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A Brief History of Impact Investing

A Brief History of Impact Investing

Collaborative Fund was founded a decade ago with the mission to support and invest in the shared future. Since then, the conversation around impact investing has only grown. We couldn't be more excited.

Impact investing has evolved to mean different things to different people. In our eyes, any entity -- non-profit, for-profit, individual, or government organization -- that invests time, money, or resources to push the world forward can be classified as an impact investor.

To show how far the world has come, we created an incomplete timeline of some of what we find to be the most interesting milestones in this landscape. You can check it out here.

Impact Investing | An Interactive History

[rebelmouse-proxy-image crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//" pin_description="" dam="0" site_id=19342784 caption="Impact Investing | An Interactive History" photo_credit_src="" photo_credit="" expand=1] Impact Investing | An Interactive History

An interactive history of impact investing from 1971 to today.

We've followed the common thread that ties the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, in which 84 countries committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to the 2006 release of An Inconvenient Truth in Theaters, which opened eyes to global warming worldwide, to more recent, large-scale ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) strides in the corporate world, like:

  • The Ford Foundation committing (the largest commitment of this kind made by a private foundation) $1 Billion to mission-related investments in 2017.
  • Business Roundtable redefining the purpose of a corporation to benefit all stakeholders, not just shareholders, in 2019.

The events we've included in this interactive history stand out as significant moments in this global movement. But this is nowhere near a comprehensive collection. This is more than an outline – it's a call to action. We want this to be a living, breathing thing that we can add to, and we want your help.

If there are any significant events or ideas that deserve to be included, we'd love to hear from you, please email us at

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