Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday shopping? Skip long lines and stress, and purchase a Gift of Compassion instead!

With the holiday season upon us, the search for the perfect gift is on. If you haven’t found it yet, do not panic! ABC Home & Planet Foundation offers a unique holiday gift that provides the opportunity to share joy and gratitude with your loved ones.

ABC Home & Planet Foundation offers “Gifts of Compassion,” which allows you to make a fully tax deductible gift in honor of your loved one. Each Gift of Compassion is a donation to a visionary non-profit organization providing critical services to underserved communities. Each organization has been carefully chosen and screened for its transformative impact by the ABC Home & Planet Foundation. Calvert Foundation is one of those organizations, and is again participating in the Gift of Compassion Program this year.

Gift recipients receive a printed 100% post consumer recycled paper card about the gift in a one-of-a-kind silk sari pouch made in India, which can double as a lovely tree ornament or sachet for jewelry.

What greater gift can be given to a loved one than offering a safe haven for an orphaned child? A birth kit for a rural mother in Nepal? Malaria nets for pregnant women in Africa? New sheets for the formerly homeless in New York? Literacy lessons for an Afghan girl? Make this holiday season memorable by inspiring meaningful change in the world. Gifts of Compassion are available for purchase at

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sister Corinne Florek - a True Leader of the Impact Investment Industry

Carrie Hutchison McGarry manages marketing and communications for Calvert Foundation.

Earlier this month, I had the luck and privilege to meet Sister Corinne Florek at Opportunity Finance Network’s annual conference, where she was honored as the recipient of the 2010 Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award. Sister Corinne is whip smart and lots of fun, though her gentle brown eyes, calm demeanor, and hint of a soft Midwestern accent from her days in Michigan will initially fool you.

In the world of investing, Sister Corinne is a maverick.

In the 1960s, a time when women – both in their faith and in their day-to-day lives – were exploring new roles and seeking new freedoms and opportunities, Sister Corinne and her fellow sisters were facing a dilemma. They saw a real need to put money toward the care of their elder sisters, who were retired and in need of support. Yet, as nuns, many of them felt that their vow to poverty required them to give their money away to those in their community who were suffering. Sister Corinne saw a third option, which is how her journey began, a journey – as she said at the conference – that will continue on long after she does. 

Sister Corinne at the OFN conference

Sister Corinne saw that she and her fellow sisters could pool their money and use it to invest – but not in companies. Instead, they invested their money in community organizations and other non-profits that were helping low-income families and fighting poverty every day, but that could also pay back inexpensive loans with interest. Sometimes there was no interest payment. And sometimes the principal didn’t come back. But on average, this experiment paid off, leaving money to care for the retired nuns in need of assistance, and – while invested – providing much-needed support for people living in underserved communities.

Sister Corinne went on to bring in other groups and other investors, in order to create a network that had a more powerful voice as an investor. She involved the Women Religious, which is comprised of Catholic women from congregations around the United States, as well as many other partners along the way.

Since the conference was hosted this year in lovely (I did leave my heart there) San Francisco, Sister Corinne was able to reach out to the many women in that area that had been part of the investment work she does. Many came, and during her acceptance speech, she called them up on the stage so that they might look out into the audience and see the people who did the work they supported through their investments. She asked organizations who received investment from organizations she works with – or any faith-based investor – to stand up. I was very proud to do so on behalf of Calvert Foundation, which has worked with faith-based investors of multiple denominations for many years.

Many, even in our small (yet growing) impact investment industry, know little of this story. And many more – even those at the organizations receiving investment dollars from groups run and advised by Sister Corinne – fail to understand that these investments are funded solely by the nuns (not the church), and come out of their modest pay, as well as bake sales and other fundraisers.

At Calvert Foundation, we often talk about how innovative we were by starting the work that we do – bringing the opportunity for everyday investors to help low-income communities through investment – over 15 years ago now. But it became clear to me in meeting Sister Corinne and hearing her story that there were inklings of this idea long before Calvert Foundation was even on the radar.

