We captured some great social impact headlines for this week’s roundup. We're covering a social impact bond for a Grand Rapids based program, a new law bringing overdue changes to nonprofit tax returns, the opportunity for impact investors in charter schools and more!
Social Impact Bonds Help Nonprofits Help Others:
This article announces the Social Impact Bond for a Grand Rapids based federal Healthy Start program, Strong Beginnings, in “addressing social challenges at the front end to avoid significant problems down the road.”
New Law Brings Overdue Changes to Nonprofit Tax Filings:
The Taxpayer First Act is signed into law, mandating the electronic filing of nonprofit tax returns by 2021.
Meet the top performing B Corps creating impact through their business:
This article showcases the honorees of B Corporations featured on the Best for the World lists for Overall, Community, Environment, Workers, Governance and Customers.
New Website brings easy to use impact measurement to small and medium charities:
New website helping charities understand and increase their impact.
Charter Schools Are an Opportunity for Impact Investors:
This article highlights the opportunity for impact investors to have a spot in the Charter School space.
As Investors Try To Be More Ethical, Some Find No Escape From Businesses They Detest:
An article about how investors are both looking and agreeing on the measuring stick for what is a truly sustainable impact investment.
Welcome, welcome. You’re listening to The Science of Social Impact, a podcast from Crate of Good. We are on a mission to educate and inspire you to make social impact part of your daily life. Thanks for joining. Let’s make an impact right now.
Welcome to your Social Impact Roundup for the week. We’ve got six awesome headlines to bring to you today and we will dive right in. The first headline is from the Detroit Free Press titled, “Social Impact Bonds Help Nonprofits Help Others”. And here’s how. So Sean Welsh and his team at PNC bank are always looking for opportunities to strengthen the community, which is why they are teaming up with Strong BeginningsA grand Grand Rapids based federal healthy start program dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of African American and Latino women, men and their babies from pregnancy through early childhood. Welsh, the regional president for Western Michigan at PNC bank said the bank is investing $1.5 Million in the effort working with Strong Beginnings and other partners, including Spectrum Health, the Kellogg Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment fund, and the State of Michigan through the “pay for success” investment program. We talked about social impact bonds on a podcast a couple of weeks ago. So it was great to see one in action in the great state of Michigan, which if you didn’t note, that’s where we are from at Crate of Good.
Moving into our second headline, “New Law Brings Overdue Changes to Nonprofit Tax Filings.” So in a show of unity rarely seen in the nation’s capital, President Trump recently signed into law the Taxpayer First Act, a comprehensive IRS reform bill enacted by law makers who normally don’t see eye to eye. In the words of Rep. John Lewis, “We pushed aside politics and we put the taxpayers first.” So most nonprofits will have to file electronically by 2021. But basically the breakdown of this law is that it was a critical provision long promoted by the Aspen Institute: mandating the electronic filing of nonprofit tax returns, (which is IRS Form 990) and the release of this information by the IRS for free, in an open, machine-readable fashion. For years, those who wished to understand the details of America’s nonprofit sector were stymied by a costly, head-scratching process. Static images of nonprofit tax forms – which contain a trove of information and unlike individual tax forms must be made available to the public by law – were actually sold by the IRS for the hefty sum of over $2,000 for a year’s worth of tax returns. Once purchased, it took millions of dollars to convert the images into searchable, computable data- even for forms that were electronically filed. So this inefficient “system” has left the nonprofit sector and with this bill, the mandatory Form 990 e-filing provision will go into effect beginning the tax year after its enactment, meaning most nonprofits will have to file electronically in 2021. As this revolution in nonprofit data unfolds, we’re going to continue to monitor the many ways in which open data empowers nonprofits and philanthropy.
Moving into our third headline for the Roundup today, this is from an article from the certified B corporation “Meet the top performing B Corps creating impact through their business.” It is time to celebrate the 2019 Best For the World honorees as listed by the certified B corporations. There’s a couple categories here on this list. The first one is Best for the World. The full B Impact Assessment evaluates best for the world on a company’s environmental performance, employee relationships, diversity involvement in the local community and the impact a company’s product or service has on those it serves. Second round of awards honorees for the Best for the World Community. The community section of this evaluates a company’s supplier relations, diversity, and involvement in the local community. The third section on the list, the honorees for the Best for the World Customers list. This section measures the impact the company has on its customers by focusing on whether a company sells products or services that promote public benefit and if those products or services are targeted toward serving underserved populations. Next up on the list, the honorees for the Best for the World Environment. This evaluates a company’s environmental performance through its facilities, materials, emissions and resource and energy use. Awesome. Very interesting. And it looks like the next one, honorees Best for the World Workers list measures how the company treats its workers through compensation, benefits, training and ownership opportunities provided to those workers. We’ve got the Best for the World Governance list, so this one evaluates a company’s overall mission, ethics, accountability and transparency and the last one honorees Best for the World Changemakers list. Ooh, I like that title. The honorees on this list are calculated based on verified positive change across impact areas over time. The algorithm used to calculate the Changemakers list assesses positive change made on individual questions. Efforts are made to exclude what is termed “standards-based change,” such as changes in score resulting from a company moving to a different track or a version of the assessment. This leaves behind only genuine improvements a company has made. You can see the full list of the top performing B Corps on that article.
Next up we’ve got a “New website that brings easy to use impact measurement to small and medium charities.” Love this. The inspiring impact program launches a new website thanks to national lottery funding. It will offer a suite of free how-to guides and self-assessment tools for small and medium charities to help them understand and increase their impact. Really cool tool, can’t wait to check that out: inspiringimpact.org
Our fifth headline today is from the Wall Street Journal, “Charter Schools Are an Opportunity for Impact Investors.” High interest rates are a barrier to buying new facilities, even though such loans have proved a safe bet for the more than 3 million students in charter schools nationwide and an estimated 5 million families who would send their child to a charter, if a spot were available, why aren’t many more of them opening? Well, one reason is the higher cost of capital they bear compared with traditional public schools. You can read more on how impact investors have a spot in that space from that wall street journal article.
We’re going to round out your Roundup today with an article from NPR. “As Investors Try To Be More Ethical, Some Find No Escape From Businesses They Detest.” Investors are spending billions of dollars to align their portfolios with their personal values. But there’s little agreement on what exactly qualifies – or doesn’t qualify – an investment option from being marketed as quotes “sustainable”. So if you’re an investor with ardent social beliefs – and you aspire to put your money where your mouth is – you’re in luck. There are socially responsible investment options out there and investors are really trying to both look for and agree on the measuring stick for what is a truly sustainable investment and what makes it an impact investment. This year, 85% of individual investors surveyed indicated interest in ensuring that their money backs companies with sustainable practices. And this is up 10 percentage points from just two years ago driving this uptick has been interest among millennials. 95% of millennials signaled an interest in sustainable investment, according to the poll with many citing their belief that their dollars have the power to alleviate poverty and slow climate change. Could not agree more, powerful dollars that we’re out there working hard to earn, and we can actually use it to make change in the world. Awesome articles and headlines. All of those links will be in our show notes. This has been your social impact Roundup for the week. Thank you so much and let’s be great out there. I will see ya when I’m looking at ya.
Thanks so much for being with us on this episode of the Science of Social Impact, a podcast from Crate of good. Let’s go out there and make the world a better and brighter place. I’ll see ya when I’m looking at ya.