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Impact Investing Report

Creating Positive Change Where It’s Needed Most

JULY 2024

Reimagining Impact: A New Perspective on Investing

Our impact investing initiative started in 2020 with an immediate and creative response to the economic fallout from the COVID crisis. Using funds from DAFs and supporting foundations, we provided nearly $5.6 million in loan capital to Hebrew Free Loan to increase their ability to provide essential financial lifelines in the local Jewish community. Instead of soliciting grants for Hebrew Free Loan, we pooled investments that are being paid back to Federation donor-directed funds over the five-year loan term.

Through this collective effort, we confirmed that mobilizing philanthropic funds for immediate impact through investing is a valuable and scalable option in our philanthropic toolbox. Funds can be loaned out to meet needs in the community and are then returned to be used again for philanthropic purposes, thus amplifying impact. Rather than sitting in traditional investment accounts, the funds are out working toward their intended charitable purpose aligned with the Jewish values that guide our work.

Impact investing at the Federation encourages charitable funds to be invested where social/environmental outcomes are the primary objective, and financial return is a secondary objective. While this may be a novel approach to investing, we see this as an exciting opportunity to increase our collective impact and meet community needs like never before. Our 2024 Impact Report illustrates the power of considering new ways to mobilize philanthropic resources.

Impact Investing at the Bay Area Jewish Federation

Impact investing can take many forms, all with the overarching goal of creating positive change while potentially earning some financial return. At the Federation, we put donated dollars to work through impact-first investments that fill critical capital gaps and are focused on solving pressing issues in our community. Our goal is to preserve your charitable funds while potentially earning a small return. Money invested is returned to donors at the end of the term to be used again for investing or grantmaking.

$51 Million at Work

From 2019 through 2023, Federation funds invested close to $51 million to 24 nonprofits and mission-driven financial institutions which focus on issues including affordable housing, supporting good jobs and economic development, access to quality education, and more. We offer curated opportunities to invest philanthropic capital in the San Franciso Bay Area, nationally, and in Israel. Our investments are at the forefront of fostering a stronger, more inclusive economy where traditional financial services fall short.

Investment by Region

Bay Area


California (excluding Bay Area)




(outside of California)


Impact Themes* in Our Portfolio


Financial Inclusion
Financial Inclusion
  • Access to fair and affordable financial services for underserved populations
  • Training for good jobs and economic development
  • Small business support in Israel through KIEDF & Ogen


Local Jewish Community Lending
Fostering a Thriving Jewish Community
  • Zero-interest loans across Northern California through Hebrew Free Loan
  • Building and renovating Jewish communal residences for students and families in the Bay Area


Affordable Quality Housing
Affordable Quality Housing
  • Residential stability with access to supportive services
  • Addressing the housing shortage in the Bay Area
  • Bridging the racial wealth gap for black homeowners


Climate Change Mitigation
Climate Change Mitigation
  • Renewable energy projects generating power, emission reductions, and cost savings
  • Investing in BIPOC business owners who lack financing as part of the transition to a green economy


Sustainable Agriculture
Sustainable Agriculture
  • Loans for land purchases made by California farmers
  • Improving financial health of farmers in the Bay Area foodshed
  • Increasing access to agricultural training and information


Capacity Building
Capacity Building
  • Expanding facilities and programmatic reach of local nonprofit organizations
  • Exclusively serving low-income residents in the Bay Area


Access to Quality Education
Access to Quality Education
  • Equitable access to education for “Dreamers”
  • Maintaining operations at The Brandeis School of San Francisco


Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
  • Improving water infrastructure and management
  • Access to clean drinking water for rural Californians


Quality Jobs
Quality Jobs
  • Job training leading to employment in a changing U.S. economy
  • Developer’s Institute bootcamp for immigrants to enter the Israeli Tech sector

*Impact Themes apart from “Local Jewish Community Lending” align with the IRIS+ Thematic Taxonomy, developed by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).

Collective Impact from Our Investees in 2023

% of all loans that were made to People of Color*

% of loans for low to moderate income beneficiaries*

% of all loans that were made to women*

jobs created or retained
students helped
homes created or preserved
$ 0
wealth generated
for underprivileged people
Reduction in carbon emissions
(in metric tons)**

Impact data is based on combined reporting provided by all mission-driven financial organizations in our portfolio. For more information about individual organizations and their respective impact, visit our Reports Library.

