Creating prosperity through solar power with Sandra Kwak, 10 Power

October 17, 2019

Sandra Kwak’s vision for 10 Power is to provide communities with more than just the benefits of electricity. Through financing and development of renewable energy projects, 10 Power helps to create jobs and economic opportunities to allow communities to prosper, beyond economic growth.

What does prosperity mean in terms of having enough and being able to provide for ourselves and our families and our communities in a way that’s not destructive to the planet?

In this episode:

  • How Sandra transformed her lifelong passion for climate action into entrepreneurship 
  • Haiti’s “abundant solar potential” 
  • The family story that inspired Sandra to believe we can change the world in one generation
  • Being a “humble learner” and identifying the community needs before imposing a business model
  • Approaching all facets of business operations with “kindness and care”
  • Sandra’s vision for the future of 10Power, including creating a donor-advised fund specifically for renewable energy access

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Show Notes

Transcript

Sandra Kwak: … Both on the large scale about my dreams for creating a global company that’s actually a movement is providing renewable energy, clean drinking water, gender empowerment, prosperity, which doesn’t even necessarily have to be linked to this idea that we need to constantly perpetuate economic growth, but rather what does prosperity mean in terms of having enough and being able to provide for ourselves and our families and our communities in a way that’s not destructive to the planet.
Speaker 3: Welcome to SheEO.world, a podcast about redesigning the world. I’m your host, Vicki Saunders. In each episode, you’ll hear from SheEO venture founders, women who are working on the world’s to do list. These innovative business leaders are solving some of the major challenges of our times. Sit back and prepare to be inspired.

Vicki Saunders: Welcome to the podcast, Sandra. It’s great to have you.

Sandra Kwak: Thanks, Vicki. It’s great to be here.

Vicki Saunders: So, tell me a little bit about 10Power.

Sandra Kwak: 10Power is a company that’s bringing renewable energy to people around the world who don’t have access to electricity. Today, right now, there’s over a billion people on planet earth who are living without access to electricity. We’re really focused on providing renewables to rewrite the definition of development as a pathway that’s more sustainable, that is operating in line with the principles of the earth and that can provide prosperity for all of the life on the planet.

Vicki Saunders: It’s amazing that we are so out of balance with what nature does and how we came in as humans. Was there a thing that kicked you off to start with this idea, some aha moment or where did the idea come from for 10Power?

Sandra Kwak: Yeah. It’s crazy how it’s only taken a couple of hundred years for humans to really forget that we are just another species on planet earth. And when you look at all of the creatures and life forms on the earth, none of them are extracted. Every single type of life on the planet is giving back. Trees are harvesting carbon dioxide and creating oxygen and are providing outputs that are inputs for other processes. As a matter of survival, it’s really up to the generations who are alive right now on our planet to realize, to remember that we can be a generative and a regenerative species and that we were before and we need to get back into right relationship.

Sandra Kwak: My aha moment came pretty early in my life and I really owe it to a teacher of mine, Phoebe Allen. In fourth grade, I came across a book in her classroom library called 50 Ways To Help The Earth, and I’ve been reading that book. The forward was all about greenhouse gases and climate change, which at that time, was still called global warming. Now, it should be just called climate crazy, right?

Vicki Saunders: Totally.

Sandra Kwak: Unpredictability. As soon as I learned about this, about climate change, it was like Ray Anderson from Interface is speared in the stomach, right? He describes this feeling that just pierced his body and the imperative to do something about it. From that moment in my elementary school, I decided to give a presentation to my class. My definition of a scientist at that point in time was like an old white man, so I got cotton balls and made a beard and put them on my face with glasses. [crosstalk 00:03:13].

Vicki Saunders: Oh my God, you’re kidding. Amazing.

Sandra Kwak: It’s so funny. And I got all the teacher’s permission at the school to do an entire school wide presentation on greenhouse gas emissions and then started a little Ecozine. Ever since that moment, my life’s calling has been to try and reverse climate change within our generation, within this lifetime and get humanity back on track because we all know what happens to species that are on a crash course with evolution.

