From November 2015 through 2016, I performed market research and marketing consultation for Benefit Chicago, a new impact investment program for the Chicago area. Created by The Chicago Community Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Calvert Foundation, Benefit Chicago aims to mobilize $100 million in impact investments for nonprofits and social enterprises working throughout the Chicago region.
My contributions as a consultant to the collaboration included:
• Primary market research interviews with 45 prominent impact investment influencers and Chicago philanthropists
• Development of communication strategies to reach prospective investors and their advisors
• Recommended messaging and marketing communications
• Impact interviews with individuals and organizations whose work represent the types of investments Benefit Chicago will make
• Ongoing research of advisor interest in local impact investing (direct consultation with Calvert Foundation)
Investors support high-performing nonprofits and social enterprises in the six-county Chicago region while earning returns. These organizations help meet critical community needs in education, healthy food access, quality affordable housing, energy conservation, job training and more.
Investments are made through Chicago-targeted Community Investment Notes issued by Calvert Foundation — fixed income securities paying up to 4%, with maturities ranging from one to 15 years and annual interest payments. In portfolio asset allocations, the Notes are usually classified as a fixed-income investment. Chicago-targeted Notes can be purchased within both donor advised funds and traditional investment accounts. Since the inception of the Community Investment Note in 1995, Calvert Foundation has maintained a 100% repayment rate of all principal and interest to more than 15,000 investors.
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