and agricultural businesses in Western Massachusetts.

The PVGrows Investment Fund pools investments from community residents and supportive institutions to provide low-cost loans to farmers and food entrepreneurs in the Pioneer Valley.

In this podcast episode, Rebecca shares how the PVGrows Investment Fund is democratizing impact investing in regenerative agriculture.

Since the fund’s launch in 2015, it has raised over 2.2 million dollars, helping finance 55 farms and food system entrepreneurs with zero defaults. Listen to the episode to learn more.

Rebecca Busansky is a Senior Program Manager at the Franklin County Community Development Corporation where she manages the PVGrows Investment Fund (PVGIF) and Mass Food Trust Program (MFTP). PVGIF provides financing and technical assistance to farmers and local food entrepreneurs through community investments. MFTP provides healthy food financing to underserved communities. Rebecca joined the Franklin County Community Development Corporation team in 2015 to launch PVGIF, with a focus on developing and maintaining relationships with local food system entrepreneurs, community investors, and collaborators. Rebecca has an undergraduate degree from Brown University in American Civilization and has worked in the community economic development field for more than 25 years.

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The Capital Insight podcast intro and outro is voiced by Marina Verlaine. She can be contacted at reel.peach.vo@gmail.com

What was your first memory about money?

What was your first memory about money?

What are your beliefs about money?

Thank you to everyone who helped to spread the word about and attended our three day training – Raise Capital on Your Own Terms – Build It, Fund It, Grow It!
At the training, we shared a combination of practical tools, legal and financial training, and exercises to help build the mindset needed to successfully raise funding. This was the first time we ever held a three-day virtual training and we had some bumps leading up to it, like my luggage being lost on the way to Baltimore, our event headquarters. But the event exceeded expectations and attendees gave very positive feedback!
Here is some of what they said:
“Incredible expertise in the room”
“I think it was done very well. I was surprised at how engaged people were for an online event!”
“Having the guidance of qualified, caring individuals like Jenny and Michelle, when you are trying to tackle raising capital, is invaluable.”
“The Kassan team provided the perfect balance of soul searching and spine building to move my project forward.”
“Jenny Kassan and Michelle Thimesch are a dynamic duo unleashing a world of positive social and environmental impact through their work of helping entrepreneurs raise capital on their own terms.”

At the event we observed that almost all of our attendees had something in common: whether they were just starting out or have been running their business for years, money mindset played a big role in how they thought about raising money from investors.
I facilitated an exercise where we uncovered our beliefs about money, which you can watch here. We hope you find it helpful for your own journey!

Advancing Social Justice Through a Digital Communications Framework

Advancing Social Justice Through a Digital Communications Framework

Community Symbol Helps Entrepreneurs Make Powerful Impact Through Storytelling   

 

Martin Ricard is a community activist, journalist, and digital communications specialist. He is founder and chief content creator of Community Symbol, a digital communications service that works with mission-driven businesses and nonprofits committed to advancing racial equity and social justice.

In an increasingly polarized society, engaging people’s empathy is critical to making progress on complex issues. Martin specializes in storytelling — creating compelling content and an online presence for clients dedicated to social, political, and environmental causes. He helps these organizations build audiences and amplify their messages of diversity, inclusion, and hope.  

In this conversation, The Kassan Group founder Jenny Kassan talks with Martin about how Community Symbol is contributing to a more inclusive, regenerative economy.

 

Jenny Kassan: With technology constantly evolving, how do you stay true to your business’ foundational principles while also being flexible enough to meet the shifting challenges of the day?

 

Martin Ricard: My business is an Internet-first business for a reason. Everything is becoming much more integrated with the web and technology. The conversations and movements that start online are now influencing everything else in the real world, for example, what happened following the murder of George Floyd. At the same time, I realize the tools I’m using to help my clients grow their online presence might be outdated a few years from now. So I’m always trying to listen to the streets, especially those who are on the other side of town (i.e. liberals and conservatives), to figure out the best way to do storytelling that works for an always-changing 21st-century audience.

 

JK: Recent social movements aimed at equality have had a dramatic influence on business practices. Do you see that reflected within the social entrepreneurship space?  

