Can closing the inequality gap be monetized?

I know how that sounds: borderline-heretical, and yet I do believe it’s the whole point of social finance. We are seeking ways of monetizing the efficiencies of social and environmental interventions proven to be (cost) effective. And so, we have a whole range of emerging strategies targeting so-called impact investors with a goal of increasing the capital available to move the needle on a range of vexing social and environmental challenges. So what’s the hitch? Maybe we’re not focused on the right activities?

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Cartoon by Jim Hubbard January 2014

Friends at Community Food Centres Canada recently Read more

In case you’re having trouble sleeping — Social Impact Bonds.

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If you’re like me, you’ve sat through a number of presentations on social impact bonds (SIBs). And if you’re like me you’ve vacillated between paying close attention and head nodding. I mean no disrespect to my learned friends and colleagues who are deeply versed in the mechanics and excited by the potential of SIBs. For me — given all the attention they have received in recent years, SIBs remain mysterious, in part because most of the examples we hear about are from other places such as the US & UK. Read more

“The words “social finance” are everywhere and nowhere are they clearly defined.”

Social finance requires the patience and determination of a turtle

Social finance requires the patience and determination of a turtle.

Most people I speak to about social finance tend to agree — financial tools offer compelling new ways to think about funding social change. The biggest challenge we experience is in securing commitments from these same potential investors.

Part of the problem is a lack of Read more

Regent Park girls and trans workshop builds bikes, confidence

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Nathalie Pulla Abasto enjoys learning how brakes work and doing the wiring. (© Toronto Star)

On volunteering at Charlie’s…

Charlie’s Bike Joint is just East of Sherbourne on Queen Street in Toronto. My guess is that Queen and Sherbourne is one of the toughest corners in the city — lots of visible hard living. I started taking my sweet, sweet bike (circa ’86 Specialized Rockhopper) to Charlie’s for service about three years ago when I was commuting daily from the Beach to downtown. Read more