The stories of Catholic Impact page is designed to help readers better understand how to implement Catholic Impact Investment in their own portfolio by learning from those institutions or individuals that are that have committed to exploring, implementing, or are actively deploying Catholic Impact Investments. In addition to profiles of different Catholic Institutions, we will also feature relevant stories and updates that give insight to the broader field of Catholic Impact Investment.
The following story details the Impact Investment Journey of Catholic Relief Services (“CRS”) as told by Beth Collins, Director of Impact Investing at CRS and Pat Dinneen, a Board Member of CRS and a long-time advocate for impact investing globally. In its role as a humanitarian aid organization with investment assets, CRS is uniquely positioned both to source and invest in Catholic-Values aligned Impact Investment initiatives. In addition to direct efforts, CRS has been able to leverage its status as a prominent organization in the Catholic community to galvanize broader conversation about the role of Catholic Impact Investment, including through co-hosting two conferences at the Vatican. Read more about CRS’s story below.
Catholic Relief Service's Journey
Catholic Relief Services (“CRS”) recognizes that Impact Investing presents an incredible opportunity to bring further innovation, scale and sustainable solutions to programs that lift the poor out of poverty. Since its founding in 1943, CRS has evolved into an international humanitarian organization of more than 5,000 people, that alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries. CRS serves over 100 million people annually, focusing especially on Agricultural Livelihoods, Health, and Emergency Response and Recovery. CRS is the official humanitarian aid agency of the USCCB. For more information, go to: www.crs.org.
In 2013, the President of CRS initiated a dialogue about Impact Investing. Ideas were invited from multiple sources, internally and externally, with the objective of determining the relevance of Impact Investing for the mission of CRS (and the Catholic Church) and to explore possible roles for CRS. At the suggestion of Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace (now the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development), CRS and the PCJP convened the first Vatican Impact Investing Conference in 2014, in partnership with the University of Notre Dame (UND). The meeting brought together Impact Investing leaders from around the world to engage leaders of Catholic institutions on how private capital could be catalyzed to advance integral human development, especially for the poorest of the poor. CRS’ impact investing work is guided by Pope Francis’ encyclical Evangelii Gaudium (2014) and his words from the conference, “It is important that ethics once again play its due part in the world of finance and that markets serve the interests of peoples and the common good of humanity.”
Following the 2014 Vatican Conference, CRS engaged in multiple activities to advance Impact Investing within CRS and the Catholic Church...