This is where I got to at the end of using Instagramed white board thoughts followed by a twitter storm: Ejido Verde: regenerative supply chain, in a place the women made safe, that creates massive community wealth.

And this is how I got there, from earliest white board thoughts on the story elements, posted on instagram

Working on the Ejido Verde story @ Everbear Farm

It’s got a regenerative supply chain. This is a first: Indigenous ownership of a renewable resource used in a commodity supply chain without the expense of building a brand and extracting a premium, as with chocolate, quinoa, as we had to do with Alter Eco.

Ejido Verde story streams; we have too many @ Everbear Farm

To the corporates and B Corps, defining a regenerative supply chain

To gender lens investors: Dona Chepa made it safe to plant resin orchards for the community to do business at scale.

The social enterprise, business creating justice story:12,000 jobs created, with wages going up 5x over the existing subsistence farming, the indigenous Patamban community of 6,000 people earning $48 million USD over 30 years.

The ecosystem services/climate change mitigation story.

The Ejido Verde twitter storm came next; a public exploration seeing if we could focus mostly on the supply chain, with a Sustainable Brands audience audience.

First tweet: Ejido Verde is reducing climate change with a regenerative supply chain. @neighborecon international

Second: Ejido Verde’s story resonates w greening supply chain. Corporates &B Corps. There is no other industrial commodity supply chain like this.

Third :The regenerative, community wealth creating supply chain story may be the one for Ejido Verde. I’m going2 act like it is.

Fourth, to Koann: We need 2 talk about Ejido Verde. You haven’t seen a supply chain like this.#ShaunPaul

Fifth: Then came the one tweet that go a retweet where Iused all three elements: Regenerative supply chain, in a place the women made safe, that creates massive community wealth.

Sixth: Reflecting on the process; it tuns out I can’t just talk about Ejido Verde’s regenerative supply chain.


I am working on Ejido Verde,  a regenerative economy business working with indigenous communities in Michoacan state in Mexico . I am helping my long time friend Shaun Paul, whose work with indigenous focused social enterprises and investment I have admired for years,  figure out how to tell the story to investors and partners.

I’m pretty jazzed about it. While I was there recently, we struck a deal with the indigenous community of Patamban (video) (they hold their land in common) that will increase the income of the people we hire 5x over subsistence farming.

We are providing livelihoods for 12,000 people with permanent jobs throughout the 12,000 hectare project. It should  bring in $49 million over 30 years to the six thousand people in Patamban, who are very poor, and should provide them income to let people move back home from the United States. The 12,000 hectares (a hectare is about two acres)  will sequester more than six million tons of carbon, increase ground water retention and quality and other ecosystem services. They are already seeing more coyotes and deer and hearing more birds in 2,400 hectares we have already planted. We don’t have to market the product; there is overwhelming demand by local resin refineries owned by a local family that has had a trusted relationship with local indigenous communities for more than  80 years.

Overall, indigenous communities should make $1billion for tapping the resin of their pine trees on 12,000 hectares over 30 years. Tapping resin is something they’ve done for thousands of years, but we are expanding production per acre ten fold of several varieties of local pine, while intercropping with local medicinals like Arnica and blueberries. The project will help retain community identity, languages and knowledge. We think it will bring prosperity, hope and safety.

I don’t think there is another industrial commodity supply chain where the indigenous communities retain ownership of the resource and make such a fair share of the income; with coffee, chocolate and quinoa you have to build a brand to extract a premium. This is simpler and easier but does the same thing; pays the community a fair price for the value of their renewable resource. This method is replicable anywhere there is subsistence farming, degraded but not eroded land that is owned publicly or by communities that have good governance; places like Mozambique and other places in East and Southern Africa.  The video is only about three minutes long.

I envision the board of Neighborhood Economics game of inclusive wealth creation playing something like the Settlers of Catan, communities ecosystems and the resources that enable them to thrive. (We were creating a community wealth tool kit but a funder suggested we make it a game, and we think that’s a great idea).

