Municipal Impact Investing: Making an Impact on Education

Marc Uy: One of the things that we like to do is to make sure that our investments are very specific—that they have intentionality behind each investment. Because, for us, it’s not just about how the dollars are being spent, but what are the outcomes involved after those dollars are spent?

Matt Norton: Marc, thank you for joining us today. Impact investing spans the realm of environmental, social and governance—and I know you focus a lot on the educational, the social aspect of that. Could you talk to us a little bit about how you think about education and how impact investors can make a difference?

MU: So, in the United States, roughly 15% of all Americans deal with some level of hearing loss. And if you’re a child that falls into this category, that can really have an impact on your academic, your social and [your] emotional learning, and that can really, really affect a child’s outcome. And, consequently, the employment gap between hearing and non-hearing individuals is about 22.5%.

So, now comes an institution such as Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, where they are the only liberal arts college in the world that is focused specifically on helping the deaf, the hard-of-hearing or the deaf-blind community.

In their most recent offering, they use a portion of their debt to fund a student dorm. And not just any student dorm, but a dorm that was geared towards deaf-space guidelines. Something that was developed at Gallaudet University with the deaf-space guidelines: they’re all about making sure that the built environment is architecturally structured in a way that is conducive for that population for the deaf and hard of hearing.

MN: Education, of course, spans an entire range from when you’re very young, all the way through university. Tell us about an interesting investment that you’re making in the K through 12 age as well.