Something Bigger Than Myself

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Dec 18, 2016 2:27:00 PM


Coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo: these high-quality and award-winning beans have been colorfully described as having “a very easy-to-like personality and unthreatening complexity.” But aside from the country’s coffee, so much in the DRC is, in fact, threatening — and at the same time complex.

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Topics: East Africa, Peace & Recovery, Leadership, Impact Assessment, Risk Management

The Efficient Impact Frontier: New Tools to Allocate Capital for Impact

Posted by Mike McCreless  |  Dec 6, 2016 9:24:19 AM


Root Capital, like many impact investors, operates in the gray area between traditional philanthropy and mainstream commercial markets. As a mission-focused lender, the organization serves the financial needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises—a Fair trade coffee cooperative in Uganda or an association of women quinoa producers in Bolivia, for example.

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Topics: Impact Assessment, Risk Management

Taking You Behind the Scenes of Our 2,000 Loans

Posted by Lauren Baum  |  Mar 17, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Lots of interesting facts include the number 2,000. Did you know, for instance, that there are 2,000 varieties of rice? Or that there are 2,000 coffee shops in Seattle? 

It’s a very exciting day for us because today we get to add our own fact to this list: As of today, Root Capital has officially disbursed 2,000 loans to small and growing agricultural businesses throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America!

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Topics: Central America, Root Capital, Risk Management

Introducing Peter Bernard, Root Capital’s New Chief Operating Officer

Posted by Lauren Baum  |  Mar 1, 2016 2:02:42 PM


Peter Bernard, second from left, with his wife Susan, far right, and the Root Capital team in Senegal


Today, Peter Bernard joins Root Capital as our first chief operating officer.

A Wall Street veteran who most recently served as the chief risk officer at the global investment firm D.E. Shaw & Company, Peter is coming on board to lead Root Capital’s finance, lending, risk, advisory services, and talent functions.

Peter has been a part of the Root Capital family for quite some time, serving as a member of our board of directors from 2011 until just last week when he participated in his final meeting as a member, serving as vice chair. He and Root Capital Founder and CEO Willy Foote recently had an opportunity to chat about the evolution of Peter’s role at Root Capital and what to expect as Peter takes the helm as our first COO.

An edited transcript of their conversation is below.

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Topics: Leadership, Root Capital, Risk Management

Introducing Our Risk Appetite Project

Posted by Darcy Salinger  |  Sep 9, 2015 11:22:55 AM

At its very core, the business of lending centers around taking a risk based on an expected return.

At Root Capital, we’re about taking the risk that investing in small and growing businesses in rural areas is good business because of the economic return, and more importantly because of the social and environmental returns that it generates. However, understanding the right level of risk to achieve the impact we seek is key to our success. 

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Topics: Root Capital, Risk Management

Managing Risk – All Part of a Day’s Work

Posted by Darcy Salinger  |  Aug 12, 2015 12:31:56 PM


Photo credit:

Credit risk: the potential that a borrower will fail to meet its contractual obligation to make a payment. Credit risk exists with every loan, and at Root Capital, our number one job is to manage that risk while investing in environmentally and socially responsible enterprises that build better livelihoods for smallholder farmers around the globe.

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Topics: Risk Management