As the world opened back up, it was an eventful year for both Fire Capital and the world at large. In our annual impact reflection, we highlight a few ways we’ve helped our clients drive capital for good and as well as several milestones from this past year that we are proud of!
This year we were honored to be recognized as one of the Best for the World™ B Corps of 2022! To be recognized as "Best for the World," B Corps must have scores in the top 5% of one or more of the five assessed impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. Out of 5,000 Certified B Corps worldwide, Fire Capital Management was ranked among the top 5% of B Corps in the Customers impact area of our size group. This is a recognition that makes us incredibly proud, particularly given that all B Corps are businesses that have already established high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. We will continue to work hard to add value to our clients’ lives while also supporting the greater good, and to improve our capabilities in the other impact areas.
We recognize that there is increasing criticism surrounding the concepts of ESG, responsible, and sustainable investing, as well as concern regarding potential “impact washing”. However, we believe that effective ESG analysis seeks to identify, evaluate, and price social, economic, and environmental risks and opportunities in a more expansive approach to investment analysis and is not simply a label that can be added to investment products. As we have seen from the most recent COP26 climate conference outcomes, there is a big push to speed up the development of the space. Over the next few years, the industry will continue to evolve with more standardized global reporting and measurement frameworks for ESG and impact metrics--from material climate-related risks and opportunities, to wider sustainability issues.
At Fire Capital, we leverage the use of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) data, such as MSCI ESG Research and Morningstar Direct Sustainalytics ESG Ratings, to help in our investment process. This ESG data helps provide deeper insights into investments, including information on financially material ESG factors that assist in achieving stronger due diligence results as well as helping us make more informed investment decisions over the long-term. Businesses and companies that manage these material ESG issues well can avoid negative externalities and minimize reputational and financial risk.
As of the end of 2022, using MSCI ESG data, the equities and funds utilized in our investment models avoid any ESG laggards, with a significant portion ranking as ESG leaders. Additionally, a large portion of our utilized funds are in alignment with various UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our top five UN SDG exposures include alignment with 1) clean water and sanitation, 2) gender equality, 3) industry, innovations, and infrastructure, 4) zero hunger, and 5) decent work and economic growth.
As part of the Pledge 1% movement, we’ve committed 1% of Fire Capital’s annual revenue and time to causes that we care about. In our second year of our impact fund, we were honored to give back to five great organizations that are aligned with our targeted cause areas: 1) women & girls empowerment, 2) diversity in the financial industry, 3) education & economic opportunity for all, and 4) the environment. Two of the five organizations have a geographic focus specifically in the Bay Area and Miami – the locations of our main operations. These organizations are summarized below:
Outside of donating capital, we also donate our time. This year, our Managing Partner, Michael Firestone, volunteered his time serving as a mentor for the Girls Who Invest program and the entire Fire Capital team helped to build grocery bags for thousands of families in need at The San-Francisco Marin Food Bank.
Additionally, our Director of Investment Strategy, Dr. Kelsey Syvrud, hosted a booth at Florida State University's (FSU) Women’s Health Day. Fire Capital represented a Financial Health station focused on digital assets as well as impact investing for the students, graduates, faculty, and staff of FSU. Dr. Syvrud taught the students about risk and reward tradeoffs of different asset classes with an interactive game and the students helped make our impact tree blossom by writing down one step they could each take to help make an impact.
In addition to managing client portfolios, we also provide support to help our clients achieve their philanthropic goals. This is done through mission and values alignment, grantmaking strategy, charity research & due diligence, as well as foundation administration. In 2022, our clients granted out nearly $1.7 million supporting cause areas spanning health, economic security & opportunity, women & girls empowerment, animal protection, and education.
This past year, in support of our clients, Alyssa Farrelly – our COO & Director of Social Impact - traveled to Rwanda to attend The African Philanthropy Forum conference. Fire Capital was representing one of our client’s foundations which focuses on women & girls initiatives in West Africa. The theme of the conference was “African Philanthropists Closing the Gender Gap”, gathering stakeholders in the African philanthropy community to grow partnerships for greater impact in the gender equity and empowerment space. The conference was a chance to meet some amazing changemakers as well as a productive time for learning and exploring creative ways to generate resources that help advance opportunities for women and girls across the continent. It was an incredible experience and we are grateful to our clients that make our work so worthwhile!
Additionally, in 2022, Alyssa joined the Bay Area Advisors in Philanthropy Chapter and the 21/64 Certified Advisors Collective to further develop our team’s abilities to better serve our clients on multigenerational family philanthropy.
Another 2022 highlight was attending The Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado. Michael Firestone and Alyssa Farrelly were honored to represent Fire Capital at the conference and to have the opportunity to learn from inspiring thinkers and leaders. We listened and engaged in discussions tackling issues that touch all parts of society such as in economics, the environment, racial equity, politics, and education.
Overall, Fire Capital has been working hard to expand our impact services. In addition to our wealth management and family office clients, we now also provide foundation consulting services as well as outsourced Chief Investment Office (CIO) services. As part of these services, we provide investment education, including focused sections on impact investing, to help support foundations’ journeys on extending their mission alignment across their whole portfolio.
What a year! Our team continues to be grateful for our community of clients who have a desire to invest toward a better world through their investments and philanthropy and we are excited for the year ahead!