I was truly touched by Corinne’s work, but even more so by her energy and her spirit. Having been raised in the Christian church, I have always found great comfort in the quiet strength that emanates from the women of a congregation. Sister Corinne is someone guided by faith, but driven by her own amazing gifts – which, as evidenced by her success, she so freely shares with those around her. OFN honored her at the conference, but I hope to share her story here so that others know about her work.

Congratulations – and thank you – Sister Corinne!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A View of Post-quake Haiti

A few months ago, Calvert Foundation Sr. Associate Patrick Davis took a trip to Haiti to volunteer for a friend's nonprofit, United Schools of Haiti. Aside from visiting Calvert Foundation borrower Fonkoze in Port-au-Prince, Patrick spent most of his time in Haiti helping to build a school in the countryside town of Fond des Blancs. Take a view into a post-quake Haiti through his eyes in his post on our blog. Patrick also made a video slideshow of the photos he took on his trip that we've posted to our YouTube site.
Last year – before the massive earthquake in Port-au-Prince put Haiti in the forefront of everyone’s minds – I began doing some volunteer work with a friend’s nonprofit organization, United Schools of Haiti. His group was planning a trip to Haiti in the summer of 2010 to do some construction work on a school and to network with local officials to explore new opportunities. When he asked me if I’d like to join them on the trip, I was thrilled. I truly enjoy the opportunity to have an impact in the work that I do at Calvert Foundation, but as an intermediary, it’s rare that I get the chance to see the fruits of my labor in a very direct way. As a result, this trip to Haiti was very appealing to me. Service has always been an important component in my life, and this would be an ideal way to get my hands dirty and experience a new culture.

Patrick Davis (pictured upper right) in Haiti.
Then came January 12th, 2010. The earthquake. This erased any uncertainty about my decision to go to Haiti. I had to go. After seeing the news reports and reading the stories, I felt compelled to see firsthand the state of things in a country that had dealt with a chronic history of suffering – be it a result of natural or political disaster. I hoped to accomplish a few things on my trip. First, I hoped to be a passionate and energetic representative of my country. Many times in my travels in the developing world, I’ve noticed that being from the United States isn’t exactly an asset. This has always been a chip on my shoulder in a way, and compelled me to work harder, be more compassionate, and dig deeper when I’ve been witness to the need in the developing world. Second, I hoped to be able to get some work done. Through United Schools of Haiti, we were supporting the construction of an elementary school in Fond des Blancs, and I wanted to develop some connections more broadly that could benefit the Haitian school community. Third, I hoped to reinvigorate my own sense of commitment to serving humanity. Though I’ve listed it last, this was probably the most important reason for my trip. I believe it’s important for all of us who live a life of relative privilege to seize opportunities that force us to confront that state of privilege. It’s not always easy to remember that the majority of the world lives without clean water, electricity, and food security. I hoped to be able to come home from my journey and share meaningful stories, pictures, and experiences with friends and family. Reflecting on these experiences would undoubtedly lead to discussions about what we can do. And there is so much we can do.

In August, I went to Haiti. During my time there, I found myself constantly vacillating between poignant moments of hope and despair. Arriving in Port-au-Prince, I was struck by the lack of progress with the cleanup. Entire city blocks were still nothing more than rubble. I saw countless families living in tents on top of – or outside of – what was left of their homes. The majority of the population that had not left Port-au-Prince was crammed into tiny shacks with blue USAID tarps to keep the rain out. We visited our guide’s house in the countryside just outside of Port-au-Prince, which was reduced to rubble as a result of the after shocks. He had lost his home and his sister in the quake. The lead architect for our school project lost his wife. Children in our school community lost their parents. Nearly every adult and child that I interviewed had lost a family member. Of the estimated three million people living in Port-au-Prince at the time of the quake, 300,000 died. This was made evident in the storefronts of funeral homes – sadly some of the only thriving businesses in the capital city. The scale of the disaster was almost incomprehensible, but at the same time, completely visible. During my entire stay in Port-au-Prince, I saw just one government bulldozer removing rubble. In contrast, I saw many people with sticks and shovels, digging through the rubble to find anything of value that they might be able to sell for a little income. It’s still unclear to me how the population that remains in Port-au-Prince is able to survive, but this speaks to the incredible resilience of the people and the human spirit.

