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Don Shaffer
Don Shaffer is the president and CEO of RSF Social Finance, a San Francisco–based organization that lends money to path-breaking social enterprises, provides investing vehicles, manages grant funds, and works to build a finance infrastructure that will allow social enterprises to thrive.

Entries by Don Shaffer

Beyond Wall Street: Transforming the Way We Use Capital

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 2:07 PM

By Don Shaffer

I've been talking to a lot of people lately about RSF Social Finance's decision to walk off Wall Street, and urging others to consider doing the same. The obvious question that comes up is, OK, but where do you go? What are the investment and...

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New Funding Model Gets Social Enterprises through Valley of Death

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 4:22 PM

What will it take to build a thriving social enterprise sector that can lead the way to the next economy?

That's a question that's always on our minds at RSF Social Finance, and we're convinced that one essential step is to challenge the dominant funding model. In that compartmentalized...

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Why We Decided to Walk Off Wall Street

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 4:52 PM

I have read the Wall Street Journal cover-to-cover nearly every business day for the last 20 years. It's been a central part of my financial education, and has allowed me to research a myriad of topics that I did not immediately understand. Steadily, I have increased my knowledge of highly...

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Everyone Can Be an Impact Investor -- Here's How to Start

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 2:04 AM

The movement toward investing in what's good instead of just screening out what's bad is growing, spurred by a new generation of investors.

Millennials are questioning conventional systems and approaches across the board, from food to education to finance. That's leading many to start aligning personal and family investments with...

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5 Ways Social Enterprises Can Finance Growth

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 5:58 PM


Social entrepreneurs seeking growth funding often get caught up in the culture of venture capital--they position their enterprise as a rocket business, look for a miracle angel investor, and start giving away equity. They're not thinking about how the investors will get...

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Fixing the Food System From the Base of the Supply Chain

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 2:16 PM

Social equity in the food supply chain was a strong thread running through the annual Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders forum this June in Denver. If we're going to fix our broken food system so that it delivers healthy food to the whole population while enabling farmers to make...

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Momentum Builds for 100 Percent Impact Investment Movement

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 4:43 PM

When I first started working in impact investing, the field's challenges were foundational: refining the concept, finding suitable investments, figuring out how to measure impact, even determining what to call the concept. Work in all those areas continues, but the field has matured to the point where it's on the...

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Community Foundations: What It Takes to Become Dynamic Hubs of Local Capital

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 4:39 PM

Community foundations -- with their deep local ties, significant unrestricted assets, and community benefit missions -- are ideally positioned to play a leading role in solving our communities' most profound and difficult challenges. Yet many are stuck in a pattern of disbursing only a small percentage of their assets in...

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Social Finance vs. Traditional Finance: What's the Difference and Why it Matters

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 1:18 PM

Most growth businesses face challenges raising capital at some stage in their development. But for social enterprises, which use the power of business to directly improve society and our environment, the obstacles tend to be tougher and more persistent. That's unfortunate, because these enterprises are working on the world's most...

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7 Tips for Social Enterprises Looking to Raise Capital

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 6:30 PM

Raising growth capital is a challenge for most businesses, but social enterprises face an extra hurdle--they have to show how they're going to maximize their positive impact and demonstrate the qualities investors generally look for, including a strong management team, a unique approach to the market or problem, and growth...

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