With a challenging year behind us, we’re taking a moment to recognize some of our key successes as we celebrate both the ending and beginning of something new.
Heading into 2021, our firm was conducting a month’s-long search for a Senior Portfolio Manager to oversee our ESG investment process, and we scored a huge victory when we brought on Susan Ozawa Perez Ph.D., whom we feel extremely fortunate to have as part of our team. Susan quickly led a full-scale review and rebalance effort across all accounts, strengthening our investment committee oversight and improving both financial and ESG performance firmwide. In addition, Susan has already spearheaded a successful shareholder engagement campaign to address the social and governance risks of military contracts associated with a particular investment. It is unusual to win these types of engagements, and so we were both surprised and elated when the company agreed to all of our requests within months of our proposal. We hope to do more lead filing in 2022 and continue to search for ways we might make a positive impact while legitimately adding value for shareholders.
In September, our private impact fund celebrated its one-year anniversary and we are very excited about the investment opportunities we’ve identified in the marketplace so far, which was red hot this past year. Through the fund our qualified clients are able to access a diversified mix of high impact, privately held investment opportunities for a much lower minimum commitment than they would otherwise be able to, which was one of the main drivers behind launching the fund. Currently we hold seven positions which typically require a minimum of one million dollars from each investor. If you are a qualified investor, you can read more about our fund and the underlying investments on the Direct Offerings page of our website.
During October, both Susan and Monica Miller, Portfolio Manager for our private impact fund, were honored to speak on two expert panels at the ESG for Impact Conference held in Colorado Springs. The conference organizers have hosted the nation’s leading conference for professionals focused on socially responsible investing for over twenty-five years, which attracts the industry’s most prominent authorities on ESG and impact investments. This year one of our firm’s Principal Advisors, Shane Yonston, was invited to give the venerable “Why You Do What You Do” plenary speech, which after seventeen years attending the conference, was a recognition from industry peers of his long-standing commitment and leadership in the field. In addition to our formal speaking engagements, we lead the event’s efforts to promote more diversity and inclusion across our industry, which we will continue to campaign for at several more conferences this year.
And as we close out the year, we’re excited to announce that we are in the final stages of becoming an employee-owned, B-corp! After over a year in queue for the B-Corp Certification due to enormous growth and an incredible backlog of applications (another good sign for our industry and movement), we expect to be through the process the first half of the year. As an employee-owned firm, some of our key employees have taken stake in the firm, securing our company’s core competencies, and providing a continuity of service plan for our clients. Our hope is to continue to attract top industry talent and we believe that employee-ownership is the socially responsible way to build community wealth. By allowing employees to own stock in the company, we are aligning our employees interest with the overall health of the company, so that we may continue to provide personalized services for our growing community of clients across generations to come.
Although 2021 was another difficult year of hardly any travel or communing, we’ve been able to get even tighter as a team, which is not true for all firms. We attribute most of our good fortune to our incredible clients who’ve helped sustain us with meaningful work and a sense of purpose along the way. Thank you! And Happy New Year!