During my stay I began to understand a little bit more about how necessity breeds innovation and entrepreneurism. Everyone, everywhere seemed to be selling something. When our group badly blew out a tire in the Champs-de-Mars district, we were greeted at the side of the road by a few men who repaired the tire in a matter of minutes. They used a simple heating mechanism that I hadn’t seen before to rework the rubber in the tire. I laughed to myself thinking about a recent experience back home when I had a miniscule gash in a tire, and of course, it was “too large to repair” so I was forced to buy a completely new one. No chance our friends in Haiti would have discarded my tire. At the same tire fix-it stand, I noticed a few men getting haircuts. In the time it took for a tire repair the men at the stand realized they could offer haircuts as well – truly an entrepreneurial vibe.

In the countryside near our school project, I noticed the same resourcefulness and creative thinking. Of course there was no public water system, and for that matter, no infrastructure whatsoever – only dirt roads and houses built by hand-mixed concrete. Nearly all of the houses I visited in the community had their own rainwater harvesting systems. Gutter systems led from the roof to a large, dug out cistern, which collected water each time it rained. This water was used for cooking, drinking, and washing, among other things. Due to the absence of industry and the pollution that comes with it, the pure rainwater was a valuable asset that the community had learned to harness over time. Many households had saved up to buy one solar panel, which they used to light their houses at night. In fact, besides the few motorbikes and the intermittent production of charcoal, I would guess that the countryside community was almost completely carbon neutral.

Whereas the chaos and enormity of Port-au-Prince made thinking about opportunities for development quite overwhelming, it was easy to see how some simple training and technical assistance could go a long way in the countryside. I hope that Haiti continues to deurbanize as a result of the earthquake. I believe there is a great possibility for strong, sustainable, self-reliant communities to emerge and prosper outside of the over-burdened capital. This phenomenon is happening as we speak – and it may very well be the most direct path to better outcomes in the future for Haiti’s people.

Since I’ve returned home from my trip, I’m wrestling with ideas about how I can be of service to Fond des Blancs and the countryside community that welcomed me with such open arms. In the short term, I’m helping to sponsor a scholarship for a student who will be attending school in the fall. I’m also continuing to work with a talented Haitian entrepreneur who has dreams of creating a public health radio station for the community, opening up an English-training center, and organizing classes to teach Haitians about rainwater drip irrigation and micro-farming.

If you’re interested in hearing more about my experience in Haiti, please check back on our blog in the coming weeks, where I’ll share more stories and anecdotes about the challenges and opportunities I observed on my trip.

Calvert Foundation Receives Top Honor for “Innovative Social Impact Investing"

While impact investing may often be looked at as direct means to an end, the Calvert Foundation has re-routed the investment approach by effectively promoting innovative social impact investing tools to disadvantaged communities.

On Tuesday, October 26th, Calvert Foundation received Top Honor for “Innovative Social Impact Investing." This award was an amazing accomplishment for us, as our fantastic microfinance borrowers have provided hand ups, not hand outs, and our investors have received a return upon doing so. This award was part of the Investment & Innovation in Microfinance conference, which continued through Wednesday, October 27th.
Art Stevens, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, accepted the award on behalf of Calvert Foundation with an acknowledgement of the growth of retail investors in this sector and a nod to the wonderful microfinance institutions we work with, some of which were in the room when we accepted the award.

