Microfinance investment specialist names new boss

Lisa Hall is the new chief executive of Calvert Foundation; ‘at the intersection of capitals markets and economic justice’

Jan 7, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

The Calvert Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers low-yielding investments in the microfinance lending space, has appointed Lisa Hall as its new president and chief executive.

Ms. Hall, who joined the foundation as chief lending officer in 2005, fills a vacancy created in August by Shari Berenbach, who left to lead the microfinance division of the U.S. Agency of International Development.

As lending officer, Ms. Hall has increased the foundation’s lending portfolio to $190 million, from $76 million in 2005. In her new role, Ms. Hall will also be responsible for overseeing the management of a $500 million investment portfolio.

“As we went through a process of careful consideration, we concluded that the best candidate for this job came from within,” said Wayne Silby, the foundation’s co-founder and co-chairman of the board of the directors.

The Calvert Foundation, which was formed 15 years ago as an independent spinoff from Calvert Investments, raises money for organizations that make small loans designed to fight poverty both in the United States and abroad.

Individual investors commonly participate through the foundation’s community investment notes, which can be purchased for as little as $20 each and pay annual yields of between 0.5% and 2%, depending on the duration of the note.

“The community investment notes are for people who want to make a difference but not give the money away,” said foundation spokeswoman Carrie McGarry.

Corporate and institutional investors include Calvert Investments, Starbucks Corp. and Catholic Health Initiatives.

“Calvert Foundation’s mission to empower low-income communities by investing in them is one close to my heart,” Ms. Hall said. “As someone who has worked in the financial services sector for more than 25 years and who is also the daughter of a civil rights activist, I feel as though I personally sit, just as Calvert Foundation sits, uniquely at the intersection of capital markets and economic justice.”

Calvert Foundation is considered a pioneer among organizations that gather funds to be used for microfinance lending. The foundation currently has more than 7,000 investors.

About sixty percent of the loans generated by Calvert Foundation investments go to domestic recipients. The rest of the money goes to borrowers overseas.

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