Episode 86: Interview with Joel Solomon, Chairman of Renewal Funds, co-author of the Clean Money Revolution

Joel-Solomon-2-200x300Joel Solomon is a highly experience social investor who has invested in over 100 early-growth stage companies in North America. Joel was instrumental in the development the Endswell Foundation, the largest, BC-based, charitable foundation in British Columbia funding environmental issues in the 1990s. Joel is currently Chair of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest mission venture capital firm, with $98m assets under management. Joel is a Senior Advisor with RSF Social Finance, founding member of Social Venture Network, Business for Social Responsibility, the Tides Canada Foundation, and Board Chair of Hollyhock. He is co-author of the Clean Money Revolution, which will has now been published.

In this interview, Joel shares his perspective on the evolution of impact investing in the US, after years at the forefront front of social investment, and his experience building the Endswell Foundation. Joel discusses Renewal Funds investment strategy, what they are looking for in investee companies, and how they go about building a portfolio. He also provides advice for entrepreneurs that are looking to raise money for their business. Finally, Joel outlines some of the key ideas in his new book. Clean Money Revolution, and looks to the future of finance where profit & purpose are aligned. (An edited version of this interview has previously been posted to the Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs podcast series.)

Episode 85: Interview with Kevin Barenblat, founder of the Fast Forward accelerator

8VCxAjNX_400x400-200x200Kevin Barenblat is a highly experienced software entrepreneur with a passion for applying technology for good. He is a big believer that talented people can leverage technology to create scalable solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. Kevin is the founder of the Fast Forward accelerator that helps tech nonprofits by investing money, providing training and mentoring, and helping scale them to impact using what he calls a “well-established Silicon Valley playbook.” (An edited version of this podcast was posted on the Financing Social Entrepreneurs podcast).

Episode 84: Interview with Ned Breslin, CEO at the Tennyson Center for Children

ned-1Ned Breslin is the CEO at the Tennyson Center for Children, a 112 year non-profit based in Denver, Colorado, dedicated to helping children who have experienced severe abuse, neglect and/or trauma so they can bravely, and safely, change their life’s story. Ned previously worked in international water and sanitation for close to 30 years and is a 2011 winner of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. 

In this inspiring interview, Ned talks about his ongoing journey as a social entrepreneur, the challenges and motivation of working in the child welfare sector, after 30 years working in water and sanitation. Ned talks about how Tennyson is re-envisioning provision of child welfare, how he has approached fundraising, and the real meaning of advocacy. Ned also touches on important trends within the social sectors including growing interest in hyper-local social innovation. This is a powerful interview where Ned shares the fruit of a long and committed career at the forefront of social innovation.

Episode 83 Interview with Jonathan Lewis social justice activist, social entrepreneur, author and educator

headshot-threeJonathan Lewis has had a long and varied career and vocation as a social justice activist and social entrepreneur. He is Founder of MCE Social Capital, an innovative social venture that finances small business loans to deeply impoverished people in 33 countries around the world. He is also Founder and President of the Opportunity Collaboration, an annual global strategic business retreat for anti-poverty leaders, and also co-founder of Copia Global, an Amazon-like consumer catalog. Jonathan has taught social entrepreneurship and lectured at universities around the world and is the author of the newly published The Unfinished Social Entrepreneur, a candid and provocative account of the challenges and questions facing all social entrepreneurs.

Episode 82: Interview with Ron Cordes, founder of the Cordes foundation

Ronald_Cordes2005_forWeb (1)Ron Cordes is a veteran of more than 30 years in the investment industry – he co-founded and then sold AssetMark Investment Services. In 2006, together with his wife Marty, Ron set up the Cordes Foundation — a family foundation focused on social entrepreneurship, impact investing and creating economic opportunities for women, later broadening its focus to include ethical fashion brands, sustainable manufacturing and engaging millennials in impact investing. The Cordes Foundation was one of the first foundations to commit itself to aligning 100% of assets to mission. Ron also chairs the Executive Committee for ImpactAssets, an initiative to catalyze capital for impact investments, formed in partnership with the Calvert Foundation.

 In this interview, Ron talks about how he got started in philanthropy and talks about the work of the Cordes Foundation, highlighting the Foundation’s long-standing focus on providing economic opportunities for women and girls, and its growing interest in ethical fashion. Ron discusses the recent growth in impact investing and shares his views on the importance of generating market related returns within the sector. He discusses the Foundation’s pioneering move toward aligning 100% of assets to mission and some of the big changes taking place in philanthropy today. Finally, he talks about Opportunity Collaboration, an annual global poverty business retreat he co-chairs, and the Cordes Fellowships provided to emerging global social entrepreneurs.