Vicki Saunders: Absolutely. We do, unfortunately, and we don’t seem to be listening very much. Tell me from grade four to 10Power, there’s some moments in between of navigating how to have an impact. And so you started with presentations, and how did your passion evolve into entrepreneurship and to the model that you have right now. Tell us a little bit about the course.

Sandra Kwak: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial bent, have enjoyed starting up different organizations, whether it be arts nonprofits or doing volunteer activism. My first clean tech company was actually in grad school, so I came to the Bay Area to get my MBA in sustainable business at Presidio Graduate School, which is a program that’s highly specialized in sustainability and impacts.

Sandra Kwak: While I was in grad school, we actually launched a company called Powerzoa that was a little ahead of its time. It was doing smart buildings before smart buildings was really a catch phrase. So, we had hardware and software for commercial organizations to identify where there was energy waste in the building and to use smart building analytics and machine learning and data analytics to be able to save electricity. So, we were tapping into existing building management systems, into HVAC systems, lighting systems, and then we developed our own hardware to analyze electricity all the way down to the outlet level. And at that time, there was actually legislation being passed in a number of cities that was requiring buildings to benchmark their energy usage. That was some nice traction. There’s nothing like regulations to help customers along.

Vicki Saunders: Totally. Yeah, absolutely.

Sandra Kwak: And then from there, I went into big data for the smart grid in Silicon Valley. So through partnership conversations that I was having at Powerzoa, I actually got recruited into AutoGrid, which is a company that’s providing apps for utilities to run massive grid-scale energy saving programs. So, we actually were providing the back end data analytics and machine learning to use smart meter information to balance supply and demand on the grid in real time and bring renewable energy resources online.

Sandra Kwak: Essentially, we would provide the app for the utility and then the utility would give it for free to their customers, and AutoGrad was doing all of the analytics to see what types of price signals would incentivize people to save electricity. We actually were running the largest residential demand response program in the United States at Oklahoma Gas and Electric where people didn’t really care about being green. But because of the price incentives that we were able to create, we had television ads that Oklahoma Gas and Electric were running with a grandma saying, “I saved $500 this summer and I bought a ticket to go see my grandbabies.” Finding those right incentives, what moves people, it may not be saving electricity, but maybe for the utility, if there’s millions and millions of dollars of savings from energy efficiency programs, finding that right price point for the rebates for the customers and figuring out what incentives make financial sense.

Vicki Saunders: This is really one of the big challenges, right, which I’m sure you’ve learned a lot about over the years and it’s something I’m super passionate about, which is behavior change and incentives and rightsizing that so that you make it easier, because we’re so used to not having to do anything and everything automated to make things better. And so did that actually end up scaling and working or what? What happened along the way with AutoGrid?

Sandra Kwak: Yeah, absolutely. AutoGrid has two gigawatts under management globally now, so major partnerships across North America, Europe, Asia. To your point, automation is one of the big ways that AutoGrid achieved traction and success. So, thinking about IOT and all the smart thermostats that we have on the market now like Nest, with automation, we were able to tap into a number of different communication protocols, both open standard like open ADR and open source as well as proprietary standards through partnerships that I was managing. And imagine there’s 100,000 people who are running their air conditioners at the hottest point during the day and the grid is getting stressed out and they need to save electricity. With automation, we can send a little message to the people who have agreed to participate in the program and reduce everyone’s thermostat by just a degree, one or two degrees to where it’s barely noticeable for people who are using those air conditioners. But across the entire grid, you could save megawatts of power.

Sandra Kwak: And during those peak power instances, it’s usually when the utility is using the most dirty power is turning on coal fired plants or our natural gas fired plants, drawing expensive electricity over state lines. So, that’s the most expensive electricity is just for those couple of hours per year when the grid is drawing the most electricity. So, if you can save a couple of minutes by manipulating hundreds of thousands of thermostats just by one degree, then you can create change that’s practically imperceptible to the customer.

