California Initiative 2016 Report

Tom WoelfelImpact Investing, InSight, Publications

CalPERS California Initiative 2016

The twelfth annual report examining CalPERS’ California Initiative, a $1 billion private equity, economically targeted investment (ETI). The California Initiative seeks to invest in companies located in traditionally underserved markets, primarily, but not exclusively, located in California. The California Initiative’s primary objective is to generate attractive financial returns, meeting or exceeding private equity benchmarks. As an ancillary benefit, the California Initiative was designed to focus investment in California’s underserved markets and invest in portfolio companies that: Have historically had limited access to institutional equity capital Employ workers who reside in economically disadvantaged areas Provide employment opportunities to women and minority entrepreneurs and managers    

CalPERS For California 2016 Report

Tom WoelfelImpact Investing, InSight, Publications

CalPERS for California_2016

The seventh annual report documenting the California Public Employees Retirement System’s $27.3 billion of investments in California as of June 30, 2016. The report provides an examination of the broad ancillary benefits of all CalPERS investments in California across the asset classes of public equity, fixed income, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure. CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund, with assets totaling $300 billion as of June 30, 2016. They have a strong track record of long-term returns, and of mobilizing financial capital in new and innovative ways. Ancillary benefits of CalPERS investments described in this report include the creation and support of jobs, infrastructure for communities and commerce, and business expansion and related economic activity.    

Economically Targeted Investments by U.S. Pension Funds

Tom WoelfelImpact Investing, InSight, Publications

Pension Fund ETI Report

U.S.-based public and private pension funds have been making Economically Targeted Investments (ETIs)—investments that generate societal benefits in addition to the investment return—since the 1960s. Over this time, pension funds have sought risk-adjusted returns for their plan’s participants and beneficiaries through investments in worker-friendly affordable housing, in-state businesses, infrastructure, and other projects. The practice of pension funds making ETIs has continued amidst challenges, such as the politicization of some ETIs in the 1980s and 1990s and economic downturns that significantly impacted the U.S. economy. More recently, new types of investments such as those that incorporate environmental social governance (ESG) factors and impact investments have emerged for consideration by pension funds, and the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are being utilized by some as a guide to investment.  To be sure, amidst these developments pension funds must continue to invest prudently and carry out their fundamental obligation of paying their … Read More

Our 2016 Social Impact

Patrick DugganPublications

PCV 2016 social impact report

Pacific Community Ventures is strengthening communities by empowering American small business, by championing higher-quality jobs, by fueling equity and opportunity, and by helping impact investors deploy more capital – more effectively – to economically underserved communities from coast to coast. In 2016, we made progress in all three areas. So how did we do? 2016 was another record-breaking year for our Small Business Advising program. We supported more small businesses than ever before (a 66% jump) and we’re now in all 50 states! PCV business advisors volunteered 2600 hours – that’s $520,000 worth of free advice and coaching! We expanded our small business “loan + advice” program to include microloans ($10,000–$50,000) and lent $2,000,000 to California small businesses who were turned down by the traditional financial system Our InSight team evaluated $30 billion in social impact investments across areas like climate solutions, affordable housing, gender equality, sustainable supply chains and … Read More

Public Policy and Investments in Good Quality Jobs

Daniel BrettInSight, Publications, Quality Jobs

Quality Jobs Pacific Community Ventures

Despite years of economic growth and a declining unemployment rate, the economy – from the perspective of many Americans – is far from healthy. For decades, wages for everyone but the top quintile of earners have remained stagnant or declined, while Americans’ participation in the workforce is at its lowest level in nearly forty years. At Pacific Community Ventures, we believe that community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and the broader impact investing industry are ideally positioned to tackle this issue by supporting businesses that create high-quality jobs offering decent wages, benefits, career and wealth-building opportunities, and fair and engaging workplaces. Yet America’s jobs problem is too large and complex for individual businesses and investors to confront on their own. Without a concerted effort by government to improve job quality in partnership with businesses, investors, and the social sector, we cannot credibly expect to see changes in the economic trends that … Read More

