Food Finance Specialist
Elizabeth's work focuses on connecting sustainable food- and ag-based businesses with capital. She is currently working on a guide to help entrepreneurs navigate the complex and ever-evolving world of financing options, from traditional debt and venture capital, to community-supported models, non-voting preferred stock, private-label CDs, crowd-funding... and the list goes on! During the three years she served on the staff of RSF Social Finance, Elizabeth authored a report on sustainable agriculture investing for the Rockefeller Impact Investing Network (now the Global Impact Investing Network) and served as lead product development manager for the RSF PRI Fund in Food & Agriculture. This innovative fund allows foundations to leverage their philanthropic dollars through Program-Related Investing (PRI), even if they lack the in-house expertise to find and evaluate eligible projects, or the systems to service and monitor loans over time. As a Network Development Manager at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Elizabeth helped local networks of independently-owned businesses share tools and resources related to local food systems and community capital. Prior to that, she spent two years as project manager of Slow Money, developing a model and business plan for an investment fund that would address the needs of early stage food and agricultural ventures at the forefront of the sustainable agriculture movement; she also helped facilitate several early Slow Money network meetings. At the time, Slow Money was a WK Kellogg Foundation-supported project of Investors' Circle, a network of angel investors, professional venture capitalists, foundations and family offices who are using private capital to promote the transition to a sustainable economy. While at Investors' Circle, Elizabeth also coordinated the food-related educational programming for three national conferences. The daughter of two immigrants who came to the US from different countries and different class backgrounds, Elizabeth is committed to social justice in its myriad forms; it was her passion for the outdoors that originally inspired her interest in engaged citizenship and ecological stewardship. Elizabeth currently serves on the planning committee of Making Money Make Change, Resource Generation's conference for young people with wealth who want to use their privilege to effect social change, and on the advisory committees of CA Farmlink and New Spirit Ventures, both of which connect beginning and experienced farmers to financial resources. A Food & Society Fellow, Elizabeth holds a BS in Geography from McGill University and an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School, where she was a member of the Pioneer Cohort and the board of trustees. Her other professional roles include statistician, wildlife technician, and hydrologist; she also founded and operated a publishing company until its sale in 2002. She fondly remembers her first season farming on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, in 1996, and in 2007 she interned at Gospel Flat Farm in her current home town of Bolinas, CA.