Abundance of Catan, unlike Settlers of Catan, and unlike our current economy will not be about scarcity managed by the elites for their benefit. The creation of inclusive wealth is the goal of the Game. Game play will start not by appealing to city hall or Washington for change, but by enabling entrepreneurs to create wealth in each neighborhood in the city; starting with the neighborhoods in the most marginalized neighborhoods.

They are the most costly and dependent on services from outside their neighborhood. Creating job-creating businesses inside that neighborhood, seeing businesses move out of the kitchen into storefronts selling food, or other things local people need will create a positive ripple effect on the rest of the city’s neighborhoods, raising property values, lowering policing and social service costs and increasing the health of the entire community and the community’s wealth itself. Luckily a cadre of exceptional accelerators in places like Oakland, Cincinnati are showing how that can happen. We have a new financial instrument to enable people to invest risk free at above market rates in a CD in those businesses in their neighborhoods.

I expect a trademark infringement letter could be a branding event in two years, if things go right, and we have the community on our side it could be huge and foundational. I am making this game to outline the system I think should exist, that starts in the poorest neighborhoods and the most dependent. Finding the entrepreneurs there, creating the conditions for them to thrive and sell, hiring two or three employees, sometimes one will come along that has higher ambitions. But the bread and butter of the transformative process is enabling lifestyle businesses, some that don’t go full time even, to become enough additional income to enable a family to stay in a gentrifying area. Helping people remain in their neighborhoods as it becomes more affluent and new people come in is a goal that will create long term wealth in the whole community.

Wealth being created in every neighborhood is the focus of the game. And wealth creates health and businesses that enable community health start to crop up as the people with more buying power, exercise their economic power, and become a market people start building to serve. Poverty Stoplight is key to this level of the game; documenting demand and what people are willing to work on to change, awt the household level. That creates incredible insight into demand of people who have more money to spend.

An interview with Next Billion.

NB Talk about the Good Capital Project: What’s it about and why are you launching it now? 


Kevin Jones: To understand why the market is ready for the Good Capital Project now, you have to go back to why SOCAP then. In 2008, SOCAP was built to solve a problem. It was a problem that I had and that all the other early pioneers had, as we tried to launch the first venture capital funds to invest in social enterprise.


Everybody hated our core concept. The idea that you could invest with the goals of philanthropy, but with a rigorous for-profit, early stage, venture fund to help promising social enterprises expand was resisted to the point that three different billionaires ordered us out of their offices; our idea was one they did not want to be around and, they said, it even made them hurt physically.


I’d been successful in business several times before, and in my earlier life, I would have changed my product to one that they liked, that didn’t make them hurt when they thought about it. But I decided I wanted to build a business right there, in the space they said could not exist, between giving and investing. SOCAP was built to overcome two pocket thinking; that I invest and only think about how much money I am putting in my pocket. And then I put some in another pocket and do good with it. We wanted those pockets to open up to each other, to bring in investment into a space that at the time only had philanthropy or aid.


Our hypothesis was, they can’t be around the idea of a market that values meaning, the stuff that matters, when they are thinking abstractly about their asset classes and returns. When they see the companies that we and others want to invest in, they will get out of their heads and want to get involved in the sector. To sell our product, we had to build a market, they had to think differently to buy anything in that market, spit on Milton Friedman’s grave and say fiduciary responsibility is not my only responsibility (this was before B-Corp – they are solving that on a company by company basis, allowing you to work for stakeholders not just shareholders). To be an impact investor you say it’s ok to invest in all of us and for myself at the same time, that is what impact investing is.


And to get SOCAP off the ground we had to have people realize they needed a market. What they had was a series of closed door summits, with the right people in the room and nothing moving then or afterward.


We were disrupting the dominant paradigm that existed around convening; they only wanted the right people in the room. We wanted the barbarian to meet the byzantine and find a way to become unlikely allies. And we thought that the vitality of that market, like an intersection of caravans at an oasis, would be appealing and augment the summit model. We would find a place between the silos and their tents where they met valuable strangers who became unlikely allies. We sold ourselves as the space between where you might find unlikely allies, and hear voices you sometimes don’t hear in your typical meetings, hear new ideas, see experiments.


