Tag Archives: social impact

Angel Investing 101

GCF's work with impact investing parallels angel investing. In 2014, GCF made an impact investment of the Homeownership Center of Greater Cincinnati.
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s work with impact investing parallels angel investing. In 2014, GCF made an impact investment of the Homeownership Center of Greater Cincinnati.

By Julia Mace, Senior Communications Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation teamed up with Cintrifuse to explain angel investing  in February. Angel Investing 101 gave philanthropists the opportunity to learn and ask questions.

Robert Killins Jr., vibrant places director, and Michele Carey, senior giving strategies officer, talk about angel investing and what it means for GCF and its donors.


What is angel investing?

Robert: Angel investing is when you invest dollars in a very early stage of an entrepreneur’s business. You are really investing in an idea or a person. You help an entrepreneur catalyze an idea and put some structure around it.

Michele: Local examples of places fostering entrepreneurs include Queen City AngelsConnetic VenturesCintrifuse, UpTech, CincyTechThe Brandery, Bad Girl Ventures, OCEAN Accelerator, and MORTAR.

Does GCF participate in Angel investing?

Robert: We do something that parallels it called impact investing. It’s a different but similar investment tool. GCF and its donors use charitable assets to invest in projects that generate financial and social return. The dollars are recycled and used again.

In the last five years, GCF and donors have invested more than $10 million in projects that have created jobs, built homeless shelters and affordable housing, and prevented foreclosure.

With impact investing, we invest in a specific fund that finances a project. When you are an angel, you finance a company directly.

Michele: We value the social impact of our investments and we are approaching this as another way to make the community strong.

How does it benefit our community?

Robert: Angel investing creates jobs and companies in the region. Those businesses will start here, grow here, and stay here.

This work also creates so that entrepreneurs know they don’t need to go to a coast to be successful; they can do it here.

Michele: The way angel investors create a thriving entrepreneurial landscape, which brings in jobs, and boosts our economy, aligns with what we want to accomplish as a community foundation.

Why did GCF introduce this to its donors?

Michele: Angel investing is not for everyone—certainly not for anyone who is risk adverse—but we’re providing a service to our donors by educating them to learn and explore with no expectation. It’s also a chance for us to engage with a new audience —angel investors—who may wish to learn how GCF can help them leverage their charitable dollars in exciting and innovative ways.

Robert: We want donors to know that we’re supporting much of the same work through impact investing. Also, angel investing is creating recognition for Cincinnati and opportunities for talented individuals. Institutions that are innovative idea generators are involved, for instance, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati.

What’s next?

Robert: Given the positive feedback from our attendees, we will offer additional opportunities to learn about supporting our start up community through angel investing.

Interested? How can you get involved?

We suggest finding out more from Cintrifuse and checking out their blog post, Angel Investing 101.

If you’d like to get more involved, contact Robert Killins Jr. or Michele Carey.

Julia Mace is the Senior Communications Officer of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.