Vicki Saunders: That’s amazing. Cool. Okay, so then from AutoGrid to getting towards 10Power, tell us a bit about that.

Sandra Kwak: So, at AutoGrid, I was feeling really excited about the environmental impact that we were having. With the click of a mouse, we’re saving megawatts of electricity. But on the social side, I was feeling like there was something missing. While I was at Presidio, we had actually done a project working with green empowerment where we designed a microfinance model for organic farmers collectives to get solar power drip irrigation in Nicaragua, and we traveled to Nicaragua. We fundraised some money, we implemented the program and then we presented the microfinance model to 13 different collectives where farmers had walks for hours. One woman walks 50 kilometers. She got up before dawn to represent her community and it was her dream to bring electricity to her community, and that had always stuck in my mind as one of the most impactful experiences that I had ever had.

Sandra Kwak: Here in the States, when we turn on a light, most people don’t know where those electrons come from, if they were generated from coal or wind or solar or what type of mix that those electrons came from. And working in places like Nicaragua and now Haiti, people are very energy literate and incredibly aware of how many watts a light bulb uses or exactly where that electricity is coming from, when it’s available, when it’s not available. And in places like Haiti, it’s just a few watts could be the difference between a lifesaving surgery or a child’s being able to study at night and has a massive impact on people’s lives. Whereas here, we kind of take electricity for granted in all of the myriad of benefits that it brings to our lives.

Sandra Kwak: From a social justice perspective, I wanted to do something that was equitably distributing technological innovation to create a more just future for the planet, and so that’s what really incentivize me to start 10Power.

Vicki Saunders: It’s amazing. I’m sure you’re used to these words all the time, but when I just heard energy literate, it just hit me so strongly. You know sometimes when you hear words and you’re just like, boom, why don’t I actually… I don’t think I’ve even heard that phrase before, and it’s partly because it’s just embedded in our expectations, right, that this is just something that is, that we have energy all around us and we expect it to be there. And what if it isn’t? Why did you pick Haiti to get started out of all the sort of geographies in the world where you could go?

Sandra Kwak: Well, coming from big data, first thing that I did when I wanted to begin a company bringing renewable energy subpopulation so that electricity was, I started collecting data. So, I created a matrix with all of the countries in the world with three axis. One of the axis was the price of electricity. One of the axis was the percentage of the population with electricity, and then the third axis, just for reference, was the cell phone penetration because it kind of was an indicator of acceptance of new technologies. As an aside, renewable energy access now is following similar lead front trajectories as cell phone adoption. So, if you think about emerging and frontier markets, you’ll never see telephone lines being built, right? Because everybody’s just using cell phones. So, for renewable energy, distributed solar can do the exact same thing. Power lines will be a thing of the past because people can just have these distributed renewable energy resources that eventually will become interconnected, but today can just pop up like popcorn everywhere.

Sandra Kwak: So, Haiti was extreme in all of these categories. They have some of the world’s highest electricity costs because they’re, right now, almost completely reliant on imported fossil fuels. They have some of the world’s lowest access. Around 20 to 25% of the country has access to the grid. And even people who do have access to the grid have blackouts all the time, so it’s really difficult to run a business off of grid power. You basically have to run your own diesel generator. And in terms of cell phone usage, there’s over a hundred percent penetration because most people have two cell phones. There’s two national networks. And so when one of them doesn’t work, you use your other cell phone. It’s less than an hour flight away from Florida.

Sandra Kwak: Being the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and the seventh poorest country in the world And being so close to the US and seeing the negative impact that us policies have had on Haiti, I really felt like it was much closer to our own backyard in terms of a place to start 10Power and to learn best business practices. From a carbon emission standpoint, the biggest portion of my personal carbon dioxide footprint is airline flights. So, using less carbon miles to get back and forth while I’m really involved on the ground in a day to day basis was part of my motive as well. I absolutely just fell in love with Haiti since the first time that I visited there and have found a massive business opportunity, a lot of local talents, abundant solar potential. And really, it’s just a matter of how quickly we can execute and help to scale getting renewable energy to Haitian businesses.

