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Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

To Cure A Problem, ‘Harness Market Forces,’ Impact Investor Says

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

“For the vast majority of my career I have been both a capitalist and a philanthropist, and I’ve struggled at both. I struggled to make my change meaningful, and struggled at making meaningful change,” Bobby Turner told me in preparation for this piece. His response: create one of the largest firms in the impact investing space.

He founded Turner Impact Capital just 18 months ago to acquire and operate affordable residential housing projects and fund construction of charter schools in high-need communities.

“Our investment strategy is based on recognizing that making money making and making positive societal change need not be mutually exclusive,” He adds. “In fact, it’s the interdependency between profits and purpose that enable us to drive significant risk-adjusted returns with very little correlation to the broader market indices.”

“We have one mission: to create sustainable solutions for many of today’s societal problems by developing and investing in community-enriching real estate in densely-populated, underserved communities. We are trying to tackle some of society’s most daunting challenges— not through government or philanthropy, but by using market forces to create sustainable solutions,” he continues.

Turner has a genuine passion for using capitalism for good. He explains it this way, “If one wants to treat a problem in society, then government and philanthropy are fine. If one wants to cure, really cure a problem then one needs to harness market forces to create a sustainable solution. And that means making money for investors.”

On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at noon Eastern, Turner will join me here for a live discussion about the work he’s doing. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Turner Impact Capital:

Twitter: @turnerimpact

One of the nation’s largest social impact investment firms, Turner Impact Capital is on course to surpass $1.5 billion in investment potential to create sustainable solutions for many of today’s societal problems. Based in Los Angeles, the firm helps to address some of the country’s most pervasive social issues by developing and investing in community-enriching real estate in densely-populated, underserved communities, and seeks to generate superior risk-adjusted financial returns by investing in markets with large existing supply/demand mismatches of relevant community infrastructure (i.e. workforce housing, public schools and preventative care facilities) and a lack of institutional capital. The firm seeks “profits with a purpose,” recognizing the interdependence between the two and the central role that improving property and the lives of people can play in achieving strong returns. The Turner Impact Capital leadership team has over 100 years of relevant experience in facilitating more than $6 billion of socially impactful and environmentally responsible real estate investments over the past two decades.

Turner’s bio:

Bobby Turner is the CEO of Turner Impact Capital, a real estate investment management firm based in Los Angeles and focused on creating sustainable solutions for many of today’s societal problems through the development of impactful infrastructure. The firm is on course to surpass $1.5 billion in investment potential, making it one of the national’s largest social impact firms.

Over the past two decades, Mr. Turner has established himself as a pioneer in the area of social impact investing. As former Chairman, CEO and Co-Founding Partner of Canyon Capital Realty Advisors LLC, he oversaw a commercial real estate and mortgage asset portfolio totaling over $12 billion, and was responsible for launching several groundbreaking funds facilitating more than $6 billion in real estate investments that have helped define the “triple bottom line” investment movement.

Mr. Turner is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (B.S., Finance) where he serves on the University’s Undergraduate Executive Board of Advisors and where he has endowed a number of initiatives focused on social impact and triple bottom line investing. Today, these programs have grown to include student, faculty and institutional programs in such areas as social impact management and business ethics, financial scholarships for minority students and the creation of the Turner Social Impact Society and the Lauren and Bobby Turner Executive Speaker Series for Social Impact.

Mr. Turner is involved in many civic ventures, having served on the advisory boards of the Virginia Avenue Project, the Pacific Charter School Development Corporation, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (“ICIC”) and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. He has also been an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

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