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Canadian foundations to increase impact investing

Canadian philanthropic foundations together represent over $60 billion of capital. Back in 2010, the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance set a target for Canadian foundations to invest 10% of their capital in mission-related investments by 2020. If this target were to be achieved, it would redirect an estimated $7 billion in assets towards greater impact.

Last week, the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network, Community Foundations of Canada, Philanthropic Foundations of Canada and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada announced Foundation Investing 2.0, a new partnership to support foundations in their journey to deepen and scale their impact and responsible investing activities.

Implemented by Rally Assets and the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), the project will provide practical steps to embed impact into investment management and governance.

At Deetken, we are thrilled to see this call to action and, perhaps more importantly, that it is accompanied by a clear path to guide foundations towards greater alignment between portfolio and purpose.

There are many examples of Canadian foundations that have become national and international impact investment leaders, including large foundations such as McConnell Foundation and Hamilton Community Foundation. There is much to be learned from these individual journeys, as each foundation works towards investing in a way that furthers their unique mission in the community.  

At this year’s Responsible Investing Association Conference in Montréal, Inspirit Foundation made a splash with their announcement of a truly impressive 84% allocation to impact investments – within close reach of their goal to invest 100% of their portfolio in impact by 2020. Inspirit sees impact investing as an imperative for creating the system change needed to realize their vision of a more inclusive and pluralist society. They have been particularly active in the financing of co-working and community spaces, such as Artscape, the Centre for Social Innovation and New Commons Development. They have also invested in a number of Canadian impact funds including Raven Indigenous Impact Fund, Renewal Funds, and the Verge Breakthrough Fund.

Catherine Donnelly Foundation is committed to promoting positive social change, with a granting program focused on housing, adult education and environmental enhancement in Canada. Recognizing that these intractable problems require extraordinary solutions, CDF was an early adopter of responsible investing and an early mover into impact investing. Today, CDF has completed impact investments in renewable energy bonds, direct investments in affordable housing projects and has also participated in social impact bonds designed to achieve specific public health and education goals. They are well on their way to achieving their target 10% portfolio allocation to impact investments.  

Closer to home, Central City Foundation is a 100-year old foundation with a mission to provide sustainable, timely solutions to neighbours in need in Vancouver’s inner city. Starting as far back as 1909, CCF amplified its grant-making by investing in properties and buildings that provide low-income housing or offer space and place to mission-aligned community organizations. CCF now has over 40% of its portfolio invested in social purpose real estate.

Bill Young, well-known for founding Social Capital Partners, uses his Bealight Foundation to provide catalytic capital into impact investment funds with a diverse set of mandates. This can provide an important “vote of confidence” for impact managers, particularly when raising capital for first-time funds.

Through participation in initiatives like Foundations Investing 2.0, Canadian foundations are showing a clear commitment to greater impact as well as a willingness to share their experiences and challenges to help others on the same journey. Foundation investors have been an important part of our growth at Deetken Impact, and we welcome this continued commitment and collaboration.

To learn more about how you can also align your investments with your values, click here.

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Magali Lamyin, Director of Communications and Development for Deetken Impact


Director of Communications and Development


Magali brings extensive market intelligence, business development and marketing experience from her work at the Central Bank of Mexico, the Canadian Institute for Market Intelligence, and the IESE-PWC e-Business Centre in Barcelona. She also co-led national marketing campaigns for businesses in the hospitality and early childhood education sectors for almost a decade before joining Deetken. In her current role, she is responsible for leading Deetken Impact’s communications, marketing and branding strategy. She is also involved in the due diligence process for project selection with an emphasis in Mexico.

Magali holds a BA in Economics from Mexico's ITAM and a Master's degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia.

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Jose Lamyin, Managing Partner Deetken Impact


Managing Partner


José has extensive experience as a business advisor for clients throughout Canada, Europe and Latin America in mining, telecommunications, and finance. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, José worked for Teck Cominco in Peru and Canada and Deutsche Bank in London (UK). José has spearheaded much of the strategic growth of Deetken Asset Management since inception and is currently focused on investment selection.

José received his BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and MBA from IESE School of Business (Barcelona). Born in Peru, José is fluent in English and Spanish.

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Alexa Blain, Managing Partner Deetken Impact


Managing Partner


Alexa is responsible for finance, operations and investor relations at Deetken Impact. She brings over 10 years of experience in financial consulting and asset management, with specific expertise in company and investment analysis, business valuation and securities/corporate finance. Prior to joining Deetken, she spent three years with African Alliance, a pan-African financial services group, where she focused on expanding the firm’s retail financial services operations as well as on the origination and negotiation of new capital. In addition, Alexa has six years of asset management experience with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Macquarie Group and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Alexa is a CFA Charterholder. She has also completed an MA in Financial Economics and an Honours BA in Economics, both at the University of Toronto.

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Fernando Alvarado, Head of Deetken Impact Sustainable Energy



Honduras Renewable Energy Managers (HREM) and Caribbean Renewable Energy Managers (CAREM)


Fernando Alvarado leads the General Partner and Investment Advisor of two clean energy and energy efficiency project finance and venture capital funds: Honduras Renewable Energy Financing Facility (H-REFF) and Caribbean Basin Sustainable Energy Fund (CABEF), which he structured and runs with a combined target capitalization of $100m.

Development Investment Banker with 28 years of international credit and investment experience and 18 years of direct experience assessing diversified renewable energy portfolios in Latin America & the Caribbean. He has participated in more than 50 syndicated credit and investment transactions for renewable energy projects in excess of $250 MM. He led the creation, structuring, fundraising, legal closing and portfolio construction of several specialized renewable energy funds.

Costa Rican, based in San Jose, Mr. Alvarado has an MBA in Banking and Finance cum laude from Universidad de Costa Rica.

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Carl Black, Portfolio Manager Deetken Impact


Portfolio Manager


Carl is a Portfolio Manager with Deetken Impact focused on analyzing and working with MSMEs, social enterprises, and renewable energy developers in Latin America and the Caribbean. His main responsibilities include supporting business development, managing technical assistance projects, leading investment due diligence, and monitoring portfolio performance. Prior to joining Deetken Impact, Carl worked for five years as a consultant, advising public sector clients an non profits in Canada and financial services companies in Latin America. He started his career at the Bank of Canada, where he researched issues related to household and business credit. 

Carl completed an Honours BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia. He also holds an MSc in Economics & Development from the University of Oxford, where he earned distinctions in quantitative and development economics.

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Cristobal Aguirre, Investment Analyst at Deetken Impact


Investment Analyst


Cristobal has over 6 years of experience in the asset management industry, where his responsibilities have ranged from asset allocation and portfolio management to risk analysis and software development. Before relocating to Canada, Cristobal worked as a senior investment analyst in AFP Habitat—Chile’s largest pension fund—where he led the tactical asset allocation and macroeconomic research for emerging markets.

Cristobal is a CFA Charterholder, and completed a BA in Economics at Universidad de Chile.

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Chad Parsons, Senior Investment Analyst at Deetken Impact




Chad has worked as a consultant in business and technology for 20 years – often helping clients with their business transformation initiatives.    He has worked with start-ups, government, and established businesses to further their product and service offerings with a balanced approach.   After pursuing a research degree on leveraging technology for social and economic development; Chad has found a valuable alignment of his background with Deetken’s innovative impact investments. 

Chad completed a BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has a MSc with distinction from the University of Manchester (UK).

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