Donna Katzin, Executive Director of Shared Interest, was honored with the 2015 SRI Service Award, the socially responsible investing industry’s most vaunted award.
The SRI Service Award recognizes one individual each year who demonstrates a range of contributions to the Sustainable, Responsible, Impact (SRI) investment field, including: industry leadership, significant innovations, high standards of ethical conduct, cooperation and communication, and success in expanding the influence of investing for a sustainable future.
The 620 investors and investment professionals who attended The SRI Conference had an opportunity to cast a ballot for the recipient of this prestigious award. Votes were counted and the award was presented at The SRI Conference by the 2014 SRI Service Award recipient, Barbara Krumsiek, former chair, president, and CEO of Calvert Investments.
SRI Conference Producer and First Affirmative Financial Network President Steve Schueth, said: “As founding Executive Director of Shared Interest, Donna Katzin was an excellent choice for the 2015 SRI Service Award. Having helped lead mission-driven investors to apply economic pressure to accelerate the peaceful end of apartheid, Katzin turned from disinvestment to reinvestment in 1994 when the new South Africa was born and Nelson Mandela was elected president. Through Shared Interest, she has built a vehicle for U.S. investors to forge international relationships with South Africa’s economically excluded entrepreneurs, farmers, and homeowners.”
Shared Interest provides loan guarantees and technical support, helping the country’s commercial lenders to make yesterday’s “unbankable” people today’s “ordinary business.” The SRI Service Award also recognizes the rapid growth of Katzin’s and Shared Interest’s work in South Africa, and its initial replication across its borders.
Katzin said: “This is an historic time for our work and for Southern Africa. In countries such as South Africa andMozambique, we see lenders with whom we work beginning to appreciate that the vast majorities of their populations constitute a powerful potential market. During the past year alone, in partnership with the Thembani International Guarantee Fund, we have more than quadrupled our number of loan guarantees—without ever losing a cent of any investor’s interest or principal.”
Katzin has been a powerful voice in the social and impact investment communities—first as director of South Africa Programs for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and then as executive director of Shared Interest. Katzin has written extensively onSouth Africa and investing in its communities, and has been honored with the North Star Fund’s Frederick Douglass Award, and Face2Face Africa’s inaugural Ubuntu Award for extraordinary service to humanity. In 2014, she received the South African Embassy’s inaugural Siyabonga Friend of South Africa Award.
Shared Interest is a leading non-profit investment fund that guarantees Southern African commercial loans to low-income communities of color. Founded in 1994 and headquartered in New York City, it has facilitated more than $21 million in guarantees that have leveraged $103 million in commercial loans to the region’s black population’s small enterprises, farms, and cooperatives. In the process it has benefited 2.3 million economically marginalized South and Southern Africans.
The SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing is the premier annual gathering of investors and investment professionals working to direct the flow of investment capital for positive impact. The 26th annual SRI Conference was held November 3-5, 2015. Looking ahead, the 27th annual SRI Conference will beNovember 9-11, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center.