In honor of Earth Day

After finishing up as Finance Committee and Board Chair of the Citizens League I had decided not to serve on any more nonprofit boards. As much as I love the work, after continuous Board service since 1994 I figured I’d find another outlet for my volunteer time.

Then I had lunch with Michael Noble, Executive Director at Fresh Energy. Introduced by our mutual friend and Carleton classmate Elizabeth McGeveran, I think we each thought it was just a get-to-know-you meeting. I’ve always been passionate about the environment, having grown up in the big woods of Minnetonka (that’s a story for another time). Studying public policy at Harvard Kennedy School showed me how important policy is in truly addressing climate change. I was so inspired listening to Michael talk about Fresh Energy’s impressive track record.

I have to admit I was one of those who had kind of retreated into helpless despair when it came to climate change. The problem is so big and we humans seem so reluctant to change our habits, our companies continue to pollute, and our government leaders are timid, at best. 

Joining the Fresh Energy Board changed all that. I’ve met amazing people like Deepinder Singh, founder and CEO of 75f, making our existing buildings “smart”, more comfortable and energy efficient at the same time. I met Kristel Porter, Executive Director of MN Renewable Now, connecting underserved residents to renewable energy. I also got to meet amazing staff like Anjali Bains, Lead Director Energy Access & Equity and Sarah Clark, Deputy Executive Director. What can I say, now I’m hooked.

Lately some of the attendees at our monthly Impact Investing Roundtable asked me about volunteering and I have to say, please do consider Board service. It’s open to everyone and all of the thousands of nonprofit organizations need a Board of Directors. If you’re not sure what’s involved, you can take a class through Propel for Nonprofits. Here are my quick tips:

  • Figure out what cause you’re passionate about and look at Smart Givers for reputable nonprofit organizations (read our Cogent Principal, Terri Barreiro’s blog on the topic Four Steps to Donate Like an Investor
  • Get to know these organizations by volunteering
  • Consider a financial donation and get your friends/ family involved (do the same for their causes). Even small amounts of money make a big difference.

I’d love to hear your stories about Board service. Tweet me your thoughts @susan_hammel or email.

Susan serves on three boards: Fresh Energy, Carleton Careers Advisory Board, and the Trillium Family Foundation. She also is the volunteer President of the MN Alumnae Network of Harvard Women. Her previous boards include Pro Mujer, Children’s Home Society (was Family Services), St. Paul Arts Partnership, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Asian American LEAD, Arts Council of Fairfax County, NPH USA, Citizens League, Sunrise Banks and the Minnetonka Yacht Club.

Susan Hammel Bio:  As a philosophy major who went to Wall Street, Susan Hammel translates between passionate social changemakers and expert accountants.  In her role as President and Founder of Cogent Consulting Inc., Susan serves as MCF Executive in Residence for impact investing and led the charge to map the Twin Cities impact investing ecosystem. As a native Minnesotan, Susan is dedicated to the entire community and brings professional experience from New York, Washington DC and Chicago to the region. 

As we emerge cautiously from our pandemic caves, it’s wonderful to be out with humans again, at least a little bit. Then again Zoom is part of our workplace culture now and I’m grateful for the technology, as is our Cogent principal, Terri Barreiro, who I enjoy seeing weekly at Impact Hub MSP, which she co-founded with Katie Kalkman. Lately, I have had the good fortune to be spending time with talented Black entrepreneurs and they give me a lot of hope for our communities: people like Ian Alexander, Anisha Murphy, and Karine Blanc. You’ll note that many of the people leading this work are women and in honor of Women’s History Month, I also want to give a shout to someone I’ve admired for years: the late great Madeline Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. 

It’s got me thinking about the suspicion many in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors have regarding the for-profit sector. Skepticism and pointed questions are good but it is possible that the for-profit sector will develop sustainable, scalable solutions to our pressing challenges: racial justice, gender equality, climate change, economic opportunity for all, to name a few. My advice–look beyond someone’s tax status and focus on the work they’re doing. If you’re not sure of a for-profit entrepreneur’s motives, see if they are a Public Benefit Corporation, like Cogent and/or B-Lab certified like one of my favorites: Binary Bridge founded by Lori Most, bringing mobile health technology to places around the world.

After 20 years as a mission-driven business, Cogent Consulting converted to a Specific Benefit Corporation on December 18th, 2018. We are an independent, strategic, financial, and impact investing firm empowering purpose-driven organizations.

