Morgan Simon of Pi Investments, a 100-percent impact investor, recently shared in the Stanford Social Innovation Review how she worked with Huntington Capital to increase the fund’s impact management practices. As a Limited Partner in the Huntington Capital Fund III, Pi wanted to see jobs created–but not just any jobs:
“[J]ob creation” is a slippery concept: Outside of true innovation and demand generation, we can’t do much more than move jobs from one zip code to another. And even when jobs are created in a low-income community, if they are low paying, then by definition they are precisely what keep those communities locked into cycles of poverty.
How does that work? In general, we don’t just have a national unemployment problem; we have an employment problem, where more than two-thirds of children in poverty live in households where one or both parents work. The vast majority of these households are led by people of color, notably African Americans and Latinos who are twice as likely to be working poor.
This is simply because the minimum wage does not provide a living wage for most American families. To earn a living wage, a typical family of four collectively needs to work more than three full-time, minimum-wage jobs (a 68-hour work week per working adult, if there are two adults). Certainly many of us are used to long hours, but I doubt we would be willing or happy to do so—let alone be able to support our families—for $7.25 an hour!
They started by doing research into the job-quality needs of beneficiaries in order to ensure that those needs were taken into account when developing metrics for success. Some key highlights from their research are featured below:
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