Doing Good, Well

At Cogent, we speak the language of philanthropy, business, and impact investing. We apply traditional investment discipline, community engagement, and creative design to impact investing and strategic advising. We work with a diverse set of mission-driven investors and entrepreneurs through evidence-based and actionable advice. If you are a foundation, social entrepreneur, philanthropist, or investor that wants to use the tools of finance and sustainability to change the world, please reach out to learn more.

We are advocates for people who have a passion for their work and a commitment to creating their own success. Our financial acumen is balanced with demonstrated leadership ability, appreciation for the values of people we assist, and an innate ability to communicate effectively. We empower individuals to achieve their organization’s mission, and in turn they shape lives and make a difference in their communities.

– Susan Hammel, CEO


Impact Investing

  • Education sessions and board retreats
  • Landscape analysis
  • Investment policy and process development
  • Integrated capital strategies spanning guarantees, grants, loans, and equity investments through both direct investment and funds
  • Fund and direct investment due diligence

Community Engagement

  • Providing thought leadership and speaking engagements
  • Connecting investors, philanthropists, non profits, and entrepreneurs
  • Facilitating the creation of cooperative investment opportunities
  • Mapping and growing ecosystems

Growth & Sustainability

  • Operations, process, and management consulting
  • Financial sustainability
  • Impact investment readiness
  • Impact investment capital raises

Notable Projects

Minnesota Impact Investing Initiative

Cogent worked with foundation members of the Minnesota Council on Foundations to create a collaborative, location-based impact investing fund. The Minnesota Impact Investing Initiative is part of RBC Access Capital, a fixed income fund that invests in small business and affordable housing-backed securities in Minnesota and allows investors to allocate their invested dollars by zip code. Thanks to lead anchor institutions—The McKnight Foundation, Bush Foundation, Otto Bremer Trust—the fund is close to $20 million in assets.

Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem

In partnership with Impact Hub MSP and support from the Bush Foundation, Cogent Consulting lead a year-long project to grow the Minneapolis-St. Paul impact investing ecosystem. We began the project by designing a map of the impact investing ecosystem which demonstrates the breadth and complexity of the Twin Cities impact investing activity. The ecosystem project—which tripled in engagement in the ecosystem—has been renewed for a second year.

East Metro Job Creation Loan Fund

Cogent designed and structured a $2.1 million loan fund for The Saint Paul Foundation to address Saint Paul’s 13.4% job loss from 2000 to 2011. The East Metro Job Creation Loan Fund invests in local intermedaries Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) and Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) who make $20,000 to $150,000 loans to businesses in Saint Paul.

Selected Client List

Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
Blandin Foundation
Center for Nonprofit Advancement, Faculty
Children’s Museum of Northern Virginia
Citizens League
Coalition for Smarter Growth
Cuningham Group
Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation
Delta Dental of Minnesota Community Affairs
First Children’s Finance (formerly Development Corp. for Children)
Impact Hub MSP
Iowa Council on Foundations
Izzy’s Ice Cream
House of Charity
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Main Street Project
Minnesota High Tech Association
Minnesota Council on Foundations
National CASA Association
Philanthropy Northwest
Project for Pride and Living
Opus Foundation
Renewing the Countryside
Sunny Hollow Montessori
The Family Housing Fund
The McKnight Foundation
The Saint Paul Foundation
The Womadix Fund
WEAVE (Women Empowered Against Violence)
Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
University of Chicago, Lecturer
University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education
University of St. Thomas, Small Business Development Center

Client Spotlight: House of Charity

Right from the start, in the early 1950s, House of Charity has been about transforming lives…one person at a time. It’s founder, Brother de Paul, responded to the need he saw around him by providing food and shelter to the poor in Minneapolis. Since its beginnings on Nicollet Island, House of Charity has been located at several sites in downtown Minneapolis, and moved to its current location at 510 South 8th Street in 1976. Once a hotel, the building now houses 116 men and women who have experienced homelessness.

The Food Centre, at 714 Park Avenue, feeds more than 350 people each day. After 60 years, the work begun by Brother De Paul continues. Because of his legacy, the hungry are fed and the homeless find shelter.

One of its primary goals is to help struggling individuals meet their basic human needs of food and shelter while reducing barriers to their long-term self-sufficiency.

House of Charity does this by providing:

  • Daily Free Public Meals at our Food Centre
  • Transitional Housing
  • Permanent Supportive Housing
  • Chemical and Mental Health Treatment
  • Public Showers

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