We work with a diverse set of mission-driven investors and entrepreneurs through evidence-based and actionable advice. Our work serves foundations, corporations, social entrepreneurs, and place-based ecosystems. Our clients in 2021 included Allina Health, Barra Foundation, Beyond Celiac, Blandin Foundation, Bush Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, First Children’s Finance, gener8tor, Local Initiative Support Corporation Twin Cities and Duluth, Marbrook Foundation, Minnesota Council of Foundations, New Mexico Association of Grantmakers and several others. Please see our new website for more information,

Pursuant to Section 304A.101 of the Minnesota Statutes, Cogent Consulting SBC pursues the following specific benefit purpose as listed in its articles:

To empower purpose-driven organizations that drive positive social impact in their communities.

Cogent Consulting, SBC accomplishes its specific benefit purpose with all of its clients and pro bono work.

This work included the following projects:

  1. Add knowledge to the field:
    ○ Cogent advised new clients in impact investing through educational workshops and our custom Strategic Portfolio Design process.
    ○ Cogent deepened its work on Opportunity Zones in Duluth and the Twin Cities by building on previous momentum and interest. This has led to further interest in social impact investing in the community going beyond the 2017 Jobs and Tax Act that created Opportunity Zones.

  1. Grow the field:
    ○ Engaged the field in learning dialogues: In 2021 Cogent strengthened the Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem, provided pro bono support to Impact Hub MSP, convened an active community of practice for professional impact investment advisors and individual investors and another group dedicated to measuring and reporting impact.
    ○ Designed and led the Minnesota Council on Foundations Integrated Capital Recovery Program which raised $44.7m for Minnesota CDFIs to address the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic and racial reckoning after George Floyd’s death.
    ○ Facilitated virtual discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field. Cogent Consulting facilitated the January 2021 Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem “Pathways Into the Field” and led a national discussion on expanding the presence of women and people of color in impact investing.
    ○ Convened the TCIIE again in a national conference: Build Forward Better in June 2021 to highlight underrepresented fund managers and entrepreneurs.
    ○ Shared knowledge through website blogs, and speaking engagements.
    ○ Expanded opportunities for women and people of color in Cogent’s work.

    Cogent continues to grow place-based impact investing in Philadelphia and New Mexico.
    ○ Cogent helped launch a place-based impact investing fund in New Mexico with the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers, modeled on the fund Cogent created for the Minnesota Council on Foundations.
    ○ In Philadelphia, Cogent is continuing to work with the Barra Foundation and their peers to help them develop their impact investing policies, strategy, and due diligence. Cogent supported the Philanthropy Network’s Mission Aligned Cohort in making their first collaborative impact investment into Thrive Village, led by Ujima Developers.

  1. Educate About Impact Investing: Cogent increased impact investing awareness and practice within the philanthropic communities and their leadership and the general public through presentations, roundtables attended by entrepreneurs, non-profits, career changers, and students and an active social media campaign.
    ○ Cogent works with foundations to explore and implement impact investing for their own investment portfolios. Cogent founder and CEO, Susan Hammel, CFA, continues to educate Minnesota’s philanthropic community by serving as Executive in Residence for the Minnesota Council of Foundations. In this capacity she led the charge and raised $44.7 million for recovery and rebuilding due to the pandemic as well as rebuild damaged communities in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.
    ○ Cogent hosts monthly roundtables that educate about Impact Investing and build new connections. These sessions are open to all and hosted at various locations across the Twin Cities, including Impact Hub MSP. These sessions moved to online in March 2020 and continue to engage between 7-12 new people each session.
    ○ The CEO and founder of Cogent Consulting has given speeches to educate those interested in the field at investor forums, CEO Net, Great Plains Institutional Investor Forum, and Groove Angel Fest.
  2. Strengthen Social Entrepreneurs and the Non-Profit Sector: Cogent Consulting serves social impact-oriented clients seeking consultation on financial growth strategies and the best investor relations strategy practices for their organizations.
    ○ It is important for social ventures in particular to attract investors that are aligned with their mission. Cogent has done this work by connecting social ventures such as Beyond Celiac, Gener8tor, First Children’s Finance, and Entrepreneur Fund with investors to support the growth and development of their current fund.
    ○ Helped hone Beyond Celiac’s mission and approach to think strategically about building an investor base.

