She Invests #2 – Investing for Racial Equity

A photo of an inspirational quote about investing big if you want to change the world in big ways.
A quote I took a picture of at a conference.

As published on LinkedIn for the She Invests monthly newsletter.

Welcome to She Invests, a monthly newsletter on women, money, and investing. This is newsletter #2! If you have not yet seen the first one, please click here, and thank you for reading and sharing. Be sure to subscribe!

Earlier this year, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Catalyst at Large published Project Sage 3.0: Tracking Venture Capital, Private Equity, and Private Debt with a Gender Lens. I wrote about this new report at the time of its release, and how it was an important resource for investors who are looking to apply a gender lens to their portfolio. This week, another report was published by Glenmede, titled Gender Lens Investing in Public Markets: It’s More Than Women at the Top. This report looks specifically at the relationship between performance and five dimensions of gender equity: Women in Leadership, Access to Benefits, Pay Equity, Diverse Supply Chains, and Talent and Culture. This new resource was born out of the desire to provide investors with a metric to gauge gender equity at all levels of a company, instead of just evaluating the highest levels of an organization’s leadership.

Both of these reports are part of a growing body of research in the field of gender lens, or gender impact, investing. This research has grown exponentially since the term was first coined over 10 years ago, and the field of gender lens investing as a whole has evolved dramatically during this time as well. So much so, that it’s starting to recognize the limitations of its initial parameters, while providing expanding frameworks for investors wanting to combine impact with return. For one thing, gender exists on a spectrum, and for another, it’s not just gender equity that should be driving investors’ decisions. The past couple of months have witnessed a global reckoning around issues of racial and ethnic justice, and thankfully, we’re seeing this reckoning extend to the financial sector as well. Specifically, more people are calling for equity on many fronts, not just gender.

One such person is the incredible Suzanne Biegel, who was involved in both of the above reports, and is a globally recognized expert in gender lens investing. I have known Suzanne for a long time and proud to call her a friend and mentor. She is also the co-founder of GenderSmart Investing, and recently wrote about the need to incorporate racial equity into the investment sector. To that end, GenderSmart released a list of resources for investors to help us expand our understanding of racial equity as it relates to investing, which you will find below. When people talk about investing, I often hear that they don’t know where to start. My goal with this newsletter is to help you start somewhere. Additionally, this is a place for me to both share and aggregate a collection of reference material that you refer back to as your interests grow.

Thanks again to Suzanne, Darian Rodriguez Heyman, and so many more for putting together such an incredible list.


Data, Tools and Reports

Community Voices

Investment-Related Organisations and Initiatives Working to Address Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

  • ABFE, The Investment Manager Diversity Pledge – promoting effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities.
  • Croatan Institute, Racial Equity, Economics, Finance, and Sustainability (REEFS) – an initiative to address structural racism within finance and to integrate racial equity as an explicit factor of analysis and engagement within total portfolio approaches to investing for social impact.
  • Diverse Asset Managers Initiative  – building a vibrant, coordinated effort to change the culture of the financial services industry as it relates to asset managers.
  • Digital Undivided – a social startup that merges data and heart to develop innovative programs and initiatives that catalyzes economic growth in Black and Latinx communities.
  • Diversity VC – working with entrepreneurs, investors, and universities in order to create an industry that is free from bias.
  • Fundright – a VC initiated movement aimed at ensuring a more diverse ecosystem, at both VC level and portfolio company level.
  • Intentional Endowments Network (IEN), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group – improving endowment investment decision-making in higher education to better incorporate factors related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
  • Racial Justice Investing  – a group of investors, asset owners, and business leaders who are taking action for racial justice within their own organizations, as well as in their engagements with portfolio companies.
  • The Diversity Project  – a cross-company initiative championing a more inclusive culture within the Savings and Investment profession.
  • Transform Finance – a community of practice for asset owners and other finance practitioners exploring how to deploy capital for social change in accordance with the principles of transformative finance.
  • UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, Midwest Investors Diversity Initiative – a coalition of institutional investors dedicated to increasing racial, ethnic, and gender diversity on corporate boards of companies headquartered in six Midwest states.
  • VC Include   – consulting venture capital and impact fund managers, and assisting multi-asset class allocators to create a more efficient process for investing in Black, LatinX, People of Color (BIPOC) and women-led fund managers.
  • WOCStar – early-stage investment fund focused on tech innovation being brought to market by inclusion teams and women of colour (“WOCSTARS”).

If you want to add your own resources please do so in the comment section.