Interim President and CEO, Lisa Hall was pleased to receive this award: "We are thrilled to be recognized our work in this area. Fifteen years ago, we became pioneers in bringing everyday people the opportunity to invest in microfinance. Now we see many others adopting this model, and more and more investors coming into the space. However, we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without the fantastic microfinance borrowers in our portfolio doing meaningful, impactful work."

The panel of judges was composed of experienced microfinance experts, including, Monica Brand, Principal Director, Frontier Investments, ACCION International; Daniel Dax, General Manager, LuxFlag; George Conard, Executive Director, Technology for Microfinance Grameen Foundation; Marten Leijon, Executive Director, The MIX; David Satterthwaite, Senior Global MicroInsurance Officer, Oxfam America; and Joan Trant, Executive Director, IAMFI.

With such an esteemed set of industry leaders and microfinance experts choosing us for this award, it was a true honor to be the recognized for our innovative social impact investing efforts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mile High Actualizes Goals at Great Lengths

Sales Manager, Justin Conway, just recently visited Calvert Foundation borrower Mile High Community Loan Fund. What Justin saw in the communities of Colorado was an illustration of Calvert Foundation borrowers putting investors' capital to work to achieve their mission. Mile High’s current efforts have alleviated the many obstacles that low income communities often face by providing affordable housing and facilities.

Credit: Justin Conway
 I was in Colorado last week for some meetings and stopped in to see how Calvert Foundation borrower Mile High Community Loan Fund is putting our investors' capital to work. Mile High focuses on providing affordable housing and facilities for low-income communities in Colorado, and is headed by community development expert (and excellent tour guide) Jeff Seifried.

We recently highlighted Mile High's work with Church in the City in our Annual Report, and I have seen the renovation of the Church's historic building over the past year, as the good friends I stay with when I'm in Denver live right across the street. It was great to now meet the folks behind the doors of this economically and ethnically diverse congregation, and to see firsthand all of the critical services they provide to homeless and youth populations.

In addition to visiting some of their affordable housing projects, other highlights of my visit included CHARG Resource Center and Sisters of Color United for Education. CHARG Resource Center is a mental health clinic with a unique model for empowering adults with mental disabilities. Sisters of Color United for Education is a nonprofit facility providing community health services to Colorado's Latino population.

Calvert Foundation is proud to support Mile High's work in Colorado.


Justin Conway
This is just one example of the many successes that occur daily all due to the unwavering dedication and hard work of Calvert Foundation's borrowers.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Support for the Flood Victims of Pakistan

This year will be remembered for two of the greatest natural disasters in decades.  In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, we are now in the midst of a flood that has resulted in over 1,600 deaths, the displacement of millions of people, and the dissolution of infrastructure making the delivery of essentials nearly impossible.  Whereas the Haitian disaster was met with an overwhelming positive international response, the Pakistani flood has been slow to attract aid dollars.  Advocates like UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, have been leading a call to action.  Problems are shifting quickly from the immediate danger of flood waters, to the prolonged threat of disease and lack of access to water.  The region requires immediate action, and of course, more long term action as well. 

Credit: UN Development Program

Calvert Foundation is eager explore its role in providing support to the aid community.  Through our Calvert Giving Fund we are mobilizing donor dollars to organizations that are directly contributing to the relief effort.  We invite you to take a look at some of the organizations who are doing relief work in the area.  They all have some great information on their websites relating to specific relief efforts. 
In addition, we are continually brainstorming new ways to involve our organization in disaster relief.  Though we are not a grant making institution, we do see a role for affordable, patient capital in the long term redevelopment of post disaster societies.  We hope to provide social investors with new tools to positively influence the rebuilding of these countries in the resilient nature of their citizens.  Please join us in thinking about what you can do to help the displaced and suffering in Pakistan.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Celebrating Change, Inspiring New Beginnings

450,000 jobs for low-income individuals, 17,000 affordable homes, and 27,000 non profit facilities and social enterprises. 