  1. Provide Pro Bono services: Cogent Consulting worked with social businesses and nonprofits that are dedicated to making an impact.
    ○ Cogent Consulting provided pro bono facilitation to lead the Impact Investing and Impact Reporting Communities of Practice for Impact Hub MSP. The value of this service is $12,000 on an annual basis.
    ○ The CEO and Founder of Cogent Consulting serves on the Fresh Energy Board of Directors, the Carleton Careers Advisory Board, and the Trillium Family Foundation. Other team members also serve on nonprofit boards.
    ○ Cogent team members informally advise and mentor a diverse group of entrepreneurs locally as a service to the Twin Cities ecosystem

Cogent Consulting encountered the following hindrances to pursuing its specific benefit purpose:

  1. The continuing Covid-19 pandemic, systemic racism, and climate change form a backdrop for Cogent’s work. Addressing these deep and challenging problems is the work of our lifetimes.
  2. Impact investing is still an evolving industry. Cogent continues to encounter situations that require more creativity and judgment calls than traditional financial and legal institutions.
  3. The lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the investment field is an ongoing issue. The percentage of venture capital funding going to women and people of color-led startups continues to be less than 3%. Women in the investment industry as a whole hover around 20%.

The latest science says we are living through an “endemic” not a pandemic, anymore (take a listen to Science Friday’s 9/17 podcast). Rather than finding this news thoroughly depressing, I’m doing my best to embrace it. I’ve never thought there would be some kind of magic getting “back” to normal: only “Build Forward Better” as we said in our June, 2021 impact investing conference. So, let’s share what we’ve learned over the last 18 months. I’ve learned that people really do want to take action and explore new ways of addressing society’s ills such as climate change and racial injustice. What did you learn? I’d love to hear. Tweet me @susan_hammel or email or leave a comment below.

Good jobs. 

Safe homes and communities. 

Quality schools. 

Fresh food. 

Close friends and family. 

Excellent medical care. 

With the COVID-19 Delta variant surging, my mind is once again turned to health: what does it mean to be healthy, to live in a healthy community, to share a healthy lifestyle? Imagine how everyone can enjoy abundant health in their own lives, families and communities.  

When we think about health we tend to think of hospitals, doctors’ offices, medicine, and medical equipment. Yet health means so much more and requires access to a place to live, good food to eat, quality jobs and a safe community. People in health care refer to these factors that occur outside a medical setting the “Social Determinants of Health”.  

The six Social Determinants of Health are really quite obvious; things our grandparents knew intuitively. 

  1. Economic Stability: jobs and money to help people meet their health needs 
  1. Neighborhood and Physical Environment: homes and neighborhoods that promote health and safety 
  1. Education: full access to educational opportunities from pre-school to vocational training and higher education 
  1. Food: access to healthy nutritious options 
  1. Community and Social Context: social and community support that ends discrimination, stress, builds social integration 
  1. Health Care System: Full access to quality health care with cost coverage and provider availability 

Source: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation 

Makes sense, right? But what’s a hospital, doctor, or health system to do? They are focused on number six: providing access to high quality care. They have to provide for unpaid care, too. There are limited financial resources and giving is focused on the medical setting.  

But they are large institutions requiring significant financial management operations. What about activating their balance sheet? Hospitals, some clinics, and health systems maintain investments to support their operations. What if they invested a portion of their assets in these Social Determinants of Health? 

There are investable opportunities in almost every Social Determinant of Health: numbers 1-4 are the most straightforward.  

For example, a hospital can invest in an affordable housing project in their region. They could make a loan to a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that lends and provides advice to small businesses in under-resourced neighborhoods. They could fund healthy food options in their neighborhood or help build a new school. When the investments pay off, the hospital can recycle the money back into other projects that advance the Social Determinants of Health. What if they used a local community accessible bank for all or part of the normal banking business?  

Imagine if every hospital in the country went beyond their community giving programs and employed more of their own investable assets to address the Social Determinants of Health. Do good and do well: yes, it can be done. 

I tell my kids that good health rests on a three-leg stool of actions: move, eat, sleep. My advice stands but doing those things requires a good job, someplace safe to live, healthy food to buy nearby, education to live a productive and fulfilling life, and positive social connections. Many children lack access to these essentials. The more we are all aware of ways to address gaps in those required attributes the better our communities will be.  

