Impact Assets Stories: Janine Firpo

What impact do you want to make?
As I go further down the path as an impact investor, I’m becoming more focused and specific about the impact I’m interested in achieving. My priorities are supporting women, social equity and fixing the environment. In terms of the environment, it is not just about sustainability. It’s about undoing the mess that we’ve created. I am interested in innovation that provides a more thoughtful approach to what we’re making, how we’re using it, and how we’re disposing of it.

What has your impact investing journey included?
My journey has been about ensuring that all of my assets — cash, fixed income, stock, real estate and philanthropy — are aligned with my values. Depending on the asset class, there are different levels of thematic control I can have. In certain asset classes, the most I can hope for is an Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), climate change or gender-based fund. In others, like my private deal flow and philanthropic investing through my ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund account, I can have more direct control over the impact that I’m seeking.

Currently, my ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund account is split between traditional philanthropic grants and concessionary investing. Part of it will always be put in traditional philanthropic grants, because certain solutions will never have a business model that’s investable. The other portion is allocated to concessionary investing in companies that need catalytic capital to survive, are very high risk or have unproven financial models. I am also interested in helping companies that I like gain more exposure.

The donor advised fund (DAF) structure provides an incredibly flexible, creative way to support businesses or enterprises that are solving the world’s problems – through a blend of grants and other forms of financial capital.