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Episode 54: Grassroots Fundraising with Tom Moroz

Episode 54: Grassroots Fundraising with Tom Moroz

On this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, Tom Moroz, founder and director of Stonehedge Holistic Learning Center, shares his journey with grassroots fundraising and the challenges and surprises he’s encountered along the way.

Tom is a finance professional with over 30 years of experience. Last year he helped lead an effort to transform Stonehedge Gardens, a landscaped sanctuary in Pennsylvania that aims to bring people together to heal and inspire, from a charitable nonprofit to a social enterprise by adding a public benefit corporation with revenue-generating activities. He reached out to The Kassan Group for guidance on how to raise investment funding to grow Stonehedge and help it become financially sustainable. Stonehedge is currently raising funds through investment crowdfunding.

Reflecting on the process of launching his grassroots fundraising campaign, Tom says it has been educational for both him and his team, as well as for potential investors who are unfamiliar with the concept of crowdfunding. In return, he’s been surprised by who is interested in supporting his business venture. “It’s gratifying to know that what we’re offering is a value to the community and that they really want to be a part of it both financially and in participation of what we’re doing.” Listen to the episode to learn more about Tom’s journey in crowdfunding.

Tom Moroz has been connected with the Stonehedge vision since he was a teenager and was a close friend of both of the original founders. He has an MBA-Finance and brings over 30 years of corporate finance experience from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He was a management consultant for Deloitte, an international accounting firm, and was the head of finance for a large hotel operation in NYC as well as the head of regional finance for the Open Society Foundations, an international human rights foundation with an annual operating budget of nearly $1 Billion.

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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 53: Questioning Customary Investment Terms: The Role of Foundations

Episode 53: Questioning Customary Investment Terms: The Role of Foundations

On this episode of the Capital Insight podcast, hosts Jenny Kassan and Michelle Thimesch explore foundations as funders and whether their investment term sheets align with their impact missions.

As lawyers dedicated to growing the social enterprise and marginalized entrepreneur finance ecosystem, Jenny and Michelle have repeatedly witnessed funders claiming to share a similar mission who often miss the mark when it comes to the investment deal terms. Despite their stated desire to address the ever-growing income equality gap and support underserved entrepreneurs, their model of investing is far less equitable — it favors the investor over the entrepreneur and other stakeholders.

In order to better help foundations and other mission-driven investors create the positive impact they strive for, Jenny argues that attorneys for these kinds of investors must break away from the “customary” investment term agreements. She says there is a need to help lawyers feel comfortable with more diverse models so that they don’t always resort to the traditional — and inequitable — approach.

Michelle notes that foundations must work to ensure they better understand the terms of their investments and not over-rely on attorneys and other professional advisors. “Part of this change comes from a willingness to look at things from a different lens and to appreciate the ripple effects of our decisions and where we put our money.” This, she believes, will lead to better alignment between the missions of foundations and the impacts of their investments. Listen to the full conversation below.

 

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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 52: Raising Capital Using Intuition with Logan Yonavjak

Episode 52: Raising Capital Using Intuition with Logan Yonavjak

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, financial services professional, social entrepreneur, author, and angel investor, Logan Yonavjak shares what led her to impact investing and what she’s learned about raising capital. Throughout her career she’s assumed many roles, but her goal has always been raising capital for change: “All along the way my focus has been asking this question: how do we change our economic system?”

 

Logan is involved in a variety of activities around raising capital and financial advising. This includes coaching entrepreneurs who are seeking investment opportunities. Her advice on how to find a business investor? “What really motivates people at the end of the day,” she says, “are stories, especially ones that have hope.”

 

In her work, Logan has adapted and introduced a number of innovative tools for both entrepreneurs and investors to offset the “confusion and complex emotions” that come with investing and raising capital. To the clients she coaches, she emphasizes the importance of trusting your instincts: “We don’t give enough credence to those senses that we inherently have. And so my interest has been exploring tools that could be brought into both the capital raising process from the entrepreneur’s side, and then also the investor perspective.”

She also encourages system sensing, “a visceral aptitude that involves intuition and emotions and draws on our innate capacity for being in relationship to and listening more deeply to the elements of a system.” Listen to the episode to learn more about the tools and methods Logan applies to her work driving capital for change.