Forward thinking health care organizations are already working on it. 

Tweet me your thoughts @susan_hammel. 

Susan Hammel Bio:  As a philosophy major who went to Wall Street, Susan Hammel translates between passionate social changemakers and expert accountants.  In her role as President and Founder of Cogent Consulting Inc., Susan serves as MCF Executive in Residence for impact investing and led the charge to map the Twin Cities impact investing ecosystem. As a native Minnesotan, Susan is dedicated to the entire community and brings professional experience from New York, Washington DC and Chicago to the region.   

Right now I’m hopeful: more people are getting vaccinated every day, gender and racial equity remains top of mind for all even though a year has passed since the murder of George Floyd, and more money is moving into making a positive social and environmental impact. After getting my start in impact investing in the 1990s with Prudential Financial headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, I’m particularly excited to see other corporations join the party. Many investors are requesting “education to action” engagements, which is also a change from just a few years ago. And social entrepreneurs like Kate Mortenson of iPondr, the gener8tor team, and Dr. Paul Johnson of Brown Venture Group, the heart of why we do the work we do, well, they continue to inspire me with their tenacity and brilliance.

Ask most successful people how they launched their business and they will say luck, grit, and support from friends and family: a spouse, their parents, maybe a successful sibling, or their dear Uncle Joe who’s always believed in them (and if they’re well connected, a few wealthy friends). Yet while most entrepreneurs have plenty of grit, perseverance, and sometimes a bit of luck, many lack a network of friends and family members with excess capital to spare, particularly women, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), who are half of the US’s entrepreneurs.

The lack of systems where entrepreneurs and investors can meet, form relationships of trust, and possibly do business together is one of the six gaps we identified in our Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem study. While this is a nationwide issue, what gives me hope are all the solutions popping up to address the “friends and family” gap, both locally and across the country. 

We’re excited to hear from national featured guests who are actively solving these impact investing issues at our virtual Impact Investing conference on Thursday, June 10th. We’ll hear from:

  • Heron Foundation President Dana Bezerra, sharing a truly community-centered approach to foundation giving and investing. 
  • Monique Aiken, the founder of the Reconstruction Project and Managing Director of The Investment Integration Project, how we can “learn from history to create opportunities for equitable wealth-building now”
  • Impact investing educator, connector and instigator Cory Donovan, Executive Director of Impact PHL
  • Devon Walls, leading New Day Chester, an artists cooperative creating economic vitality in Philadelphia

Expect discussions with attendees and leaders from some of the many emerging and established Twin Cities-based funds and initiatives. We call them “sparks” because they are lighting fires for action by addressing the gaps in our ecosystem and inviting others to join their initiatives. They include:

We hope you can join us on the 10th, click here for full information and registration. Stay tuned for more announcements!

About Susan Hammel, Founder and CEO

As a philosophy major who went to Wall Street, Susan Hammel translates between passionate social changemakers and expert accountants. In her role as CEO of Cogent Consulting PBC, Susan is celebrating over 20 years as an impact advisor and is serving her sixth year as Minnesota Council on Foundation Executive in Residence for impact investing. Like in her youth, Susan remains optimistic and passionate about changing the world and enjoys downtime by the lake with her husband and the 4 adult children in their blended family, their partners, plus a recent addition of a beautiful grandson. 

Don’t miss this

Our core values of reducing and eliminating inequity, beginning with the direction of capital and financial solutions, have always driven Cogent Consulting’s work. Cogent and our partners like the Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem are founded on principles of relentless positive change using our privileged resources and networks in the financial sector for good.

Our hearts are broken with events in our home the Twin Cities and global community. While the verdict of guilty on all murder charges for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on April 20th is a positive development, racism is far from over. The Cogent team knows it is not enough to be “not racist,” but we and all white people need to be actively anti-racist. We affirm that Black Lives Matter and recommit to that value in the wake of Duante Wright, Adam Toldedo, and Ma’Khia Bryant’s deaths at the hands of police.

We are reaching out to express that our hearts are with our Black friends and colleagues. We also ask our fellow white folks to seek out opportunities to join anti-racist efforts. We have included some places to start in this post.

Listen & Learn


Laylee Amadi of the creatives education podcast “So, Here’s the Thing” featured former Cogent Communications Associate Akua Konadu and her expertise in allyship to Black communities.


