We are very pleased to announce a feature story in the current issue of the University of Oregon’s Alumni Magazine on the unique collaboration occurring between Threshold Group, the University of Oregon’s Business Innovation Institute, the Oregon Business Consulting Group, and several key regional stakeholders who collectively seek to invest locally in the Pacific Northwest and strengthen the ecosystem of “place-based” impact investing. The story highlights Threshold Group’s commitment to capacity building, institutionally-rigorous impact investment research, and the value of cross-sector collaboration.
A central outcome of our collaboration is the 2016 Pacific Northwest Capital Scan. With support from Threshold Group, undergraduate and MBA students from the Cameron Center for Finance and Security Analysis and Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship produced the Pacific Northwest Capital Scan to highlight trends across the investment ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest. Broadly, the scan focuses on the emerging field of impact investing, or investing with the goal of generating positive community, social, or environmental outcomes alongside financial returns.
One student, Soukpafolo Soro ’16, revealed that working on the Pacific Northwest Capital Scan and impact investing case studies was challenging, but ultimately one of his greatest student experiences. Building on this initial engagement in the Pacific Northwest, Threshold Group is currently collaborating with other leading universities, including the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Social Impact Initiative, on similar place-based investment research.
“We felt we could both broaden to the entire Pacific Northwest and, at the same time, go a bit deeper than had been done previously. Although the scan is still relatively new, I can tell you that I have personally seen it spark a variety of either new or deeper conversations among the stakeholder landscape. Our hope is we can see significant, measurable progress in creating positive, lasting change in coming years,” said Ed Lazar, President, Threshold Group.
The 2016 Pacific Northwest Capital Scan influences and informs a new, innovative, regional investing strategy called Invest NW, which Threshold Group recently launched for our clients seeking investment opportunities spanning the themes of sustainable environments, equitable communities, and responsible economies. While not a fund offering, Threshold Group conducts institutional due-diligence on these solutions as a way for our investors—including foundations, endowments, and high net worth individuals—to repatriate capital towards local investments.
The Pacific Northwest Capital Scan, both broad and deep, tracks current capital flows by various investors and agencies into community-oriented investments (local crowd-funding and accelerators, regional private equity and venture capital, and so on). The University of Oregon researchers aggregated all available data – from a myriad of public and private databases – and summarized it in one report to help us better understand who is providing capital, where it’s going, and perhaps most importantly, where it’s not. Where are the gaps? Is it equitable? Could we, as regional investors, become more strategic, coordinated, and collaborative?
Going forward, we will share answers and insights from the field as we continue working to strengthen the impact investment ecosystem, locally, nationally, and globally. As we progress, we hope you will count on Threshold Group as a trusted partner who believes in highly rigorous, institutional quality due-diligence on emerging impact investments as the necessary elements to preserve and protect the integrity of this emerging field.
Please reach out with questions or comments on this research as well as suggestions for future engagements. And lastly, thank you to all of our partners – The Russell Family Foundation, The Seattle Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, all of the local entrepreneurs and investment fund managers, and especially the professors and students at the University of Oregon – who are collectively navigating a path forward for community-based investing.
View the story in the University of Oregon’s Alumni Magazine
View the Pacific Northwest Capital Scan
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