These are the real measures of success.

President and CEO Shari Berenbach has spent the last 13 years taking Calvert Foundation and its investors to this level of success. Now, with a stellar track record of growth, Shari has made the difficult decision to pass the torch, leaving her legacy as the basis for Calvert Foundation’s next stage of growth.

“When I joined Calvert Foundation in l997, I took on the improbable challenge of demonstrating that investment can be a tool to end poverty. With impact investing now on the minds of individuals and institutions alike, investing to achieve community impact is an idea whose time has come. In more than 13 years, I have grown Calvert Foundation from $5 million to $500 million in assets under management. This move will provide the opportunity for Calvert Foundation to move to its next level of maturity,” she said.

Shari’s next step will be to lead microenterprise development at USAID, where she will oversee hundreds of millions of dollars at work in over 60 countries around the globe. “I am eager to bring to the world stage our commitment to market-based solutions for the creation of sustainable and scalable strategies to end poverty,” she said.

bio_hallExecutive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Lisa Hall will be serving as the interim head of Calvert Foundation until the Board of Directors appoints a permanent CEO. “It’s been an honor to work with Shari and we will miss her tremendously. She will be leaving a legacy and imprint not just on Calvert Foundation but also on the entire impact investing sector,” Lisa said.

Calvert Foundation is committed to carrying on its mission of fighting poverty through investment, and is working from a strong base moving forward. In fact, Calvert Foundation has celebrated many great successes as of late, including a partnership with Citi to invest $200 million in U.S. communities to finance small businesses and spur job growth. Calvert Foundation is an award-winning organization that has grown an average of 20% year over year since 1997, even flourishing during the recent economic downturn.

“I am so grateful to our investors and supporters for believing in the power of investment to help underserved communities,” Shari said. “I am excited for the future of Calvert Foundation, and pleased to keep a part of this important experience with me – in my investment portfolio! I am, of course, a proud investor in the Community Investment Note.”

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Supporting Local Agriculture and Farm Jobs in Africa

We are excited to announce that we are expanding our investment portfolio to include local agriculture in Africa through a $400,000 investment in Tanzania's Mtanga Farms Limited (MFL) as part of our Mission Plus portfolio, which allows us to take on investments that may fall outside of our usual portfolio guidelines but that we feel are worth it due to maximum social impact.

Located in the Iringa Region of Tanzania, MFL is a for-profit agricultural business that strives to increase crop production through improved farming methods and technology, share cropping, and farm contracting. Bolstered by investment dollars, MFL plans to start a seed potato business in which they will produce genetically stronger potato seeds to sell to farmers. Furthermore, MFL is starting an Outgrower Program that builds connections with local farmers by contracting parts of its 1,600 hectares of land for local farming. This program also provides advanced farming techniques, technology, and items such as fertilizer that are necessary for local farmers to thrive.

MFL can make a real difference for Tanzania, where agriculture accounts for more than 40 percent of the country’s GDP and employs 80 percent of the work force (according to the CIA World Factbook). MFL’s seed potato business has the potential to employ between 12,000 and 18,000 subsistence potato farmers in Tanzania. With stronger and more disease-resistant seeds, farmers can produce much more, thus increasing their income. Also, the introduction of the Outgrower Program will engage more people and increase employment in local villages. Investment from Calvert Foundation will help MFL grow to be a significant improvement for Tanzanian farmers.

Staff Spotlight: Harvard Business School Leadership Fellow Alla Jezmir

This week, we say goodbye to Alla Jezmir, a valued colleague who has made tremendous strides in her year-long fellowship with Calvert Foundation.

 Alla joined Calvert Foundation last summer as part of a Harvard Business School Fellowship called "Leadership Fellows," which matches non-profits with recent MBA graduates to bring the graduates’ strengths and skills to growing organizations.