That part of the plan worked nearly flawlessly; by emphasizing bringing in new groups who needed to be taken seriously. From indigenous entrepreneurs and investors, to African American initiatives focused on using entrepreneurship and innovative financial products to begin erasing the racial wealth gap, to, now, development agencies more than before. We keep SOCAP on the edge of the newest innovations by finding the new valuable strangers who could become unlikely allies.


That has made SOCAP the place where people come to get partnerships done and deals done or advanced, because all the people you need to see are going to be here.


And I think our abundant kind of vibe that people find attractive, the energy at SOCAP, comes from us keeping the heart at the table, continually asking why it is we are doing it, and whether or when we are sacrificing something more than we are comfortable with to make the kinds of returns we came in expecting. We are always bringing in a new group of outsiders into the room with the powerful and trying to build relationships there.


But sometimes you need a bit more order, a way to fit all the pieces together, more like a supply chain or a collaborative system for the capital providers to work together than a Mideast bazaar like SOCAP. That’s what the Good Capital Project is designed to do. Starting with a design session on June 19th, Juneteenth, in New York at a really cool place to do interactive sessions, we will launch a two-year exploration of all the sources of capital that want to connect to impact investing.


We want to be at the intersections to help the traffic flow between the various silos that want to connect to impact investing, to fit it in to what they are already doing. For example, last month we attended a convening in Armenia with the UNDP, US AID, the IFC and the Finnish and Malaysian sovereign funds, among others. On the other side were some impact investors trying to explain a problem to all these development players who want to launch regional impact funds. One of those investors and I have written a piece to explain to the development organizations that they need to figure out when to use subsidies, and when not to, if they want to accepted as good partners. That dialogue is ongoing; they will be in the room where it happens June 19th.


They need to learn to syndicate and apply a certain kind of capital at the right time for all the other players in the ecosystem. They have not had to think of their impact or the unintended consequences of their capital before. It’s news to some groups how a subsidy might distort a market when the market, for example, cook stoves in India, is one where the market has the answer after subsidies earlier in its evolution established the playing field the market arose to fulfill. Now a new major aid organization has decided to flood the Indian market with a stove it likes, with heavy subsidies. That could destroy a fragile market where risk taking impact investors have taken significant bets.


In similar fashion, a blog series across the taxonomy of funders is in the works. For example, family offices meet impact, CDFI’s meet impact, angel networks meet impact, faith based investors meet impact, anchor institutions meet impact, sovereign funds meet impact, etc… That should help us flesh out the taxonomy, blockages to overcome and bridges needed at each intersection of something meets impact.


People from international development organizations that put out billions in aid will be coming June 19th, meeting with impact investors, but the huge story, of course is that we are bringing in Wall Street. Demand is driving Wall Street to want to figure out how plug in to impact, which requires using syndication to reach scale.


But this big intersection, Wall Street meets impact, is not happening in a vacuum, there will be other stakeholders there, too, development, family offices, local investors, investors from marginalized communities in the United States each of whom needs to be able to plug in to meet the demand coming from the customers of the big Wall Street banks and financial houses.


What needs to happen of course, is that the impact market needs to move into the phase of coordination; the period in a markets maturity when exchanges can start to thrive. This the era in our industrial history when railroads standardized their gauges so that commerce and people could flow. The coordination stage of a market is when you get past one off cooperation partnerships and initiatives and start linking systems.


The Good Capital Project hopes to provide content sessions with other global events in our orbit, Sankalp Africa, Sankalp India and Sankalp Indonesia (we’ve shared content for years and have worked well together). We hope to pop up next year during the Skoll Forum; inside the gate if we make the cut, or at Marmalade if we don’t, so that this dialogue around how to make all the different capital players link up can be carried forward, at other convenings and online.


We think this is the dialogue to be having now. We know what to do, it’s time to figure out how to do it together, to get over ourselves and get it done. We will be developing an online community and content platform as demand and sponsorship intersect.


