Alliance “Get To Know Us” Spotlight: Raymond Guthrie, Head of Investments
Welcome to another episode of our Spotlight series where we highlight members of our new enterprise between CDC Small Business Finance and Capital Impact Partners.
Earlier this year we announced the formation of our exciting new enterprise that united Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance under a single strategy and leadership team.
We believe that in order to ensure that traditional and mainstream financial systems are equitably serving Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous communities to drive solutions that support economic mobility and wealth creation, we must think differently. This series is designed to introduce you to the many people who are working hard to drive change and create a powerful new voice for communities and small businesses.
On this Spotlight episode, meet Raymond Guthrie, the Head of Investments.
Raymond is responsible for directing the overall investment strategy and overseeing the team investing in social enterprises and investment funds to increase our impact in the communities we serve. Alongside our existing lending teams, Raymond’s investment team will help expand the continuum of capital solutions that our new enterprise can offer to communities.
Take a moment to watch the video or read the transcript below to learn more about what drew him to this organization, his role with our new enterprise, and some fun facts!
Q: What is your role?
A: My role within the Alliance is I’m head of investments. I lead the department that’s focused on investing into social entrepreneurs and business opportunities that generate positive returns and a positive impact. Where we fit within the overall spectrum of the work that we’re doing is that we fill a gap within the financial continuum of instruments that the Alliance offers.
Our group sits squarely in the middle and invests in entrepreneurs that could borrow from us, as well as the entrepreneurs that can move to facilities and acquire real estate within the communities that we’re lending to. Hopefully our group acts as a connective tissue between the legacy pillars of CDC Small Business Finance and Capital Impact Partners to create a more holistic, financial offering, that moves forward into new markets and new communities.
Q: What drew you to this organization?
A: What drew me to the organization is the emphasis for now, right? I think our country is in a remarkable point of time, and I think that there’s very few organizations that are as uniquely placed as the Alliance to drive the impact that we want to see in our country. I was really inspired by the great work that the two legacy organizations have done in the past. Then the two groups coming together and building an investment unit within that was something I couldn’t pass up and I’m really happy to join.
Q: Your role involves investing outwardly. Could you share more about that?
A: What we’re planning to do through the investment groups is invest in social entrepreneurs. That includes entrepreneurs that are building businesses that both positively impact the community and will also generate positive financial return. We’ll be using a bevy of different financial instruments that are unique, but also tailored to the entrepreneurs in the community who can drive positive impact and create positive returns for the organization.
Q: How do you convince someone of the value of social impact investing?
A: I think more and more people realize just creating a profit and not worrying about the negative externalities of what the company’s doing is problematic for our country. Look at the environment. You can look at the inequities in our country and realize that corporations and businesses have a responsibility, not just for the profits that they make to their shareholders, but also for the people around them that they impact in the communities.
Investors shouldn’t worry about their finances, but focus on if the money going to those companies are generating a positive outcome. Because you can’t hope for a positive future without putting your money where your mouth is.
Q: How did serving as a diplomat influence your life?
A: Living overseas in about 15 different countries and being immersed in the communities, taught me two really big, important things in my life. One, it made me really proud of our country. Our country’s doing a lot of really great remarkable work and helping other countries lift themselves up and create a more equitable world. The other thing I learned though, that stuck with me throughout my entire investing career, is that the people from the communities that live in those environments are the people best placed to actually drive impact. So investing in people from those communities that speak the language and understand the culture, you’re more likely to drive both a positive impact and positive returns.
Unfortunately, the way it works in the United States to even overseas in countries, in Africa, in Asia, the vast majority of resources come from factors outside of their communities. Then those factors come into the communities to try to ignite change. What we’re trying to do at capital impact partners, and what I’m trying to drive through our investment group, is to invest in the entrepreneurs from the communities to drive change within the community, for the community. If we’re successful, we can actually drive resources and change the flow of resources to people that are from the community as opposed to from outside.
Q: Who are some of your role models?
A: I am fortunate to have been to grow up with two remarkable parents who are my role models. But, my mother has been my north star. When people talk about what they’re trying to do, I often try to emulate my mother. She showed me not just what she did and how she treated our family, but also how she dedicated her life. She spent her entire life focusing on health inequities. So I grew up as a child working in programs and in federal prisons. She tracked and demonstrated the health impact of women and their children after they’d been incarcerated to demonstrate the disparities between different races and how that impacts the overall health of our country.
My father was an entrepreneur that built a business, so when I invest in entrepreneurs, I often see people like my father building businesses and trying to solve our problem as opposed to letting that problem slide by. It starts with my parents. Then secondly, my two kids. It’s easy to wake up every day in this work, knowing that hopefully the impact and the results that I’m doing are going to make the world a little bit more impactful and more equitable for them.
Q: You mentioned that you live in Dallas, Texas, so brisket beef ribs or pork?
A: I love smoked brisket. It’s a delicacy that I don’t know how I missed out on until I moved here and I’ll continue to need it.