THE BLOG
11/03/2014 12:29 pm ET Updated Jan 03, 2015

The Impact Investor: A Modern Day Sisyphus?

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Thanks to the untold blood, sweat, and capital of many, the impact investing community is getting its act together. At the outset of the Great Recession in 2008 we were able to articulate impact investing's promise to couple returns with social and environmental impacts. Yet we lacked the imagination to channel the nation's attention on the financial system into a productive dialogue about the potential of an impact economy. Look no further than the impact investing report of the U.S. National Advisory Board, part of a global effort led by the G8's Social Impact Investment Task Force, and you can rest assured that we will be ready when the next crisis hits.

Even better than preparedness, however, is prevention. As the 2008 Financial Crisis taught us, decades of hard-fought social and financial gains can return to ground zero in a mater of moments. And, from the perspective of the other members of the G8's Social Impact Investment Task Force, there is more global interest in our nation's macroeconomic stability than our novel innovations in social impact bonds, impact metrics, or definitions of impact.

After all of our hard work as a community, we can't risk becoming the Sisyphus of social impact. Yet due in no small part to lobbying and campaign dollars, our financial system is no more stable or better regulated today than it was at the outset of the Great Recession. In this election season alone, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley have spent more than $12 million on campaign contributions.

Thanks to our imperfect, yet glorious, democracy we have the opportunity to make an impact investment in reversing this trend. Even more, this deal won't require you to decide which GIIRS metrics to use or haggle over pre-money valuations. All you need to do is believe we owe it to our future generations - and our pocketbooks - to reduce the corrosive influence of money in politics.

Enter Mayday Super PAC, a crowd-funded Super PAC, or political action committee, to end all Super PACs. The Mayday Super PAC uses its investors' dollars to "elect a Congress committed to fundamental reform in the way political campaigns are funded by 2016."

What better impact investment can we make than one that ensures our efforts to create social and environmental progress won't be reduced to rubble because of a fat finger "flash crash" or a new generation of toxic collateralized debt obligations so complicated you need a PhD from MIT to valuate them? All impact investors - including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, members of the US National Advisory Board on Impact Investing - will achieve superior long-term social, environmental, and financial returns by reducing risk.

You don't need to think too hard about the value proposition. In fact, don't even bother modeling the upside of an investment in the non-partisan Mayday Super PAC. See it as a bargain-basement insurance policy against keeping years of your hard-earned social, environmental, and financial value creation from tumbling uncontrollably from its peak.

If Sisyphus were an impact investor, he'd bet his last boulder on MayDay PAC. We should, too.

For more information, including anti-corruption candidates you can vote for tomorrow, click here.