While at Calvert Foundation, Alla was instrumental in developing Green Strategies to Fight Poverty™, which allows investors to finance organizations in our portfolio that address both poverty and environmental issues, including climate change and environmental degradation. Alla used her knowledge and experience in consulting, international development, and alternative energy to bring this program to fruition. “Both domestically and internationally, the need for this type of financing is profound,” she said. “I leave knowing there’s a lot of energy and interest in supporting work at the intersection of poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability.” Calvert Foundation expects to have $10 million in our portfolio as part of Green Strategies to Fight Poverty™ by year end.

After wrapping up here, Alla will travel to Tanzania for two months to work with EGG-energy, which she helped found in 2009. She oversees EGG-energy’s capital raising and partnership development and serves as board director. EGG-energy offers a battery subscription service to low-income African households and small businesses that lack access to the power grid, helping to reduce the use of expensive energy sources like kerosene. She will spend her time in Tanzania supporting ground operations, preparing the organization for expansion, and actively continuing her work on the board.

Upon her return to the U.S. in October, Alla will join the business development group of AES, one of the world’s largest power companies, where she will work on the development of new power plants.

“It’s been a privilege to work here and I think the potential for the impact we can have is tremendous. Great work is being done here,” she said.

Many thanks to Alla for all of the great work she has done here! We wish you all the best in Tanzania and at AES!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

FDIC Holds Hearings on CRA Reform

Yesterday, the FDIC held hearings in Arlington, VA as part of a four-day event to discuss reforming the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).  The CRA was created in 1977 to address discriminatory lending practices and redlining and to encourage commercial banks to meet the needs of all borrowers in their communities.  Lisa Hall, our Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer, participated in the hearings that focused on the CRA and Community Development.  Click on the links below to read the testimonies from Lisa and other industry leaders in Community Development.

  • Lisa Hall, Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer, Calvert Foundation
  • Michael Rubinger, President and CEO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Terri Ludwig, Executive Vice President and COO, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Dorothy Broadman, Board Member, National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders and Senior Vice President, Capital One
  • Julie Gould, Senior Vice President, Community Investment and Impact, Mercy Housing
  • Sarah Gerecke, Executive Director, New York University, Furman Center

To watch the webcast of the event, click here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

All You Need is Love!

Millions of people around the world have looked to billionaire businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffet for advice.  But what would he consider the best advice he's ever received?  According to Buffet in an exclusive interview Yahoo! News and the Huffington Post, it is the power of unconditional love from a parent and how it can put a child on the right path in life.  To him, the ability to experience that type of love can greatly impact a child's upbringing, turning them into better people.  Sage advice from a man known to rarely be wrong...

Read the full interview here .

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sam's Club reaching out to small businesses

Sam's Club announced today that it will begin to offer loans ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to some of its small business club members. This program is designed to help address the problem of decreased access to capital that many of Sam's Club's members have faced in this tough economic period and will mainly focus on lending to businesses owned by minorities, women, or veterans. In light of the continuance of credit restrictions and difficulty in obtaining loans, Sam's Club is joining other companies in creative solutions to allow their customers to bypass banks and traditional lenders.

Read more about this program here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Investing in microfinance to support Haiti's recovery

Calvert Foundation has made an initial $300,000 investment to support recovery efforts in Haiti. Partnering with other organizations, including the the Clinton/Bush Foundation, Calvert Foundation is making this investment through a newly created fund called HELP Haiti.
HELP Haiti will breathe new life into the microfinance system in Haiti, providing fresh capital and some flexibility to three microfinance organizations whose pre-earthquake peformances were solid and effective in helping Haitian microentrepreneurs succeed: ACME, MCN, and FINCA Haiti. The new fund will allow these organizations to bolster their capabilities to serve current customers and take on new ones. The fund will also provide technical assistance and training for microfinance organizations and their borrowers. Most importantly, HELP Haiti will help avert a significant reduction in microfinance operations, which will help Haiti's working poor and contribute to recovery and reconstruction efforts.

