Impact Investing Initiative

Impact investing is the practice of making an investment with the expectation of generating both financial and social returns. It is a fast-growing industry. The Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) 2019 survey estimated there is approximately US$511 billion in assets in this space. That level more than doubles the estimate from the 2018 survey. In Spring 2019 the George Washington University Institute for Corporate Responsibility (ICR) launched a new initiative of education, research, and engagement addressing impact investing with the goal of advancing learning, scholarship, and expanded impact investment opportunities.

Read More About the Impact Investing Initiative


New GWSB Course - Impact Investing: Theory, Practices and Challenges

Beginning in Fall 2019, the George Washington University School of Business will offer a new undergraduate/graduate level course that investigates the fundamentals of impact investing, focusing on its different forms and financial instruments, examines the considerable challenges faced by both impact investors and investees, and explores emergent new techniques for making proposals more attractive to impact investors.

Contact: Prof. John Forrer, Director [email protected]

GWSB Course - Global Business Project: Impact Investments in Rwanda

This short-term study abroad program explores impact investments in Rwanda, a landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa known for its picturesque terrain as the “Land of a Thousand Hills.” This course studies the agriculture sector in Rwanda and requires students to work with agricultural processors and farmer cooperatives (“coops”). Student consulting teams will prepare impact investment memoranda on the selected agricultural processors for presentation to a U.S.-based impact investor. In this capacity, students will be trained and will act as investment officers for (potential) impact investment transactions.

Contact: Prof. Reid Click, International Business [email protected]

GW Socially Responsible Investment Fund (SRIF)

The GW Socially Responsible Investment Fund (SRIF) is a student led investment fund where students decide what investments to make into socially responsible firms with funds raised for SRIF to invest. The SRIF provides GW students a unique, structured, peer-to-peer learning experience and exposure to the perspectives and experience of practitioners. SRIF profits from investments are committed to the ICR for use as student scholarships.

Contacts: Kian Seddighnezhad, Co-Founder [email protected] and Farid Khreino, Co-Founder [email protected]

Impact Investment Student Advisory Group (COMPASS)

The goal of the student-led Impact Investment Advisory group is to work with nonprofits and projects who were unable to receive government funding and assist and develop them with the end goal of attaining impact investor capital. Through this organization, students will work in an advisor capacity to provide the space for collaboration, new partnerships, and be involved in developing accountability and measurement frameworks. Additionally, Compass will consult on real projects and work with investors to support expanded possibilities for mobilizing private finance towards the SDGs.

Contact: James Daley, President [email protected]


Financing the SDGs

The most underserved communities are in the greatest need of investment capital, but have the hardest time attracting impact investors. ICR is exploring innovative approaches to designing, implementing, and funding proposals targeting these communities — “high-hanging fruit” — that will make them more attractive to impact investors. We call our new approach Investing in Innovation for Impact (I3). This value-creation model looks to optimize both social impact and financial ROI — not assuming success in one requires a sacrifice of the other. It is different than current impact investing and uses the Social Innovation Model for Partnerships (SIMPle) Approach© to develop investable projects.


Impact Investing in Health Care

The need for greater access to healthcare services has no limits and the healthcare sector offers unlimited investment opportunities. Fully funding research, data infrastructure, analytics and education is critical. In order to successfully raise funds necessary to reach these objective successes has to be measured with verified assessment tools and prove that social and business value is being created. We will work with a range of stakeholders, including leaders from the private sector, philanthropy, and non-profit organizations to define a global framework for healthcare impact investing and resources for funders and grantees.

Sustainable Supply Chains and Impact Investing

Making supply chains more sustainable is a priority for many firms. Working with NGOs, governments and community organizations, CSR program have been adopted to addressing economic, social and environment issues. However, many of these actions require extensive and long-term funding support. Such CSR programs can be redesigned (using the SIMPle Approach) to bring about greater socialimpact and attract impact investors. Financing sustainable supply chains by impact investors reduces firms’ CSR program costs without reducing their commitment to achieving their sustainability goals. Current projects are building impact investing opportunities for sustainable cocoa farming (e.g. Cocoa Bonds) and sustainable mining (e.g. Metallic Teal Bonds)

Impact Investor Roundtables

ICR convened its inaugural Impact Investment Roundtable meeting in Winter 2018. The Impact Investment Roundtable welcomes new participants as a venue to learn about new impact investing ideas and experiences, network with students and practitioners, and provide guidance and support of other ICR impact investing initiatives. The first Impact Investor Roundtables met Fall 2019 and is a semi-annual event.

Impact Investing Summer Hack

Proposals seeking impact investments that use innovative approaches in their early stages of development are hacked by students. Student group research and make recommendations on project design, financing and operations that makes the proposal more attractive to impact investors. Students apply the SIMPle Approach to improve the proposal in four ways: greater social impact, less risk, lower costs, more sustainable. Proposals to be hacked may be nominated by social entrepreneurs, NGOs, businesses, or development agencies.

For more information, please contact John Forrer, director of the Institute for Corporate Responsibility, at (202) 994-5248 or [email protected].

Related Projects

ICR's Investing for Impact Lab (i4iLab) brings together the worlds of finance and development under one roof to connect investors with investment-ready projects.

Learn About ICR's Investing for Impact Lab (i4iLab)