Right now, I view the funders and potential funders in each sector as often several standalone hydraulic systems. International development organizations don’t syndicate, don’t link the plumbing up, of their hydraulic capital flows, with impact investors. We want that plumbing, knowing when to apply which kind of capital now, to be there without having to do a one-off negotiation and write a paper and get people discussing the idea of development agencies doing a market impact report before they deploying a subsidy. Once the dialogue is over, the subsidy question becomes more like a subsidy valve a development organization would know when to turn on and when to shut off. Sometimes subsidies are great. At other points in a market’s development, subsidies distort the market and put more risk on high risk early stage institutional impact capital than they can bear.


We will replicate that kind of engagement at every intersection. Markets form in conversation, as you learn to trust an unlikely ally and rely on each other. SOCAP provides the basis for that. The Good Capital Project is bringing those market forming conversations to the intersections where each flavor or language of capital meets impact. The development organizations, the IDO’s in Central Asia are really innovative and that region is allowed by the system to be innovative. But they have not had to think as if they were a member of a syndicate, and manage their impact on their partners.


Other sectors have their own issues; Juliana Balandina- Jaquier has just finished a really useful step-by-step handbook for talking to family offices about impact investing, with a lot of understanding about their issues integrating with impact investing. We are focusing on intersections like those, and finding what translations, or handbooks, or new protocols can accelerate the flow of capital across that particular divide; what kind of bridge is needed. We are looking at the racial wealth gap and investment initiatives addressing that, among others.


So that’s why SOCAP then and why the Good Capital Project now. This is a natural phase of a market’s evolution; into coordinating, setting up plumbing, replicating what works, with culturally literate local adaption as a way to scale.

Movements happen when people who thought they were alone discover valuable strangers who become unlikely allies. I am flying to Armenia tomorrow to keynote the Impact Investing for Development summit convened by UN development program, bringing together development agencies, sovereign funds from the Nordics, eastern European and middle eastern impact investors to figure out how to work seriously with impact investors, because the reality of climate change and societal risk makes them realize public funds and philanthropic funds are not enough to handle the task.

At the same time, we at SOCAP are convening a similar session in June in Manhattan to see what it will take to integrate impact investing with Wall Street at scale. The Good Capital Project is a two year online mapping project that will convene again at SOCAP in San Francisco in October, and on other event platforms as the participants require. Neither group knows the other; SOCAP’s secret sauce is bringing the people out of their tents at the oasis; valuable strangers discovering they can be unlikely allies. This is right up our alley.


BTW please join us for 

Neighborhood Economics DC, May 23-24, connecting the ecosystem for inclusive wealth creation

Here are other things you can do:

This Amazon wish list was compiled by volunteers on site. It’s things they need to get through the winter; heaters, cots, night lights, video cameras, etc. It goes directly there.

Here are other things. In AVL Regeneration furniture store is a collection point for things like this: we’re taking things our family gathered yesterday there today:

PO BOX 298

Lolly Bee’s Facebook page seems to be being updated most frequently.

They still need propane in all size containers, wood stoves/pot belly stoves (in a barrel), chainsaws,wood splitters, axes, batteries, strong tent stakes in T shape, other tools


military tents 

canvas tents

cots! because we need to get people sleeping off of the ground as it gets colder

zero degree sleeping bags

Wool Blankets! Heavy warm blankets we need those not comforters or lightweight thin ones

can we get a wifi hotspot out here? Im not sure about the technology but that would be amazing or some way to get more service

emergen c packets


gloves not mittens,

winter Boots! of all sizes

small heaters ideally “buddy heaters” because they turn off if there is carbon monoxide which is the danger of using them in small spaces

standing heaters like what they have in restaurants, for the main fire area, could be hooked up to generator-can always use more of those

could we get a giant dome to put over that whole central area? its really important that we be able to still gather together even when its cold and not all huddle up in our own spaces, one idea is called a “pull barn”…

If you are thinking of going,read the things on procedures, etc. compiled with camp elders.


Why do the hundreds of impact investors who come to SOCAP invest more in social enterprise solutions focused on Africa and Africans than in African Americans? That’s the question that Konda Mason, co founder of Impact Hub Oakland asked me three years ago.

We had created the social capital markets conference, the market at the intersection of money and meaning and it seemed to be a pretty big success. SOCAP had become the largest conference in its sector, impact investing and social enterprise. We had more than 2,000 attend from more than 60 countries, connecting investors with for profit businesses built not to just be good businesses, but to make money doing good, addressing a particular problem.

