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How Lauren Grattan thinks about risk

How Lauren Grattan thinks about risk

Shoutout SoCal checked in with our Co-founder and Chief Community Officer Lauren Grattan in its local stories series and asked her how she thinks about risk.

Here’s an excerpt:

Risk has played a big role in my life and career,” Lauren shares. “A lot of people think about risk mostly in the negative—in terms of what could go wrong. But I like to think about risk in terms of what could go right. Ten years ago I went backpacking from the Canadian border of Montana to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I hiked 2,500 miles in five months, largely on a trail of my own design. Pretty much all of my colleagues, friends, and family said, ‘You’re doing what?!’ It seemed terrifying, but if (when) I managed to do it, how cool. That kind of energy is what drives me personally and professionally—it seems undoable, but if it works, how incredible would it be?

“My college friends and I joked that the line between badass and bad is very, very fine. It’s my goal to be on the badass side of that line. So I imagine what could be if things go right, and then ensure that they do. I started a financial services company—with a philosophy degree—because I thought, ‘How cool would it be if we brought purpose and intention back into investments? How cool would it be to transform finance from the inside?’ And that’s what we get to do now. Another side of risk worth touching on: Part of the reason why capital isn’t flowing evenly to all communities is because of misperceived risk, where people see other and believe that different equals bad. In large part because I am of mixed race and feel a kinship with many types of folks, instead of seeing downside risk in overlooked communities, I see opportunity. That feeds into how Mission Driven Finance does its underwriting and how we develop new impact funds.”

Read more here.

Now is the time to try philanthropic investing

Now is the time to try philanthropic investing

At Mission Driven Finance, we want impact investing to pick up so much steam that it becomes the default mode of making investments. One of our goals is to make it easier for folks to invest in their community and the issues they care about, from all sorts of types of accounts. 

If someone asks, “Can I participate from my ___ [fill-in-the-blank] account?” we want the answer to be an emphatic yes.

To that end, we’re proud to add Realize Impact to our growing community of impact partners. Realize Impact is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to support donors in turning any grant into an impact investment. Sounds cool, right?

Our partnership with Realize Impact allows Mission Driven Finance to expand our commitment to make impact investing easy and accessible. We look forward to working alongside donors, private foundations, and donor advised funds of any origin and size to unlock grant capital as a tool for impact investing. Here’s how it works: 

Philanthropic investment grants with Mission Driven Finance & Realize Impact
  1. Make a grant from your donor-advised fund (DAF) or private foundation, or a tax-deductible donation from your personal account to Realize Impact and recommend an impact investment in one of Mission Driven Finance’s impact strategies.
  2. Realize Impact operates a philanthropic investment fund that takes money donated from DAFs, foundations, and elsewhere and invests it in existing Mission Driven Finance funds.

  3. Huzzah! A donation is now at work in the world as an impact investment! While Realize Impact is the investor of record, we keep you up to date along the way on all the impact you’re creating through your charitable participation.

  4. At the end of the investment term, 99 percent of the investment returns may be granted back to the donor’s DAF, foundation, or another 501(c)(3) of choice—or reinvested for impact

2020 bonus tax incentives

On top of all this awesomeness, 2020 philanthropic investment grants to Realize Impact are eligible for temporary additional tax benefits.  

In a nutshell, the federal government built temporary tax incentives into the CARES Act to urge Americans to make charitable contributions in 2020 and support our neighbors. For those who are in a position to give, there’s no time like the present.

In this historical moment, legacy will undoubtedly be defined by whether or not those positioned to contribute are indeed taking their wealth and responsibility seriously. The options are endless on the spectrum from donating to investing, so that we can collectively come out of the pandemic stronger. 

— Morgan Simon, Candide Group

Under the CARES Act, there are added tax benefits for making a charitable gift in 2020. 

  • For non-itemizers: You can deduct up to $300 of charitable gifts without itemizing. 
  • For itemizers: You can deduct up to 100 percent of charitable gifts from your adjusted gross income. See further reading resources below for details.

While gifts into donor-advised funds and private foundations are not eligible for the increased 2020 tax benefits, contributions to public charities do qualify. Realize Impact, as a public charity, can accept charitable contributions, eligible for expanded CARES Act tax deductions. 

For further reading

Mission Driven Finance is not qualified to give tax advice. This article does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. We encourage you to speak with your tax professional about your situation.

Community Finance Fellowship showcase

Community Finance Fellowship showcase

What was it?

Community Finance Fellowship showcase

When was it?

December 2020


Andrew Moncada
Essence Rodriguez
Louise Jordan
Crystal Sevilla
Benson Ochira

Mission Driven Finance

Monica Munn

WES Mariam Assefa Fund


Lauren Grattan

Mission Driven Finance

The Community Finance Fellowship began as a wild idea to hire good people with diverse lived, learned, and labored experiences and get out of the way. On the one hand, we’d train them on the full lifecycle of impact investing and diversify the talent pipeline in finance. On the other, we’d learn and explore cultural nuances of why capital isn’t flowing in certain communities and inform the broader investment field.

Now two-thirds through their year with us (in a global pandemic no less), the inaugural cohort has learned a lot about the inner workings of an investment firm and taught our team a thing or two.

If you missed the event, click on the video to hear directly from the 2020 cohort fellows— Andrew Moncada, Essence Rodriguez, Louise Jordan, Crystal Sevilla, and Benson Ochira—about their career goals and their experiences thus far changing the face and flow of finance.