Impact investing is on the rise in the areas of art and culture, yet few are taking advantage of these opportunities. Recently, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) partnered with J.P Morgan to conduct a study to see where impact investors were placing their money. The arts and culture sector represented just 0.5% of those investments, even though these types of opportunities are gradually expanding. Over the next five years, Upstart Co-Lab expects impact investment opportunities in the arts and culture sector to expand to $1.5 billion.
The types of investments are limitless and encompass a variety of interests. For example, videogame developer E-Line Media partnered with the Iñupiat tribe in Alaska to develop a new educational game. The game will teach users about the tribe’s own culture and beliefs, as well as exploring the eco-friendly practices that the Iñupiat people employ in their day to day lives.
In one scenario, a young Iñupiat girl and a fox she adopted as a pet venture out into a fierce snow storm. Their mission is to discover what is keeping the storm from letting up. For effects, the video game incorporates traditional music from the tribe and shows aspects of the tribe’s real culture. The theme for the game is exploring the effects of global warming.
E-Line Media develops projects based on everything from environmentalism to civics, relying on philanthropic donations and contracts with the government, as well as encouraging the participation of impact investors.
Another company hoping to attract more impact investors is Elia. The Brooklyn, New York company focuses on projects helping the disabled and is currently developing a new alphabet to assist the blind. They hope native English speakers will find the new system easier to grasp than Braille. The system uses raised letters, instead of the traditional raised bumps, which Elia believes will be more recognizable. The new system is aimed at English speakers who were previously sighted and have more familiarity with the standard alphabet.
There are many more opportunities available for impact investors, enabling them to grow their money and simultaneously help others. From providing better access to education for women to the creation of eco-friendly fashion, the possibilities in arts and culture are limitless. Additionally, the growth impact investors see is often much more than they anticipate. While financial institutions and government agencies work on ways to cast these opportunities under a brighter light, those that take the time to seek out impact investing options in arts and culture can be among the first to capitalize on the growing trend.