*Percentage calculated based on organizations reporting this information.

**The standard reporting method shown here is carbon emissions reduced over the lifetime of each clean energy project

Bringing Berkeley Bayit Back with a Federation Impact Loan

When a need in the community was identified, Barry Cohn was perfectly positioned to act on his longstanding commitment to Jewish leadership in the Bay Area. As a student at UC Berkeley, Barry was a founding member of the Berkeley Bayit — a Jewish communal living house on the campus that was established in the spring of 1980. Barry described the original Bayit ethos, “We structured ourselves kind of in line with the kibbutz style. Everybody had equal say, and everybody took responsibility for all the parts of the functioning of the house and the design and organization of the house and advancement of its purpose.”

While that vision remains strong, the historic house was in dire need of seismic upgrades and remodeling. Through his leadership roles on the Board of Directors at both the Federation and the Berkeley Bayit, Barry worked to implement his vision for utilizing Federation donor-directed funds for community projects. By securing a low-cost Federation impact loan and structuring a deal, we mobilized funds that were otherwise sitting in investments. This proved to be an innovative approach to community resource management.

In the past year, the Bayit has been significantly transformed. With the help of a capital campaign, the Bayitniks raised an impressive $565K for the project — with a $765K Federation loan covering the remaining renovation costs. Today, the house boasts seismic safety upgrades, new plumbing and electrical wiring, modern appliances, a revamped kitchen equipped to accommodate kosher practices, and new bathrooms.

The rededication event in June was a milestone for Berkeley Bayit, marking the culmination of a collective effort that epitomized the spirit of community collaboration. The historic and inclusive sanctuary will once again welcome Jewish students for the fall 2024 semester. Thanks to Barry’s efforts and his work with the Federation, Berkeley Bayit will continue to be a vibrant center of the Jewish campus community for decades to come.

Investing in Change: CNote’s CEO and Her Mission to Close the Wealth Gap

Catherine Berman’s career has been profoundly influenced by her family’s dedication to tikkun olam. Growing up in Southern California with an Ashkenazi father and a Sephardi mother, she was deeply rooted in Jewish traditions from an early age. These values inspired her journey to becoming the co-founder and CEO of CNote, an innovative platform designed to facilitate investments in the economic prosperity of financially underserved communities across America. 

As a child, Catherine attended preschool and summer camp at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and frequently joined her parents in local volunteer work, assisting elders with household tasks and delivering meals. These formative experiences ingrained in her a deep commitment to helping others, both within and beyond the Jewish community.

During her early career in finance, Catherine saw numerous financial innovations designed to further enrich the wealthiest 1%. Motivated by the Jewish teaching, “If not now, when? If not me, who?”, she felt compelled to take action. Leaving traditional finance behind, she founded CNote to prove that financial innovation can be a powerful tool for closing the wealth gap, rather than widening it.

Since its inception in 2017, CNote loans have created or retained 10,000 small business jobs and generated 6,000 new affordable housing units, all while allowing investors to earn interest on their deposits. The Federation has invested nearly $6 million with CNote for impact nationwide.

Today, Catherine, her husband Zack, and their two children are dedicated to continuing the traditions she cherished in her youth. They host neighborhood events that foster connections between their Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Within the Jewish community, the family is actively involved with Temple Sinai and Camp Tawonga. 

Catherine’s work at CNote reflects a lifelong commitment to tzedek (pursuing justice). For Catherine, the link between her Jewish values and her work in financial inclusion is clear. She invites you to join her.

Thanking Our Generous Investors

We express our gratitude to all of the participants in our Impact Investing program to date.