Vicki Saunders: Wow. So, can you give me a concept just because, again, this energy literacy piece, what does a day in the life of someone in Haiti look like that you’re working with?

Sandra Kwak: The Haitian economics are very stratified. Most of the country is below the poverty line and people are really living hand to mouth. There’s a lot of sustenance agriculture. My dream initially was to help bring electricity to the poorest of the poor, and we actually went out into these villages with farming communities, fishing communities. We brought some solar demo products with a an on the grounds solar entrepreneur, Haitian solar entrepreneur, and we presented these products to the community. And we said, “Hey, how would you use these? What do you think about these solar products?” And these were the typical… When you think energy access, most people think about these PayGo products where you pay a small amount and you get lights, cell phone charging, sometimes a radio. These are the more typical energy access products that people think about.

Sandra Kwak: And when we brought these out to the community, people said, “These are awesome, but you know what we really need is if we’re living hand to mouth and we have abundance… If it’s a good year, we have food. If it’s bad year, we don’t even have food. We don’t have clean water in our community. Solar is cool, but really we’re looking for roads, we’re looking for access to economics, we’re looking for education for our kids, basic healthcare. If we can create some economic stimulus for our community, then we’ll be able to afford solar if we have consistent income.” And that was a really big moment for me thinking about from the community’s perspective, entering a market as a humble learner and trying to learn all the best practices and where the needs were before imposing a business model, having a great idea.

Sandra Kwak: So, that really caused our focus to shift to more commercial scale solar. So, it caused my thinking to go in the line of how can we help create more jobs and more economic stability in the Haitian market? So, 10Power’s core focus right now is commercial scale solar. We are focused on replacing diesel generators or mitigating the use of diesel fuel and replacing as much of it as possible with solar energy for larger scale organizations and corporations. And so for a typical business owner, what their day would look like is they are running a diesel generator that’s basically a power plant for their operations. They have to worry about fuel, they have to worry about the maintenance of the diesel generator in addition to worrying about running their business in a time of economic and political instability. And a lot of these businesses that we’re talking to that are in our sales pipeline are family-owned businesses that have been around for 50, 60, 70, sometimes over a hundred years and they’ve really seen it all.

Sandra Kwak: They’ve been through dictatorship, coo, hurricane, earthquake. They basically survived every type of risk that you can possibly imagine. And so they’re really the long standing pillars of patient economics and society, and so we are trying to help them do their job better. We’re really focused on helping businesses that are providing critical goods and services like clean water, food distribution. Last year, we put solar on UNICEF Haiti’s headquarters, and it’s actually the largest solar installation on any UNICEF in the entire world. We’re looking at organizations and businesses that are really providing benefits to society and are providing those jobs that are going to help the economy to grow and help put people on a pathway to prosperity.

Vicki Saunders: One of the biggest challenges I assume is figuring out how to segment your audience, right? You think I want to help the poorest of the poor, then you go in and think, “Well, there’s like six other problems in front of mine.” Going for commercial solar, was there a lot of experimentation for you at the beginning of trying to figure out where to have the biggest impact that also would allow your business to get off the ground? Figuring that out is really challenging, right, your go to market?

Sandra Kwak: Definitely. And there were tons and tons of interviews. So, the first thing that I did in Haiti was talk to everyone that I could possibly find about solar. So, interviewing various solar installers and providers in the Haitian market and trying to figure out what was missing. Haiti has more sun, about 150% the amount of sun as Arizona, which is one of the sunniest places in the US. Elon Musk’s gigafactory is in Arizona. Given that there’s so much abundance of solar generation potential, why is there not a thriving solar market in Haiti?