Invest Northwest Ten Year Performance Review

Tom WoelfelImpact Investing, InSight, Publications

Invest Northwest Ten Year Performance Review

We are pleased to share our latest report: Invest Northwest: Ten-Year Final Performance Review. For ten years Pacific Community Ventures has worked with the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF) and the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) to annually evaluate the social performance of Invest Northwest, a place-based mission-related private equity fund. Invest Northwest was created in 2004 with the twin objectives of generating market-rate financial returns and social returns aligned with NWAF’s mission — to support efforts by people, organizations and communities to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity in the northwestern states of the U.S. As a place-based investment, Invest Northwest was established to support business growth and retention as well as the creation of good jobs for residents within NWAF’s eight-state service region that encompasses Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington.  Invest Northwest was developed at a time when mission investing was still an emerging … Read More

Catalog of Economically Targeted Investments by Pension Funds

Patrick DugganImpact Investing, InSight, Publications

catalog of economically trageted investments

In October of 2015, the Department of Labor released new guidance on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). This reaffirmed that pension funds — holders of $20+ trillion in capital — could pursue economically-targeted investments (ETIs). These kinds of investments let pension funds put their capital to work in ways that not only generate financial returns but also create jobs and support local economies and the environment — furthering the long-term interests of their plan participants and beneficiaries. Following the one-year anniversary of the ERISA ETI guidance, the Accelerating Impact Investing Initiative (AI3) is pleased to share a first-of-its kind online catalog of 118 pension fund ETIs and an accompanying research brief that extensively documents ETIs and offers insight into trends, analysis, and reflections. The majority of ETIs (70%) were made by public pension funds The average number of ETIs per year was highest between 1994 and 2008, with … Read More

California Organized Investment Network Report

Patrick DugganImpact Investing, InSight, Publications


Despite the increasing size and sophistication of community financial development institutions (CDFIs) like PCV — as well as the broader impact investing industry — accessing capital from institutional investors like insurance companies remains exceptionally difficult for most CDFIs and other investors seeking financial returns in addition to positive social or environmental impact. Raising institutional capital can be challenging for several reasons, namely the institutional investors’ stringent investment policies, lack of familiarity with the impact investing industry, the misconception that investments in this arena are necessarily concessionary, and the mismatch between supply and demand for capital — the smallest investments that large institutional investors can make (e.g. $20 million) is often much larger what a CDFI or small fund manager wants or is able to raise. Yet with over a trillion dollars in annual revenues, the U.S. insurance industry represents a vast, largely untapped source of capital for impact investors. The California Organized Investment … Read More

Examining the Development and Implementation of California FreshWorks

PCV InSightImpact Investing, InSight, Publications

california freshworks

This case study examines the development and implementation of the California FreshWorks program, a $273 million healthy food financing initiative launched in July 2011 by a broad coalition of public and private partners led by the California Endowment. As part of an evaluation team commissioned by the California Endowment, PCV InSight and the Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research and Evaluation conducted interviews with FreshWorks investors, advisors, and other key stakeholders in order to document FreshWorks’ origins and implementation. In addition, the case study examines key challenges and lessons learned during the program’s first years of operation that can inform others in the healthy food financing and impact investing communities.  The case study also describes future directions for the FreshWorks program. This case study is one of three reports released as part of the evaluation of the California FreshWorks program. The other two reports, The Social and Economic Impacts … Read More

California FreshWorks Food Access Report

PCV InSightImpact Investing, InSight, Publications

california freshworks

This report evaluates the changes in community food access as a result of the California FreshWorks program, a $273 million healthy food financing initiative launched in July 2011 by a broad coalition of public and private partners led by the California Endowment. The report examines three FreshWorks-funded Northgate González grocery stores that received New Markets Tax Credit financing and seeks to answer two key research questions: Are the new retail food stores meeting unmet need for grocery services? How do community members perceive the benefits and/or negative consequences of the new stores? To answer these questions, the evaluation team, led by the Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research and Evaluation with research support from Dr. Allison Karpyn of the University of Delaware, and Dr. Karen Glanz of the University of Pennsylvania, used a mixed-method approach including key informant interviews with store managers, intercept surveys with store shoppers, grocery store … Read More