Instant Karma Newsletter 7.28.20
  • The creative economy and its local flavor is the next frontier for impact investors. 

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Describing art as an investment evokes buying a Georgia O’Keeffe and letting its value appreciate under glass until your retirement. It does not bring to mind a textile factory in Detroit. 

But the team at the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC) are artisans — some with years of traditional artisan experience in fashion and apparel manufacturing, others learning the trade after emigrating to the United States or returning to society after a stint in prison or living on the street. ISAIC also brings art and design students in for the summer to help them connect their artistic knowledge and talent with the manufacturing process.

“So often, design is so detached from manufacturing,” explained ISAIC CEO and chairwoman Jen Guarino, in a video interview with Karma from her desk on the factory floor. (She, like the other employees, wore a mask.)

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In Other News: Ellevest, Boohoo and

Businesses are realizing that “virtue signaling” with statements on racial equity is not enough. Gender lens investing platform Ellevest is adding a racial equity lens. Your impact measurement system should probably not be giving high scores to companies with terrible labor practices (and the head of BNP Paribas agrees). A startup to make home-buying in Mexico easier raised a $25 million round mortgage-style: via debt financing. Can Google fix the housing crisis it helped create? Investing in hard-hit communities could borrow from the U.S. Development Finance Corporation model. 

Levity Break

Curating your dog’s Instagram presence is the new “Tiger King.”