Faith-based investors laid the groundwork for impact investing long before this moniker was coined several years ago. In the 1960s, they began to pioneer community investment institutions that provide low-interest financing to low-income borrowers. Today, their efforts to generate social impact while capturing some financial return extend worldwide. They're also trying to figure out their future role in this evolving sector.
Mark Regier, director of stewardship investing at Everence, a faith-based investment firm in Goshen, Ind. that advises the Praxis mutual funds, observed some excitement but also confusion when he initiated a conversation about impact investing at the summer meeting of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. ICCR members include nearly 300 faith-based institutional investors whose combined portfolios are worth an estimated $100 billion.