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And yobo was born! 

Thank you to APCO Worldwide!

Special thanks to APCO Worldwide for their recent work with Calvert Foundation!
APCO selected Calvert Foundation to receive a grant for public relations and communications consulting. APCO Worldwide is one of the largest independently-owned communication consultancies with offices in major business and media capitals throughout the world. The firm serves clients in the energy, financial, consumer goods, government, healthcare, nonprofit, and technology sectors. More than 56 percent of APCO is owned by women.

Slow down! How we can better assess financial decisions and consequences

A troubled economy has spurred a new financial movement; money is now going local. This “slow money” movement is taking the focus off international investments and bringing it back to our own communities, where we can better understand and realize the impact our dollars have on the economy. Featured in the article, Calvert Foundation’s Community Investment Note is one way to “slow” your money down and create not only financial returns, but clear, beneficial social returns as well.

The Fiscal Times recently published an article about different ways the slow money movement has manifested itself all around the country, including local currencies, local food businesses, and the Community Investment Note.
  • Click here to read the article in The Fiscal Times

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We're Hiring!

 Join an industry leader in Community Development and Microfinance!  If you would like to use your experience and education to make a difference, Calvert Foundation is hiring for several positions.  Be part of a growing organization that is changing the world through investment. 

Open spots include:
  • Investment Officer, Lending and Advisory Services
  • Risk Officer, Risk Management
  • Systems/Business Analyst, Finance and Operations
  • Fund Manager, Community Investment Partners
  • Associate, Lending and Advisory Services

Go to for more information and application instructions. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shari Berenbach featured in the Huffington Post

A recent article on the Huffington Post highlights the important achievements that Calvert Foundation CEO Shari Berenbach has helped create during her 13-year tenure here. Jonathan Lewis, Founder/CEO of Opportunity Collaboration and author of the piece, describes Shari as “a connect-the-dots, collaborative, tough-minded, kind-hearted anti-poverty leader.”

Read more to get a glimpse of Shari’s hard work and contagious spirit that makes her such an effective, inspiring leader for the community investment industry.

Investing in the Southern U.S.

Calvert Foundation is committed to investing in a diverse range of organizations. This means we vet opportunities not only around the world, but also across the country. In the first quarter of 2010, we dispersed over $8 million in new loans, including new investments in southern states like Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida – places where we had not been as active before. New groups in our portfolio include:

  • Virginia Community Capital (VCC) – VCC works in affordable housing and economic development sectors, providing loans and financial products all around the Commonwealth. Since 1995, VCC has created/rehabilitated more than 2,000 affordable housing units and created/revitalized over 500,000 square feet of commercial projects.

  • Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) – FLCF finances non-profit organizations offering affordable housing and economic development. Raising money through a variety of investments, including equity and debt capital investments, FLCF has loaned more than $12 million to help create over 2,000 affordable housing units, 20 community facilities, and create more than 350 jobs. 

  • Charleston CDC (CACDC) – CACDC works within three counties surrounding Charleston, SC to improve the lives of people who are below the area’s median income. They do this through services such as affordable housing, debt management, financial literacy education, and neighborhood stabilization programs.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Calvert Foundation honored by the Financial Times

Last week, Calvert Foundation was honored by The Financial Times at the Sustainable Banking Conference in London on June 3rd. Calvert Foundation was recognized as the runner-up in the "Sustainable Investor of the Year" category. The awards recognize banks and other financial institutions that have shown leadership and innovation in integrating social, environmental, and corporate governance considerations into their operations. It is an honor!

  • For a list of winners and runners-up, click here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Calvert Foundation and Borrower Manna featured in Ode Magazine Article

Calvert Foundation and our DC-Based borrower Manna have been featured in an article in Ode Magazine. The article, "Profit with a Purpose," discusses the growing importance of "impact investing," or investments that combine social and/or environmental goals with monetary gains. Calvert Foundation has been an industry leader in impact investing and continues its goal of providing monetary returns while also financing hundreds of community development organizations. These type of investments may reach $500 million within the next decade, helping investors increase the impact their money creates. Impact investments "blend good sense, good causes and good financial returns."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Opportunity Collaboration selects Calvert Foundation CEO for award.

