Originally published in the Union College Magazine, Fall 2014
Jennifer Pryce ’94 is facilitating change in the world, and she’s doing it as president and CEO of the Calvert Foundation.
At its core, Calvert Foundation is an intermediary that focuses on impact investing – on connecting people to the causes and places they care about through investments.
“We develop new channels for individuals to align their investments with their values, as many consumers do with their purchases of cars, such as a Prius, or shoes, like Toms,” Pryce said. “By creating investment opportunities that target underserved communities and provide the investors with financial and social returns, Calvert Foundation empowers investors to change the world for the better.”
The company, based in Bethesda, Md., has several programs that allow investors to use their capital to make an impact. One, spearheaded by Pryce, is the Women Investing in Women Initiative (WIN-WIN).
“The goal of WIN-WIN is to empower women around the world,” Pryce said. “Its genesis was really a response to what we heard from our investors and their financial advisers – a strong desire to invest in support of women.”
Perhaps the effort resonates so soundly with investors because women get so little of the venture capital available in the United States.
“Women receive less than ten percent of what’s allocated to startups in their early stages,” Pryce said. “But in the U.S., women are starting businesses faster than men.”
Female-run businesses are generally more inclusive and collaborative, and studies have shown women managers improve overall company performance by bringing greater diversity to their teams, she added. “So increasing the amount of venture capital allocated to women means that our economic prospects as an entire society improve as well.”
Since its launch in 2012, WIN-WIN has invested more than $20 million in 18 organizations empowering women around the world. One such organization in Cleveland, Ga., Access to Credit for Entrepreneurs, serves women whose businesses range from pottery painting to medical supplies.