Sandra Kwak: So, what I started doing, trying to interview as many people as possible, solar providers, talking to business owners, see what the missing pieces were. Because I, in no way, want to compete with any local resources that are already there. I just want to be able to lift up and empower local organizations and local businesses and help them to thrive, help create an ecosystem that’s collaborative. What we found when we started doing all these interviews was that finance is really the hole in the market. If you imagine in the states who could own solar on their house or a car or a house for that matter without financing. And in Haiti, there’s practically no financing available for institutions that want to put solar on their roof. So, one of the big pieces of the puzzle that 10Power provides is financing for organizations to transition to solar.

Sandra Kwak: So, we provide the upfront capital and then the organization can pay back month over month, and then we aim to have that price point lower than the cost of diesel that they’re currently spending on their generator right now.

Vicki Saunders: Oh, that’s great. Yeah, I mean, absolutely, the financing thing sounds amazing. Let’s pause for a sec, and I want to talk a little bit about the sort of emotional side of being an entrepreneur and some of the struggles along the way. Clearly, it hasn’t been a total straight forward path getting here, especially when you first entered Haiti. What are some examples of the challenges that you faced?

Sandra Kwak: Yeah. Haiti is actually ranked by the world bank as the second most difficult place on the planet to do business.

Vicki Saunders: Yes, let’s pick an easy spot.

Sandra Kwak: I knew that going in, and I’ve definitely encountered a lot of challenges in the Haitian markets, ranging from the expected to the absolutely unexpected. When we were doing our first project, which is solar for water purification facilities in a pretty remote area, there was actually a rainstorm that knocked out the bridge of the only road that led out to the area. So, when you talk about roadblocks, our first big roadblock was an actual physical roadblock. We had to wait for the bridge to be repaired because the alternate route had bandits on it, and so we wanted to make sure that we had a safe way for the inventories to get to the site. So, that delayed the project.

Sandra Kwak: With our UNICEF project, the port actually went on strike while we had some inventory in customs. And so there were a couple of bumps along the road there, but you just basically build into your… You build in some padding into your budget and timeline to make sure that you can prepare for the unexpected.

Sandra Kwak: Yeah, partnerships have been challenging. I’m lucky to have a super amazing, talented, on the ground team that’s really committed to 10Power’s vision. There’s people challenges anywhere that you go when you’re working across different cultures. Sometimes, there can be the unspoken misunderstandings that you’re not aware of, so it’s been a really big growth edge for me in terms of leadership and interpersonal skills. Right now, we are in the midst of a crisis in Haiti that’s been building up for a long time. I saw the writing on the wall when I was starting 10Power because the entire Caribbean region has been reliant on a fuel subsidy that was provided by Venezuela under the Petro Korea Bay Agreement. When Venezuela’s economy collapsed, that agreement went away. So ,all of the subsidized oil that was going to the Caribbean region suddenly was now market price.

Sandra Kwak: And so in Haiti, the government actually took on that subsidy, even though the government is pretty much broke in Haiti. It’s been bleeding about 2% of the GDP every year on these fuel subsidies for imported fossil fuels. And last year, the IMF told Haiti that they would no longer lend to the country if the government kept propping up this artificially low price of fuel. So, the Haitian government has tried to raise the price of oil within the country three times, and each time there’s been major political uprisings and protests. There’s been a lot of instability, but it’s basically untenable from an economic viewpoint. It’s causing devaluation of the currency. It’s the pressure pot, right? So, it’s politically impossible for them to raise the price of fuel right now because the population will revolt, but at the same time, it’s causing an economic backslide that is impacting the population on a daily basis and it’s creating this incredibly challenging environment.

Sandra Kwak: But the the flip side of that is that solar can solve all of these problems. Solar is an abundant resource in Haiti, and if the international community can align around finding appropriately priced capital to invest in this market, it can both prevent the economic as well as the political crisis, providing more energy independence for the country and helping Haiti become a demonstration of, what I call, fourth world development, where development doesn’t have to follow this path of, first, you industrialize and then you exploit all of your natural and human resources and then you pave over everything and combust a whole bunch of carbon dioxide emissions, and then you can care about sustainability and then your modernized. I think that model of development is broken and even the idea of first world versus third world is backwards. We’re never done developing. It’s not like, “Oh, okay, we’re first world. Everybody would be like us now.”

