The Dignity Fund was Elizabeth Funk’s first endeavour in the field of social impact investing. She founded it in conjunction with Maya Chorengel in 2003, long before impact investing was the impressive movement that it has become today.
Dignity Fund’s mission was to prove the concept that investors could make money while helping the poor. Yet our mission was broader than just mobilizing the millions that we raised. We also worked actively to provide a “demonstration effect” in the hopes of inspiring larger institutions and funds to follow our lead. To achieve this goal, Dignity Fund had a policy of co-investing with another institution on every investment we made. Additionally, Dignity Fund had an extensive Advisory Board of leaders from major organizations such as Deutsche Bank, Citibank, ACCION and others. We are proud that each of our Advisory Board members went on to engage in Microfinance projects of their own.
Dignity Fund raised money from US-based impact investors, and lent those funds to 15 different Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) around the world. Dignity Fund was an early innovator in structuring capital flows to the developing world. We structured loans in local currency, with innovative financial structurings to protect the MFIs from currency fluctuations.
In total, Dignity Fund invested in 15 MFIs over a 7 year period, resulting in helping many millions of borrowers bring their families out of poverty.