A Guide to Jewish Impact Investing

Authored by JFN member and impact investor Michael Lustig, this is the first-ever guide to Jewish impact investing, investment in ventures that aim to be financially profitable while also achieving specific social or environmental goals.

This free, downloadable guide provides a brief overview of impact investing concepts and defines and characterizes what makes Jewish impact investing unique. The guide, part of JFN's Guidebooks for Intelligent Giving series, also features illustrative case studies and a list (one that will be updated on an ongoing basis) of various Jewish impact investing resources and specific investment options.

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Listen to a podcast about impact investing

"A Guide to Jewish Impact Investing” is one piece in JFN’s broader strategy to promote impact investing in the Jewish community. For the past year, JFN has hosted a monthly impact investing roundtable series; it has also twice partnered with the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation on a matching grant program designed to expand Israel’s impact investing ecosystem. 

Acting on the recommendations of an impact investing task force, JFN’s board recently voted to expand its work in impact investing. Specifically, JFN will:

  • Continue our successful monthly Impact Investing roundtable series, a networking and information-sharing spot for members who are active in this field.
  • Develop intro-level webinars/trainings for JFN members who are new to impact investing or are considering getting into it.
  • Map the field — collect information about our members’ involvement in this sector.
  • Seek partnerships with other organizations that are promoting impact investing.
  • Share a variety of impact investing information and resources on our website.


“We see impact investing as an important tool to supplement more traditional grant-making – while it can’t and shouldn’t replace traditional philanthropy, it can be more effective and more financially sustainable in certain cases,” says JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny. “Impact investing can also help ensure that funders’ endowments/philanthropic assets are being invested in ways that align with and are not counter to the foundation’s mission and goals.”

Impact investing is an area of increasing interest in the general and Jewish world. Many individuals who are active in this sector, whether as entrepreneurs or investors, are Jewish, and the State of Israel boasts a large and growing impact investment sector.

The sector is wide-ranging and at times confusing, however, encompassing a variety of financial vehicles, goals and metrics. Furthermore, until now there has been a lack of consensus about how to define Jewish impact investing. This guide seeks to both explain and define the sector, with the goal of encouraging more Jewish funders and foundations to invest in both general and Jewish impact ventures.

Impact investing is “not replacing philanthropy, it is augmenting philanthropy,” explains Lustig, the guide’s author.

The guide also encourages Jewish leaders to explore impact investing vehicles for advancing Jewish communal goals, such as peoplehood and Jewish literacy.

“Philanthropy has a significant role to play but with some creativity there’s no shortage of ways we could be thoughtful about starting businesses and developing financial vehicles that would address a lot of social challenges in the Jewish community and do it more efficiently than we’re doing with philanthropy right now,” says Vanessa Bartram, an impact investor and JFN board member who facilitates JFN’s monthly roundtable series.

“Impact investing used to be something people would look at you and say, ‘Oh that sounds really nice and I’m going to lose all my money,’” Bartram adds. “It’s only in the past few years that we’ve started to have data that we can actually prove in an empirical way that impact investments can generate equal if not superior returns to traditional investments. That’s the tipping point that allows it to go mainstream and for people to make this decision with their investment pocket and not their philanthropic pocket.”

Download high-resolution version (22 MB)

Download lower-resolution version (4 MB)

View JFN's other Greenbooks

Listen to a podcast with Michael Lustig and Vanessa Bartram


To share feedback on "A Guide to Jewish Impact Investing," or to request more information about JFN's impact investing work, email [email protected]