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Why Impact Investors Should be Focusing on Arts & Culture

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Sep 22, 2017

Creative industries are drivers of economic prosperity and community well-being but they are not receiving attention from impact investors that are boosting other sectors. This perspective, put forward by Lara Callanan, founder of Upstart Co-Lab, in a new article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), suggests that there is a significant misalignment between the empirically-proven impacts of arts and culture and the priorities of impact investing.

“According to the Global Impact Investing Network, zero percent of impact investment is in the arts and culture sector. This report was validated in 2015, when three impact investment advisory firms—Veris Wealth Partners, Tideline, and Bienville Capital Management—working independently could not identify impact-investment opportunities in arts, culture, and creativity for clients who requested them,” notes Callanan.

The author goes on to point out that even when significant investment is put into arts and culture initiatives—mainly though community development financial institutions (CDFIs)—not enough thought is put into the tracking and measuring the these initiatives. Indeed, “While impact investments have been reaching creative places and businesses in low-income communities, they have gone unnoticed due to a lack of naming and framing.”

Callanan ultimately points toward some possible strategies moving forward that can bring investment strategies into alignment with the arts and culture needs of our communities.

Read the full article here.

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