The Opportunity Collaboration has selected Shari Berenbach as the recipient of the Opportunity Collaboration's 2010 Economic Achievement Award

Presented by the Opportunity Collaboration, the award recognizes an exceptional leader with a passionate commitment to combating poverty through methods that are creative, collaborative and efficient. 
"Shari Berenbach is a force of nature," says Opportunity Collaboration CEO Jonathan C. Lewis.  "She has been a consistent and unwavering voice for social and economic justice.  Via innovative thinking, collaborative action, and an open heart, Shari has increased the economic opportunities for thousands upon thousands.  We are proud to honor a leader who so clearly displays the social investment ideal."

As winner of the 2010 Economic Opportunity Award, Shari will join 300 delegates later this year at the Opportunity Collaboration, a four-day strategic and problem solving business retreat for nonprofit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, funders and social investors working to combat poverty. 

Portfolio manager contributes to new book on social enterprise.

Jennifer Pryce, Calvert Foundation's domestic portfolio manager, has been published in a new book on social enterprise, "Succeeding at Social Enterprise" (2010, Jossey-Bass, An Imprint of Wiley Press).  The book made its debut at the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit, which was held on April 28-30 in San Fransisco, CA.  Jennifer Pryce and Calvert Foundation President & CEO Shari Berenbach represented Calvert Foundation at this conference. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Calvert Foundation partners with Citi and OFN for new $200 million fund.

Calvert Foundation recently partnered with Citi and Opportunity Finance Network to launch a new $200 million Communities at Work Fund™. This Fund was established separately from Calvert Foundation's Community Investment Note portfolio, and aims to create jobs, drive economic recovery, and provide hope and opportunity to thousands of Americans living in disadvantaged communities. Citi provided the investment capital for the Fund. “Small businesses are the engines of local economies, but the entrepreneurs behind these businesses often have the most trouble getting financing,” said Calvert Foundation President and CEO Shari Berenbach (pictured with OFN CEO Mark Pinsky and Citi CEO Vikram Pandit). “This fund will drive real change for underserved communities while working to provide financial returns for investors.”

We're hiring! Grow with us.

Calvert Foundation, which created a whole new class of investing, has been named one of the top organizations changing the world by Fast Company. Join bright, energetic, and talented people who have a passion for making a difference in the world by helping undeserved communities. See our website for more about these openings:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ready to Make a Change? Win this book!

The most common recipe for failing to change lies in the tension between our rational side (which wants a beach body) and our emotional side (which wants a cookie…now!). In their new book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard,” authors – and brothers – Chip and Dan Heath address the challenges of change and provide strategies for tackling obstacles to making change successful.

Over the past few years, Calvert Foundation has enjoyed working with Dan Heath, who has advised us on branding and strategy. Dan is also a community investor! Dan, who has a Giving Fund account (our socially responsible donor advised fund) with Calvert Foundation, invests a large portion of his donated assets in our Community Investment Note. 

Win a copy of “SWITCH"! We will randomly select 10 winners from anyone who signs up by June 15 to:

Corner Office features Calvert CEO and Calvert Foundation Board Member Barbara Krumsiek.

Barbara Krumsiek, CEO of Calvert Investments and member of Calvert Foundation's Board of Directors, was featured in this week's New York Times Corner Office feature, which interviews top business executives.

When interviewing potential job candidates, Krumsiek says, they "need to show they care about something outside of themselves." She continues: "This quality must be evidenced in everyone who comes to Calvert: we need to find out whether they have some attachment in their community."

Please note: Calvert Foundation is a separate entity from Calvert Group Ltd.