 

MR: I’ve seen some real signs of hope by building connections within the social entrepreneurship space. One of the best examples of collaboration I’ve seen recently was the Shift conference I attended in 2021. It was organized by a lot of the same people who put on the SOCAP conference, but it was a smaller group of folks attending, there were a lot more people of color involved in organizing the event, and the organizers gave a wide variety of businesses equity in the event—which is something I’d never seen before. So by taking part in the efforts to promote the event and get people to participate in the conversations, we were all able to benefit from a social impact standpoint and a financial standpoint. That’s what a regenerative economy looks like to me.

 

JK: Your work supports changemakers who seek to make a direct, positive impact within neighborhoods and communities. To what extent is social entrepreneurship “borderless” in your view? 

 

MR: I can’t wait for the day that I get to work with a social entrepreneur from another country. I don’t think we realize how huge this movement is. Based on what I’ve seen, social entrepreneurship is popular in Australia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, South Korea, and a number of other non-U.S. countries. To me, that means social entrepreneurship is borderless because the issues (and the solutions) are universal. In all our countries, people have lost trust in the government and traditional institutions to fix the social, political, and environmental problems that are affecting our world. I truly believe that social entrepreneurs have the solutions that are needed to restore that trust and revive our hope in humanity.  

 

JK: What is your theme song as a social entrepreneur? 

 

MR: “Say Her Name (Hell You Talmbout)” by Janelle Monáe. 

 

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Martin Ricard has more than 15 years of media experience across the journalism, public relations and social media industries, and his expertise is in developing effective communications strategies that help entrepreneurs and changemakers build their teams, get funding and grow their audiences online. Martin received his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and his master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Learn how Martin has helped other mission-driven businesses and nonprofits succeed at https://communitysymbol.com/case-study.

 

Episode 61: Gaining Confidence to Ask for an Investment

Episode 61: Gaining Confidence to Ask for an Investment

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, cohosts Jenny Kassan and Michelle Thimesch share a method to boost your confidence to ask for investment.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking for investors to fund your business, you may be struggling with making an ask. If you feel anxious about asking for money, know you’re not alone. These feelings are very common and can be addressed with an amazing and effective exercise that helps you step back from limiting beliefs. Says Michelle, “It’s your thoughts around this asking; that is the limitation.”

Self-doubt can have physical and mental ramifications that keep you from building connections and developing relationships with potential investors. These limiting beliefs “can impact how we’re showing up, and what energy we’re bringing to a situation.” In the episode, Jenny and Michelle offer an exercise to control these types of fears to keep you calm and focused when promoting your business and asking for an investment.

According to Jenny, “The best way to get over that fear is just to keep believing you can get the words out and then continue to learn from that process of doing it over again.” If you keep practicing, you’re sure to get more comfortable and improve. Practice and perseverance are key to making the ask. Listen to the full episode for more insights!

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The Capital Insight podcast intro and outro is voiced by Marina Verlaine. She can be contacted at reel.peach.vo@gmail.com

Episode 60: Raising Capital Step Two: Identify the Right Investors

Episode 60: Raising Capital Step Two: Identify the Right Investors

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, cohosts Jenny Kassan and Michelle Thimesch explore the second step of designing your strategy to raise capital on your terms: identifying the right investors for your business.

According to Jenny Kassan, “This step requires the biggest shift in perspective for many people.” When you’re raising capital for your business, you don’t need to go the traditional route of “professional investors.” At the end of the day, anyone can be an investor. Shifting your mindset on this can help you raise the money you need — from investors who align with your business goals — more quickly and efficiently.

Jenny and Michelle recommend keeping an open mind when developing your capital-raising approach to help diversify your potential investor pool. When searching for potential investors, it’s important to consider that they likely share your values. “Your ideal investors probably have a lot in common with you,’ says Jenny. “They value a lot of the same things. That’s what’s going to make them want to invest.”

Once you start the work of thinking outside the box about who your ideal investors might be, opportunities will begin to present themselves. Listen to the full conversation below!

Curious to learn more? Sign up for our free email series and discover the 6 steps to finding values-aligned investors to help you achieve your goals! Sign up here!

Subscribe to the Capital Insight podcast on your favorite streaming platform! 

 

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The Capital Insight podcast intro and outro is voiced by Marina Verlaine. She can be contacted at reel.peach.vo@gmail.com