Agger Fund
Aperture Fund
Arnheim Family Philanthropic Fund
Aron-Dine Family Fund
David Becker and Ann Peckenpaugh Becker Family Fund
Behar Family Fund
Valli Benesch and Bob Tandler Philanthropic Fund
Berelson Family Philanthropic Fund
Berler Family Philanthropic Fund
The Blackstone Brody Philanthropic Fund
Block Family Charitable Fund
Josh Breuner Philanthropic Fund
Brill Family B Philanthropic Fund
Lynn Brinton and Daniel E. Cohn Philanthropic Fund
Marc and Ellen Brown Family Philanthropic Fund
Bulwik Family Philanthropic Fund
Madeline Chaleff and David Arfin Family Philanthropic Fund
Chesed Philanthropic Fund
Rabbi Mark Cohn & Rabbi Amy Wallk Fund
Denise Beth Cohn Fund
Wendy Cohn Feldman Family Fund
Carla and David Crane Foundation
Eskenazi Family Philanthropic Fund
Exceptional Judaica Educator’s Fund
Richard Fiedotin Philanthropic Fund
Morton and Amy Friedkin Supporting Foundation
Friend Family Philanthropic Fund
Ganz Family Philanthropic Fund
GoldKatz Family Fund
Grossman/Gerard Family Philanthropic Fund
Shelley and John Hebert Philanthropic Fund
Heeger Brothers’ Fund
James Heeger and Daryl Messinger Philanthropic Fund
Hershey Baer Fund
Stephen and Sonya Hurst Philanthropic Fund
Inspiration Fund
Frederick J. Isaac Philanthropic Fund
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

JL Charitable Fund
Richard M. Kaplan and Susan L. Kaplan Philanthropic Fund
Kessler Family Foundation
King Family Fund
Michelle & Sue Kletter Family Fund
Joshua and Siobhan Korman Philanthropic Fund
Laura and Gary Lauder Philanthropic Fund
Melisse Leib Philanthropic Fund
Lenvin Fund
Leslie Philanthropic Fund
Joseph J. Levin Philanthropic Fund
Libitzky Family Foundation
Libitzky Family Foundation Fund
Linker Family Philanthropic Fund
Connie and Bob Lurie Philanthropic Fund
Alexander M. & June L. Maisin Foundation
Dena Maple Philanthropic Fund
Miller Family Fund
Jeanne Miller Giving Fund
Moldaw Philanthropic Fund
Susan Moldaw Philanthropic Fund
Gale Mondry and Bruce Cohen Philanthropic Fund
Sandy Monteko-Sherman Fund
Moss Family Charitable Fund
Robert and Jan Newman Philanthropic Fund
The Opaline Fund
Brian & Karen Perlman Philanthropic Fund
Julia and David Popowitz Philanthropic Fund
The Irving and Varda Rabin Foundation
David Rak and Oren Henry Family Fund
Randall-Musser Family Fund
Robbins Family Philanthropic Fund
Roland-Goldberg Philanthropic Fund
Ronen Family Fund
Rothenberg Family Philanthropic Fund
Ruach Philanthropic Fund
Rubin Family Philanthropic Fund
Rob and Eileen Ruby Philanthropic Fund

Nancy and Ken Rudin Philanthropic Fund
Harry and Carol Saal Family Fund
Jaclyn and Daniel Safier Family Fund
Ellen and Gerald Saliman Philanthropic Fund
Sarnat-Hoffman Philanthropic Fund
Sarosi-Kanter Family Fund
David Saxe Philanthropic Fund
Jim and Emily Scheinman Family Philanthropic Fund
Mark Schneiderman and Adrian Hill Family Fund
Schwartzman Family Endowment Fund
Gary and Sue Schwartzman Family Tzedakah Fund
Sebago Philanthropic Fund
Gary and Dana Shapiro Philanthropic Fund
SheBeSki Fund
Stahl Family Fund
Stamper Family Philanthropic Fund
Steirman Family Philanthropic Fund
Philip & Cynthia Strause Philanthropic Fund
Paul and Susan Sugarman Family Philanthropic Fund
Sun Family America Fund
KM Tandowsky Family Fund
Ingrid D. Tauber Philanthropic Fund
Taxy Family Fund
Tikvah Philanthropic Fund
Tresenfeld-Waldrup Philanthropic Fund
Trubowitch-Cohn Philanthropic Fund
Twin Oak Philanthropic Fund
H. and J. Ullman Philanthropic Fund
Ulman-Rubinstein Family Fund
Wachter Family Philanthropic Fund
Kevin L. Waldman Philanthropic Fund
Waldman Family Philanthropic Fund
Rory and Jamie Weinstein Family Fund
Sheldon and Rhoda Wolfe Family Philanthropic Fund
Diane and Howard Zack Philanthropic Fund
Zubaty Family Fund

Learn more about open loan opportunities and the power of impact lending.

Andrew Schneiderman
Senior Director, Impact Investing

Alan Brody
Manager, Impact Investing

Greg Neichin
Impact Investing Advisor
Managing Director, Ceniarth LLC