 

 

Logan Yonavjak is passionate about building businesses and guiding capital in ways that replenish, restore, and sustain our social, environmental, and economic systems to advance a more holistic future for all. Currently, she works as a consultant for a variety of clients, primarily focused on working lands investments; more recently, she worked with CREO Syndicate, the Yale Investments Office, and Align Impact.

Her work in financial services involves connecting high net worth individuals and other investors to regenerative investment opportunities. She has also developed new financial models and tools, particularly focused on land conservation and restoration, and has written extensively about how to invest for people, planet, and profit. She also advise a variety of impact-oriented startups, on both raising capital and reporting impact metrics.

 

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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 51: Investing in Underrepresented Social Entrepreneurs with Pooja Mehta

Episode 51: Investing in Underrepresented Social Entrepreneurs with Pooja Mehta

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, host Jenny Kassan is joined by social entrepreneur Pooja Mehta who shares her experience being a woman in the investment industry, what she’s learned as an angel investor, and how she’s supporting underrepresented social entrepreneurs.

 

Pooja advises and invests in women and other historically underrepresented leaders and mission-driven businesses. “I want to do my part to empower and support others in a way that helps narrow racial and gender wealth gaps.” Her goal is to ensure that business owners feel informed and confident to make decisions and ensure they have trusted partners to turn to when questions arise.

 

Pooja joined the impact investing space with a desire to benefit society. She learned of angel investing and loved the idea of supporting companies and founders that she believes in. She shares what she learned as a newbie angel investor and offers advice for those who are thinking about becoming an angel investor. She recommends considering these questions: what are the changes you want to see in the world?; how do you want to use your investments to advance that change?; and what are the types of investments you want to make? “Being able to see the opportunities and the ways that your money can be of value to a founder is really important,” she says. Listen to the full episode below.

 

 

Pooja Mehta is the founder of The Marigold Effect, which provides advice, capital, and storytelling tools to help mission-driven organizations grow. The company draws inspiration from the marigold, a companion flower that helps nearby plants flourish. Pooja is a lawyer, entrepreneur, investor, photographer, and advisor to non-profits & small businesses. She lives in Washington, DC.

 

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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 50: Growing the Community Investing Movement with Stephanie Geller

Episode 50: Growing the Community Investing Movement with Stephanie Geller

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, Stephanie Geller, Founder of Community Wealth Builders, a nonprofit initiative that focuses on bringing new ideas, policies, and models to her hometown of Baltimore City, discusses utilizing community investing as a way to build a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient local economy.
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As Stephanie explains, “Community wealth-building is an economic development paradigm that really focuses on new models that bring power and resources back to disinvested neighborhoods.”

 

In this episode, Stephanie shares insight on some of the initiatives her company is leading including the Maryland Neighborhood Exchange which utilizes grassroots community investing to help businesses raise the capital they need from their customers and community. “Having that cemented relationship with customers who have a small financial stake in your success, that’s really going to increase the business’s ability to survive.”

 

Since launching in December 2019, her company has supported 68 local businesses to raise over $3.7 million from more than 9,400 small investors. Listen to the full episode below to learn more.

 

 

Stephanie Geller is the Founder and Director of Community Wealth Builders. She works passionately to foster an ecosystem more supportive of community wealth-building models and local-, minority-, and cooperatively-owned businesses in Baltimore. She is also the Co-Founder and Director of the nation’s first locally-focused grassroots crowdfunding platform, the Maryland Neighborhood Exchange, which aims to foster a more sustainable, robust, and resilient local economy by expanding investment crowdfunding across the state.

Previously, Stephanie worked at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where she focused on promoting community wealth-building strategies and models. In this role, she created and co-taught with faculty from the UMD business and law schools the first-ever, joint MSW, MBA, and JD graduate-level class, which engaged students in analyzing opportunities for new business development based on anchor institution procurement. Stephanie’s previous nonprofit experience includes nearly fifteen years as a Research Project Manager at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Civil Society Studies, where she managed, oversaw, and coordinated all facets of the Center’s two major research projects focused on U.S. nonprofit organizations. Stephanie received her MSW with a specialization in Social and Community Development from the University of Maryland School of Social Work has a BS in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University, and completed public policy training at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

 

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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