Our method of convening, bridging silos and find unlikely allies, had been the secret for our success. But Konda pointed out a problem I had not noticed. She was right. At that year’s SOCAP, there were more than four times as many startups working in Africa than with or led by African Americans. I found with a quick look that African focused startups were also far more likely to get funding.

At first, we convened panels of black and white investors and entrepreneurs pointing out the discrepancy. People might have been slightly embarrassed, but nothing changed. So I started looking for something that could help impact investors SOCAP take action, something everyone could do that would be cheap, easy and safe.

 Jessica Norwood, of Emerge Change, both a Balle and Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow who runs a networks of savings circles around Mobile, pointed out the key Donella Meadows systemic intervention point; what Bucky Fuller would call a trim tab; the small lever to nudge that makes the big ocean liner change directions . It was the friends and family gap.At the earliest stage, entrepreneurs get their funding from their friends and family; uncles and cousins who have seen that this one is one to bet on. Friends and family funding is not institutional funding, it’s before angel investors, before seed stage . It’s the idea stage, take a chance on the person, character based lending. It needs a long payback at low interest rates; the kind of deal your uncle gives you to raise the $15-30,000 the census bureau says it takes, on average, for a successful launch.

 The problem, Jessica pointed out, is that African American families have on average $11,000 in assets while white families have $144,000. The result, is that the many promising African American entrepreneurs can’t get the money to launch. The Runway Project does not focus on why that is the case, though that’s important. Our goal it give the entrepreneurs and small business owners the runway through friends and family level of funding.

Jessica and I called our collaboration the Runway Project, because it’s not a pilot problem, it’s a runway problem.  All of our partners agree that gap exists, but most were working a level above, with businesses that could take out a business loan, from a mission focused CDFI.

What we came up with is pretty sweet: we have a solution for one piece of the legacy of structural racism that will give above market returns to investors.

Working with we have a new Runway Project CD designed to bridge the friends and family gap that is launching at Neighborhood Economics preday at SOCAP Sept 13.

 Investors will get above market returns on their savings, supporting investment  in a range of startups coming out of the a range of accelerators working with under represented entrepreneurs at the Impact Hub Oakland in the pilot, with Konda Mason the point person.

Investors can also give to the loan loss reserve if they chose, or do both; get above market returns at zero risk and give at the same time. We think that may be our most important innovation; helping people act their way into a new of thinking, becoming blended value investors. This is an epiphany engine wrapped in a that comes wrapped with more money and zero risk.

Konda and her Impact Hub co founders Lisa Chacon and Ashara Ekandayo and their team will lead community engagement. To reach white allies with a new story, we plan to replicate the ally engagement strategy we used back in the 90’s when my wife led Jackson Mississippi’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter to be the country’s largest, building more than 300 homes.

The tactic is simple; we went to every civic club, every Sunday school and synagogue and mosque accompanies by a homeowner who had put in 500 hours of sweat equity, to tell their story. Because they were sweating alongside people who were lifting themselves up, rather than being asked for a handout, those groups rushed to gather their members to build houses. We had insurance defense law firms competing with each other building houses alongside homeowners in Jackson’s poorest neighborhood. 

You tell a new story about self reliance and create a bridge of empathy that causes money and resources to flow in new ways. Because the entrepreneurs will be themselves buying CD’s to fund their business, the investors we reach will be co investing with the businesses; just like in Habitat, working alongside each other, this time watching a business build.

I think that ally engagement strategy; offering a product that makes more money back than Wells Fargo or Citi and helps people in their community help themselves can be really attractive. The money could go to be a fancy cake baker who expanded to have a storefront, a commercial oven and a half time employee. Affluent investors will be investing at above market rate return into people they have perhaps thought of as dependent. That will change the narrative in every city where it is done.

 The CD can be replicated anywhere, but we think it works best when its deployed by a team like Impact Hub Oakland with deep community credibility and engagement, what David Erickson of the Fed calls a community quarterback several accelerators working with micro businesses and startups, and other capacity providers. We have also secured relationships with follow on funding providers that are promising.