In episode 14 of the Investing in Impact podcast, I speak with Liesel Pritzker Simmons & Ian Simmons, founders of Blue Haven Initiative, on using innovative impact investing to enhance competitive returns and positive social and environmental change.
Liesel Pritzker Simmons is Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative, where she oversees, as an investment strategist, a portfolio focused on holdings that generate competitive financial returns and address social and environmental challenges. The portfolio spans asset classes, from traditional equities and direct investments to philanthropic programs.
Liesel co-founded Blue Haven with her husband, Ian Simmons. Together, they systematically assessed their portfolios based on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria and financial performance. The restructured portfolios became the foundation of Blue Haven, one of the first family offices created with impact investing as its focus.
Liesel is also Co-Founder of IDP Foundation, a private Chicago-based foundation focused on achieving universal primary education. There, she helped create the IDP Rising Schools Program, which leverages microfinance networks to empower nearly 450 low-cost private schools—established and managed by local entrepreneurs—in some of the least-developed regions of the world.
Ian Simmons is Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative, where he oversees a portfolio focused on investments that generate competitive financial returns and address social and environmental challenges. This portfolio spans asset classes, including private and public equity, fixed income, direct investments, alternative investments and philanthropic programs.
Committed to initiatives and corporations that advance investing and strengthen democracy, Ian is the President of the Foundation for Civic Leadership and Chair of the Youth Engagement Fund. Ian serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, Social Finance, Issue One, Organizing for Action, the National Advisory Board for Public Service at Harvard College, and Karibu Homes, an affordable-housing company in Kenya.
Blue Haven Initiative IS One of the first family offices created with impact investing as its mission and focus, Blue Haven seeks market rates of financial return on its investments as well as maximum social and environmental impact. It applies a rigorous portfolio-management lens to for-profit and philanthropic capital with the goal of aligning financial performance and public benefit. With this approach, Blue Haven considers the nuanced ramifications of its investment choices while pursuing financial returns appropriate to each asset class or venture.
When investing, Blue Haven seeks to put capital to work in highly productive ways: helping mission-driven projects and companies achieve scale, supporting entrepreneurs whose innovations spur change, and partnering with other investors to accelerate economic progress. Active in frontier markets and in the United States, its in-house team and their advisors are dedicated to sourcing direct investments, conducting due diligence and managing its portfolio over time.
In addition to funding early-stage, innovative businesses that improve standards of living, create economic opportunity, and deliver products and services cleanly and efficiently to underserved communities, Blue Haven also invests in traditional asset classes through third-party investment managers.