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Weekend Briefing No. 149
This Week By The Numbers
42,792 – Formula One used up 42,792 tires in 2016, enough to fill up 10 Boeing 747-8 freighters.
45 – In 1973, the entire internet fit on a cocktail napkin. Arpanet, the predecessor of the modern-day internet, consisted of just 45 computers.
1 – The number of times President Elect Trump wants to be briefed on national security in a week, eschewing the traditional daily presidential national security briefing, because “I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day.”
$1B Fund For Clean Energy
Bill Gates is leading a $1 billion fund focused on fighting climate change by investing in clean energy innovation. The Microsoft co-founder and his all-star line-up of fellow investors including Vinod Khosla, Jack Ma and John Doerr will begin making investments next year. The BEV fund, which has a 20-year duration, aims to invest in the commercialization of new technologies that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in areas including electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial processes, agriculture, and energy-system efficiency. “Anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable energy we’re open-minded to,” says Gates, who is serving as chairman of BEV and anticipates being actively involved. Learn more at Breakthrough Energy Ventures (3 minutes).
ESG Investing Gains Ground
The amount of assets managed using E.S.G. (Environment, Social & Governance) factors has more than tripled to $8.1 trillion since 2010, according to a report issued in November. Wall Street firms have jumped in; Goldman Sachs acquired Imprint Capital, an E.S.G.-focused firm, and Perella Weinberg Partners manages the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s for fossil-fuel divestment. Performance does not have to suffer. Although the TIAA-CREF social choice fund and the flagship MSCI exchange-traded fund have trailed the market slightly for the last five years, the Vanguard fund has topped it. The $14.8 billion Parnassus Core Equity Investor fund, which picks stocks using E.S.G. and fundamental analysis, has beaten the market by more than two percentage points annually over the last 10 years. Learn more at the New York Times (6 minutes).
Trade Not Aid
In one of my favorite books, The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier, he argues the importance of private capital in increasing worker productivity, "Africa is the most capital-scarce region, and has twice as much as much public capital as private capital. What it and other economies of the bottom billion really lack is private investment". With $5 from each bracelet, Bird + Stone invests in micro-loans so single mothers can be self-sustainable. This is a trade not aid model. With an investment to buy a cow or the first bag of maize, a mom can quadruple that $200 loan in income enabling her to pay for her student’s education, improve her home like buying cement flooring or getting fresh water, and start saving for the future. Consider gifts that give back this holiday season at Bird + Stone (Sponsored Briefing).
Donations By Benefit Corporations
For federal income tax purposes, a benefit corporation is treated the same as other taxable corporations, including the tax treatment of payments to charitable organizations. A significant tax issue is whether payments by a taxable corporation to charitable organizations are deductible as charitable contributions under Section 170 (with the 10% limitation), or as business expenses under Section 162 (which is not limited). Recently the IRS stated that a benefit corporation may deduct payments to charities as business expenses (and thus not subject to the 10% limitation on corporate charitable contributions). Learn more at Morgan Lewis (8 minutes).
M-PESA, Poverty & Gender
Mobile money, a service that allows monetary value to be stored on a mobile phone and sent to other users via text messages, has been adopted by the vast majority of Kenyan households. Access to the Kenyan mobile money system M-PESA increased per capita consumption levels and lifted 194,000 households, or 2% of Kenyan households, out of poverty. The impacts, which are more pronounced for female-headed households, appear to be driven by changes in financial behavior—in particular, increased financial resilience and saving—and labor market outcomes, such as occupational choice, especially for women, who moved out of agriculture and into business. Learn more at Science (17 minutes).
Much like the phases of human development, the nonprofit lifecycle features systemic benchmarks in organizational life from invention, start-up, growth, maturity and, finally, decline. For example, in the start-up phase, nonprofit organizations’ management systems typically feature a few employees in a flat structure, with decisions made primarily by the founder(s). Each phase tracks an organization’s natural evolution. Understanding the nonprofit lifecycle is important because 1) It sets realistic expectations. 2) It helps you anticipate challenges. 3) It determines the best leadership fit. Learn more at Westaway Review (6 minutes).
Mark Manson asked for relationship advice, and he got it… from 1,500 people. Interestingly, they were all saying pretty much the same dozen things. Here are a few of them: 1) Be together for the right reason. 2) Have realistic expectations about relationships and romance. 3) The most important factor in a relationship is not communication, but respect. 4) Talk openly about everything, even the stuff that hurts. 5) A healthy relationship means two healthy individuals. 6) Give each other space. See the other 6 at Mark Mason (15 minutes).
About the Weekend Briefing
Thanks for making the Weekend Briefing a part of your weekend routine.I love putting it together every week and love hearing your thoughtful insights. Feel free to shoot me an email with any feedback or suggestions. If you like what you’re reading, I’d be honored if you share it with your friends. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend.