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The Challenge Deliverable: The Prospectus

Two-page prospectuses must be submitted in February. The prospectus should outline a unique sustainable investment strategy. The judges and selection committees are familiar with the broad area of sustainable investing, so avoid overemphasizing general observations about this section of the market. 

All prospectuses are required to have the following elements. These elements are the essentials of a competitive entry. Please review carefully, as failure to include any of the following will significantly reduce your competitiveness.


  • 2-page maximum, no cover page, no identifying information


  • Investment thesis

  • Fund size, investment size, and investment criteria

  • Diagram of fund or instrument

  • Asset class and capital structure


  • Target geography

  • Size of addressable market

  • Estimate of scalability

​Financial Model

  • Fees and incentives

  • Target investor pool(s)

  • Due diligence process

  • Returns and cash flows

  • If model must require philanthropic capital or concessionary returns, include proposed path to market rate returns

  • Time horizon


  • Environmental or social impact thesis

  • Metrics to measure impact

Who should my prospectus target for investment?

Institutions seeking investment opportunities may include, but are not limited to:

  • University Endowments

  • Retirement and Pension Funds

  • Family Foundations

  • Family Offices

The proposal must be a fit for an institutional investor who is seeking:

  • Both competitive returns and positive social and/or environmental impact

  • Risk management that is commensurate with the target returns

  • Transparent performance metrics for both the financial and social return

  • Clear linkage between program outcomes and social impact

The institutions are open to multiple asset classes, including but not limited to:

  • Private equity/venture capital

  • Real assets

  • Public equities

  • Fixed income securities

  • Microfinance lending and investing

  • Private credit

  • Social impact bonds

Judging Criteria


Creativity & Financial Innovation
  • Has the team proposed an innovative investment vehicle that is designed to drive both returns and impact? We are looking for either:

    • An innovative financial structure or

    • A known investment approach applied creatively to a problem previously outside the scope or reach of a social or environmental challenge

  • What’s interesting about this project? Is it just like a dozen others or truly innovative?

  • Does the proposal have a unique capital structure, e.g., including different forms of capital, employing diverse types of institutional investors?

  • Does the proposal uncover new ways to drive returns, a new asset class, or a new cash flow or value stream?


Impact and scale
  • Does this provide a scalable solution that can mobilize sufficient capital and forge significant environmental or human impact?

  • Are there specific metrics for impact? Is the impact real and persistent?

  • Does the impact derived from the proposed approach stem from the financial levers rather than ancillary charitable remains?

  • Has the team demonstrated diligence in defining and projecting impact to be derived?


  • Does the investment thesis seem plausible?

  • Are there real sources of risk-adjusted market rate returns here? (even if considering a gestation period with concessionary returns)

  • Could you see institutional investors responding to and funding this?

  • Was the thesis thoroughly researched and is there strong evidence of financial depth that incorporates the overall economy?


Quality of due diligence and financials
  • How thorough and deep is the research on the thesis?

  • Do the returns and cash flow projections hold water? Has the team demonstrated strong financial logic and validity of key financial assumptions?

  • Have the key investment questions relating to returns, asset quality, underwriting, and risk management (both market-based and non-market) been identified and addressed?

  • Does the team have the skills needed to execute?  Have they defined the skills needed on the investment team?

  • Are the proposed fees and incentives reasonable?


  • Has the team been clear, compelling, and concise with their proposal?

  • For the final event: Have all team members participated in either the original presentation or Q&A?

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