Sandra Kwak: Actually, the first world is creating most of the problems when it comes to climate change. My philosophy is that we should actually be doing what tech does, which is 4.0, 5.0, 6.0. So, we should actually all be trending towards fourth world, fifth world right now. And places like Haiti could become the examples for where it’s possible, just skipping straight to a regenerative future.

Vicki Saunders: I mean, you have a story from your background with your dad around that too, right, which kind of gave you this insight? So, I don’t think everyone really thinks that way. So, you have sort of a unique approach. You want to tell us that?

Sandra Kwak: Yeah. I actually didn’t realize this until I was one or two years into 10Power and I went to visit my dad. My dad is from South Korea and we were in a history museum in Seoul and he shared with me a story from his childhood when South Korea was one of the poorest countries on the planet during the Korean war. And he shared that his little sister actually died. He had a baby sister who died because his family didn’t have enough food. So, that really hit me as part of my personal narrative of why I really believe that it’s possible within one generation to completely change the course of history.

Sandra Kwak: If you look at where South Korea is now versus when my dad was a little boy, they’re now the world’s highest penetration of broadband per capita, the largest shipbuilding port in the world. Seoul has some of the highest urban density and is really doing a lot in terms of green architecture and innovation. You know, the music video Oppa Gangnam Style was actually filmed in a community where they took out a highway and they transformed it into a completely walkable community with a ton of green space and gray water remediation.

Sandra Kwak: There’s just a lot of innovation that’s quietly happening in Korea and it’s amazing to see how foreign global brands are represented like Samsung and how just within one generation, you can go from the bottom to the top in terms of benefit for the population. So, that really struck me as part of my personal generational history and why I really believe that this path for development is possible for all people on the planet.

Vicki Saunders: I mean, we don’t have these personal stories come upon us. It’s not a coincidence. It’s like this is literally crucial for your insight and your mindset and your understanding to create what you’re here to do. And I do remember the first time I heard that. I’m like, “Oh, gosh.” I feel like there’s this magical design out there when you find your purpose at all, things start to sort of click in, and that idea of really finding new ways to get to a future that we want, please just don’t follow the way things have been done before, I think is really interesting. And so given that you sort of seen that and you had that experience sort of in your DNA, what does the future look like for Haiti and 10Power? How are you feeling about things now that you’re deeply in the thick of it?

Sandra Kwak: My hope is that it’s not going to be a linear process at all, that we’re going to hit some type of quantum wormhole where even leapfrog implies that you’re going along this trajectory. There’s a linear trajectory and you’re going from point A to point C or D, but I think what we really need to do at this point to avoid planetary catastrophe is go from point A to feta times 9,000, right? Like go on a completely new trajectory for development. I’m reading a book called Emergent Strategy right now, and thinking about how our actions on the interpersonal, our individual actions, how we live our lives, how we relate to other beings is a mirror, is a fractal for how our actions reverberate into larger and larger systems. And the incredibly complex systems that make up the natural worlds are actually just the amalgamation of many, many small and simple interactions.

Sandra Kwak: That’s really been an inspiration for me right now, thinking about how we can refine and do everything that we do on a day to day basis with kindness and care, both on the large scale about my dreams for creating a global company that’s actually a movement, is providing renewable energy, clean drinking water, gender empowerment, prosperity, which doesn’t even necessarily have to be linked to this idea that we need to constantly perpetuate economic growth, but rather what does prosperity mean in terms of having enough and being able to provide for ourselves and our families and our communities in a way that’s not destructive to the planet. Providing access to education, helping to support amazing initiatives that are going on in terms of healthcare and composting and urban agriculture, and really demonstrating that humans can be a regenerative force for the planet. That’s my big picture goal. That’s my dream. And then on a day to day level is just trying to do everything with kindness and care and making sure that we’re being intentional in our actions and hopefully creating a vibration that can reverberate around the world and into the future.

