I noticed this article about the number of women-owned businesses in Maine falling and thought that would be a good opportunity to explain why Evergreen being woman-owned is so important to me. As the article notes, census data (which lags a bit) showed that: “The number of companies nationwide owned by women increased 2.8 percent in 2016 over the previous year, but slid 1.8 percent in Maine.” The article is inconclusive as to the reason for the decrease, but suggests demographic shifts in the aging population may be a factor.
In the philanthropic space, we have seen another shift that is relevant to women. More and more American women are ending their careers with more invest-able wealth than ever in history. This is the result of two factors. First, more women are working in more senior professional positions and are, as a result, accumulating their own wealth. Second, women outlive men, which means that married couple who accumulate wealth – whether with one bread-winner or two – may ultimately result in a woman making decisions about how it is invested.
Development professionals use the term ‘invest’ in both its classic sense – investing to achieve a financial profit – and in the industry context – donating money to help advance a cause. I recently sat down with a senior professional of US Trust, the wealth management arm of Bank of America, and heard about their approach to ‘impact investing’ where they invest client funds in companies that assiduously avoid harm and specifically advance important causes. A few of their approaches focus on: socially-innovative investing; women and girls equality; human rights & recognition; and environmental stewardship & sustainability. (See more at: https://www.ustrust.com/solutions/individuals-families/impact-investing.html) An approach like this may be appealing to a woman who gets to a point in her life where her investment interests change from solely being focused on profit generation and take on a greater imperative to impact social causes.
The article also mentions Maine Angels and the Northern New England Women’s Investor Network. Investment circles like these teach women the due diligence skills to assess prospective investments and then coordinates them in a regional-based group to make collective decisions about investment proposals by other women. Financial education is becoming more and more important for women as their role in investment decision-making increases.
Evergreen is a woman-owned consulting firm. It is based around my 25-year investment in various roles within the philanthropic space and I leverage that to help my clients achieve their philanthropic goals. While I have the advantage of support from my husband and others, I own 100% of it and I am the final risk accepter, decision maker, and brand ambassador. I hope when future statistics become available, we see a trend toward more woman-owned businesses, investors, and decision makers.