Social Strategy

Akua today empowers social media entrepreneurs with personalized strategies. Get in touch with her via her website.



Donate capital and time to a local Community Development Financial Institution like Meda that supports BIPOC.



Order delivery and buy from local Black businesses like Junita’s Jar cookies.



Support the Center For Economic Inclusion, the first organization dedicated to inclusive economic growth, and attend their events for professionals and businesses who want to take action.

Join Cogent for events that embody our mission for social impact through investment.

Build Forward Better: the 2021 Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem conference, features a dozen guests with proven social impact strategies, nearly all of who are offering their valuable experiences as BIPOC. Tickets are available now.

Our next Social Entrepreneur Roundtable is May 18. Founder Susan Hammel uses these sessions to connect with professionals new to impact investing, students, businesses, and anyone who may value the perspective of a veteran in the field – plus a chance to network with others.

In such unprecedented times, many find themselves asking: How can I help? I want to donate time and money to something that will help. There is so much need. Where do I turn to find out what to do? How can I trust that my gift won’t be misused?

Financial advisors, family, friends, and even neighbors are turned to with these questions. I heard similar sentiments my whole career in grantmaking for corporations, but most often in my two decades at United Way when I worked on behalf of hundreds of thousands of donors. My answer is always to lead with your heart and choose with your head

1. What are you and your family personally passionate about? 

Some may look to personal and family life experiences of hardship, illness, or transformative events. You probably can easily think of experiences in your life that transformed your perspective and added to the list of things you care deeply about. These are how others have answered this question: 

  • A family member who died from a devastating illness drives others in the family to seek ways to support the development of a cure. 
  • Years of living in poverty overcome by training for a better job drives people to give others access to that training. 
  • After experiencing a life-changing intensive summer camp or self-awareness training, people donate to the camp so others can have that too. 

Others look to wrongs they have observed around them. What have you observed around you that leaves you wanting to do something to help? These are how others have answered this question:

  • “I know children are growing up without the advantages of my children. That motivates my family to live by the Nigerian proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’1It Takes A Village to Raise A Child, NGO Pulse We want to help children growing up in poverty in our community to have access to early education, arts, and everything else they need to grow and thrive.”
  • International travel or volunteer experiences in developing countries motivate them to seek ways to help those they have built relationships with. “I went on a mission trip to Central America and connected with local organizations that are doing so much. They taught me about the local culture and how I could help. I want to do more.” 
  • Others see or read about the ecological devastation and want to learn more and do something to prevent further destruction and improve the environment. “I have watched a number of documentaries about the effects of climate change and they always call for more action by all of us.”

What are you passionate about? That becomes your philanthropic focus. Multiple answers are common. So create your own list and see where it takes you.

2. How do you choose the way to address that passion? 

This question still calls for you to look into your heart, which provides focus as you begin to look at all the many opportunities to donate. 

Think about where you want to make a difference geographically. Think about the characteristics of the population you want to aid. And finally: think about the kind of response that makes the most sense to you. 

  • Geographic: Local, regional, in the United States or another country, or globally. 
  • Demographics: Do you want to focus on children, seniors, young adults, or others? Do you want to focus on a particular gender, a specific racial group, or cultural identity? Often people choose some combination of these demographics. 
  • Emergency or long-term impact: What kind of difference do you want to make? Do you want to respond to the crisis right now? Or do you want to intervene and stop its progress? Or do you want to work on preventing its occurrence? 

3. How do I choose from the many organizations?

Now is the time to bring in your head.

There are a myriad of nonprofit organizations working on the same focus as your passion. These organizations vary in quality, expertise, action, and focus. Choosing which one to trust with your money is similar to the Impact Investing decisions Cogent’s clients make. Look at several possible options as a starting point using these guiding principles: 

  • Performance history matters. Evaluate the organization using its public information over time.
  • Management and leadership competency is critical to any organization’s success.
  • Who else is involved?

You are not alone in this journey. Public information is available to inform these decisions. 

When your heart aches for the world, use your head to choose what to do.

