Commitments for the New Year: ‘We must be headlights, not taillights’ John Lewis

As we turn the page on a year marked by loss and uncertainty for so many, we are reminded more than ever of the power in our community of allies and actors for positive change. While keen to welcome a better and brighter year ahead, we wish to carry forward some of the lessons of 2020, including an urgency to apply our collective talents and resources to improve the world in which we live, making it
more inclusive, just, resilient, and sustainable for all.

Becoming headlights for positive change

An iconic civil rights leader who passed in 2020, John Lewis spoke the words quoted above just four years ago. While the quote is not one of his most referenced, it resonated immediately and deeply. References to ‘light’ nearly always conjure up notions of transparency, optimism, and hope. An atmosphere of uncertainty and loss hung like a cloud over 2020, punctuated by overdue recognition of deep racial and resource schisms in society. Against this backdrop, the image of light hints at the
possibility of finding a way out of the darkness and becoming beacons for positive change.

What John Lewis invites is a certain type of light – a headlight – an illuminated force that both pulls and propels us forward. And while we may not always see too far down the road, a headlight is a tool that helps find and take advancing steps. It keeps us moving forward with confidence.

As we consider the coming year, let us marshal the courage to be headlights in our work to build a more inclusive, just, resilient, and sustainable world for all. As an impact investing community, we must direct our headlights to illuminate, amplify and accelerate impact solutions that address the basic needs of most people – employment and job quality, personal safety, affordable healthcare, quality education and a chance for building wealth and prosperity for one’s family. And we must do so in a way that conveys respect for one another’s lives.

Making courageous commitments

At Courageous Capital Advisors, we have applied this courage into three commitments for 2021:

  1. Ensure that the deals we structure and bring to market respond to people’s priority needs and pain points, always being able to answer the question - what pain point is this deal solving?
  2. Look beyond the deal narrative and probe to understand the lives that are being impacted – or not – by the product or service that is at the core of the transaction; and
  3. Prioritize local providers and operators for it is people on the ground who both understand best the pain points being met and who have a vested interest in strengthening the fabric of the community in which they live and operate.

Meeting people’s real needs, and particularly people we may not know or see, must become an explicit commitment of the impact investing community. If our aspiration is to be the default paradigm for investing financial capital, we must be relevant in and for every community.

We look forward to your continued partnership in a growing community of people committed to being a light, acknowledging that the way is sometimes hard to see but by pooling our lights together we can see with confidence the bold steps we know need to be taken.

Best wishes for 2021,
From Laurie & the team at Courageous Capital Advisors