Rise Of Mission Investing Is Trend Companies Should Follow

Editorial
The Wisconsin State Journal

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Mission investments” are investments that are expected to make money while simultaneously “doing good” according to the investor’s larger goals.

Wisconsin

The latest round of investment in Midwestern BioAg Inc. caught many eyes simply because of its size: The 33-year-old company has raised $21.3 million to continue a $40 million recapitalization that began in 2014.

It also deserved notice because of a phrase used to describe the role of two of its latest financiers: “Mission-related investments.”

Along with four other investors, the Mc- Knight Foundation and the Franciscan Sisters of Mary also made mission-related investments in the company through Imprint Capital Advisors, a division of Goldman Sachs.

“Mission investments” are investments made by foundations and other mission-based organizations to further their philanthropic goals. Also known as impact investments, mission investments are intended to generate both a measurable social or environmental benefit as well as a financial return.

In short, they’re market-rate investments that are expected to make money while simultaneously “doing good” according to the investor’s larger goals.

“We’re seeking opportunities to align our investments more closely with the foundation’s mission. This presents opportunities for both financial and environmental returns,” said Elizabeth McGeveran, director of impact investing at The McKnight Foundation.

“The company’s expertise in nutrient efficiency helps farmers increase yields and the nutritional content of food — that hits the financial goal. It also means fewer fertilizers escape into water supplies or the atmosphere — that hits the environmental goals of a cleaner Mississippi River and fewer greenhouse gases,” she added.

The topic will take center stage during the annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 16-17 at Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison. A panel of national experts will open the second day of the conference with a discussion of investment trends that emerging companies should know — including mission investing.

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