Venture Advisor Terri Barreiro

Some experts can choose on your behalf:

4. How will I know my donations are making a difference?

  • Financial information: Just like public corporations, nonprofits are required to publish a financial report annually. It is called a Form 990, which is both annually filed with the IRS and made public by the organization. In Form 990 you will find financial information, revenue, expenses, balances, and a three-year financial history. It also contains the salaries of the highest-paid employees and information about who sits on the Board of Directors. 
  • Meet accountability standards: Several entities gather and publicly report on nonprofits. The oldest is GuideStar.6GuideStar
  • Standards of excellence in operating practices: Charities Review Council7Charities Review Council: Where Donors and Nonprofits Meet has a great list of operating excellence standards. They also maintain a list of organizations that meet the standards.
  • Annual achievements: Each nonprofit sends an annual report to donors and posts it on their website. Just like a corporation’s annual report, these contain the news and highlights for the year.

When your heart aches – that is the first step to making an impact. By acknowledging the ache and what caused it, you are ready to make a difference. Donations of energy and money can only be enhanced with informed investment practices. You can transform your passion into real philanthropic investments that really make a difference. 

About Terri Barreiro, Principal

Terri Barreiro is a mission-driven venture advisor and an expert in systems change. She instructs Social Entrepreneurship at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota. She is co-founder of and volunteer venture coach at Impact Hub MSP and consultant to nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

She is the founder of the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship serving the College of Saint Benedict and Saint Johns’ University and co-authored Social Entrepreneurship: From Issue to Viable Plan. She brings to her work more than 30 years of experience as a nationally recognized nonprofit and philanthropy leader with extensive experience in United Way, corporate giving, and family foundation operations. She earned an MBA and BA cum laude at the University of Minnesota and completed an Executive MBA program at Carnegie Mellon University. She has enjoyed volunteering throughout her life, currently serving on the boards of Community Giving, Close Gaps by 5, Folk School Warroad, Market Access Fund, and Impact Hub MSP. Birding and nurturing native gardens and prairies are how she shares her leisure hours with her husband.


An unfortunate CEO expressed what many other business leaders think (but have the sense not to say publicly): “I would love to promote and hire more Black people but there just aren’t enough qualified for the job.”

And there it is, prejudice and ignorance expressed in a nutshell. We simply have to do better. We have to open our eyes to all of the talent surrounding us and look outside our daily professional interactions. These talented individuals might not look like the corporate success archetype (white male of a certain age) but they bring tremendous experience and skills. Diverse teams do better (if you don’t believe me, look it up).

But convincing you that diversity, equity, and inclusion matters isn’t the point of this blog. Nor is educating you about systemic racism and gender bias or tips to be a good white ally. We have other blogs and podcasts for that.

This is HOW to express these values and gain access to this talent, through your investments.

At Cogent, from our perch working with foundations across the country interested in exploring innovative and prudent ways to put more of their assets to work for mission, we see many approaches to tackling systemic racism and gender bias. To approach the work, we’ve developed an approach we call the “Equity Triple Play” to help guide our clients seeking to add diversity to their investments. Many foundations, nonprofits, and corporations share these values and we’ve found this approach helps them get started fast, go deep, and see results quickly.

There’s no time to lose.

So, what is this “Equity Triple Play”? We look at gender and racial equity investing in three levels:
Investment decision-makers: who makes investment decisions?
Investee leadership and team: who runs and works at the companies investors choose?
Positive product or service: who benefits from the products or services provided?

Let’s unpack each level of “play”.

Going for the Triple Play is the goal and reviewing your investment through these three levels establishes a baseline. As a Little League Mom for 14 years, my son’s coach used to holler at the home run hitters, just get on base! Many times these powerful hitters struck out swinging for the fences and every now and then, they hit a home run. My son listened to his coach and, more times than not, found a way to get on base. And once he got on base, everyone knew that Danny would find a way to get home.

By all means, swing for the fences if you feel your organization is ready to seek the Triple Play. But it’s also ok to start by picking managers and investees with one or two levels of “play”, as that is better than a strike-out on diversity. Do it again. Keep score. Hold yourself accountable for results. This is how change happens.

The Triple Play gives you an avenue to start and that’s what matters. Get in the game.

Susan Hammel Bio: As a philosophy major who went to Wall Street, Susan Hammel translates between passionate social changemakers and expert accountants. In her role as CEO of Cogent Consulting, Susan is celebrating over 20 years as an impact advisor and is serving her sixth year as Minnesota Council on Foundation Executive in Residence for impact investing. Like in her youth, Susan remains optimistic and passionate about changing the world and enjoys downtime by the lake with her husband and the 4 adult children in their blended family, their partners, plus a recent addition of a beautiful grandson.