Beth Bafford is a 2012 graduate of the Daytime MBA Program. Prior to enrolling at Fuqua, she worked for UBS Financial Services and the Obama administration on the Affordable Care Act and healthcare reform. After Fuqua, she worked at McKinsey and Company consulting in the healthcare sector and now works at the Calvert Foundation, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing debt capital to organizations serving underserved communities in the US and abroad.
Why did you choose to come to Fuqua?
I choose to come to Fuqua because of CASE. I wanted to understand the intersection between the private sector and the social sector after getting a little bit of both from my previous experiences. I knew I wanted to attend a business school with a strong program in social entrepreneurship that not only had programming and academic classes in the field, but also a great cohort of students who also cared about this the social impact space. When I visited Fuqua, I met students who shared similar interests. Getting to hear about their journeys, backgrounds, and experiences CASE provided them allowed me to realize Fuqua was the best fit for me.
Tell us about your current organization. What is the impact your organization is seeking to have?
I currently work at Calvert Foundation. It is an impact debt fund that raises fixed income capital from retail investors for organizations that cannot access capital from traditional sources. We have raised over a billion dollars from investors who care about impact. We then take that funding and lend to organizations – both non-profits and for-profits in the U.S. and internationally – that are doing great work on the ground in the communities they serve. For example, we lend to community development organizations who are building community facilities, affordable housing, carrying out small business lending – work that is critical for communities but difficult to access capital from traditional financial institutions.
As an organization, we are trying to bring impact investing – the concept of investing with your values – to everyday Americans. Using the Community Retail Note, we can both educate and provide a tangible way for people to learn about investing with their values and investing in social good. We really take that mandate to heart – how do we reach everyday Americans to get them to understand that each dollar that sits in their savings account has power in it and that there is a way to invest that money into the things they care about, whether it’s community development, women’s economics empowerment, or health? We want to put more power into those assets.
How did your Fuqua experience influence you and your career?
I learned tremendously while I was at Fuqua. Some of the most important and useful experiences for me were the experiential learning opportunities I received through CASE, the MBA Net Impact Club, and Fuqua. For example, through Fuqua on Board, I learned about public governance. I was also actively involved with CASEi3: the CASE Initiative on Impact Investing.
CASEi3 was the first program at a top business school to examine the field of impact investing and to understand what role an academic institution can play in the field. Cathy Clark and the CASE i3 team have done a great job at crafting the program to straddle the academics to practice in ways few others have mastered. The program’s ability to balance and speak to both audiences has been hugely beneficial for the students, including myself, and also for the field. I believe it’s the best program in the country and I’m proud to be a part of it.