Vicki Saunders: Well, I literally have nothing else to say after that. That was truly inspiring and it’s exactly where we need to go and to be a regenerative species is a dream and hopefully we can all make that come true. So, thank you very much for your time. Thank you for the work you’re doing. Thank you for using your leadership to work on the world’s to do list. We really appreciate it.

Sandra Kwak: Thank you, Vicki, and thank you for all the support that SheEO has provided to 10Power. It’s really an amazing community to be part of and I’m super grateful for all the lady bosses and the network. It’s been really an incredible… The SheEO loan came in at a time of need for 10Power, and the incredible support, above and beyond the financial that this network has provided has really helped us to grow. I’m so grateful to you for your vision and everything that you’ve provided to the SheEO network.

Vicki Saunders: Well, right back at you. It takes a village. So, thank you, thank you, thank you. We’ll share the link to your website, and do you have an ask to sort of end this off if there’s… Is there anything that you would like listeners to be doing or thinking as they walk away from this podcast?

Sandra Kwak: We are actually launching a donor-advised fund right now. So, what I’ve found is that in the social impact entrepreneurship space, 10Power’s kind of been a little bit on the bleeding edge. So, when we were first getting started, there wasn’t a lot of early stage capital, and now three years later we’re seeing that there’s a lot of accelerators that are popping up and some early stage social impact funds, which is awesome for the ecosystem. Now that we are at growth stage and we’re looking for our next round of capital, we’re finding that there’s kind of this conundrum. There’s still a lot of more conservative capital that doesn’t want to take on a lot of risk, but we’ve also discovered that there is a ton of philanthropic money that’s sitting in donor advised funds that oftentimes philanthropies have just invested in traditional capital markets, which are oftentimes creating the problems that the 1% of philanthropy is trying to fix. Really hypocritical.

Sandra Kwak: So, what we are doing right now is we are creating a donor-advised fund specifically for renewable energy access so that a lot of this money that’s sitting in regular capital and markets can actually be invested in solving the same types of problems that philanthropy is trying to solve. And so we’ve created an investment instrument where the organization impact assets that is holding the donor-advised fund is a 501(c)(3). So, investors can get tax write offs equivalent to contributing to a philanthropic organization, but then impact assets in turn can invest the capital into organizations like 10Power, which is a B Corp for profit into organizations like native renewables and put that money to work, solving problems. So, the structure that we’ve created will be a risk underwriting fund. So, that capital can get recycled again and again and again because it’s simply going to be underwriting the risk inherent in the Haitian market and allowing more conservative money to come in on top of those investments.

Sandra Kwak: Ideal world, if nothing goes wrong, that money could be reused 10 or 20 times. So, it’s outsized impacts for the donors to the fund as opposed to a one-time grants, and we’re really hoping to open source this so that other organizations can use it as well. So, to create a pathway for other social impact organizations who are at our stage to be able to raise capital, to take this term sheet to investors, to philanthropists, to foundations. And I would love to talk with anybody who is interested in the donor-advised fund, either as a donor who’s interested in getting more information, helping with publicity, helping to connect with foundations, and so that’s my ask for right now.

Vicki Saunders: The donor-advised fund marketplace, having capital in flow like our perpetual fund at SheEO, this is exactly the kind of mechanisms we need for people that want strong social and financial impact. And so we’ll make sure we link in the podcast to this, and thank you again for the work that you do and for sticking with us and finding all kinds of innovative ways to solve the massive holistic challenge that you’ve undertaken. Thank you.

Sandra Kwak: My pleasure. Thank you, Vicki.

Vicki Saunders: Thank you. Cheers.

Sandra Kwak: Take care.
Speaker 3: Thank you for listening to the SheEO.world podcast. If this conversation resonated with you, please share it with a friend and subscribe on your favorite podcast player. If you’d like more information about SheEO, please visit us SheEO.world. That’s S-H-E-E-O dot world.

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