We all expect social good from our philanthropy, but can we also achieve positive social impact from our investment capital as well?  Impact investors (families, foundations, endowments, pension funds) are pushing investment capital to do just that – meet financial goals while also aligning with values to achieve positive outcomes for society.  With the introduction of modern socially responsible investing in the 1970s, concerned investors began obtaining data on the negative impact of their investments, and could decide to ‘do no harm’ by screening out undesirable companies and/or sectors.  Today investors can also seek positive impact by selecting investments that support renewable energy, poverty alleviating microloans, healthcare, education, sustainable agriculture, women entrepreneurs, Israeli innovation, and more.  

JLens recently published a report with Jumpstart entitled Impact Investing: Rabbinic Perspectives. The report, released at the Nexus Summit in July at the United Nations, highlights the strong connection between impact investing and Jewish teachings according to the more than 150 rabbis who participated.  

Rabbi “Yitz” Greenberg’s beautiful preface to the report begins: “Investing is one of the most powerful areas of economic, social, and political impact.  Done right, investing can create the infrastructure of a better life, enabling a higher level of human dignity and health for all.”

JLens is putting together an educational webinar series this Fall on impact investing with Jewish values for investors (individuals, institutions, foundations, federations, endowments, nonprofits).  Please contact me to register.  

Julie Hammerman formed JLens in 2012 after graduating from the East Bay 10 Wexner class.  She was interested in the overlay of a Jewish value set (social justice, environmental preservation, Israel advocacy) onto an investment portfolio.  She is happy her East Bay 10 Wexner peers, Josh Langenthal and Rachel Heitler, have joined her in this project. Julie can be reached at julie@jlensnetwork.org.