Entering text into the input field will update the search result below

Book Reviews: 'Raise Capital On Your Own Terms' And 'Pursuing Profit With Purpose: Benefit Corporation Law And Governance'

Dec. 08, 2017 8:26 AM ET
Hazel Henderson profile picture
Hazel Henderson


  • Lawyer Jenny Kassan guides startups beyond the venture capital maze to find investors that match their social purpose.
  • Lawyer Frederick H. Alexander guides mission-driven enterprises on how to become Benefit Corporations, so as to focus on their social purpose.
  • These two books will guide legacy asset allocators through these emerging trends that are disrupting traditional finance.

Raise Capital on Your Own Terms, Jenny Kassan, Berrett-Koehler, 2017

Pursuing Profit With Purpose: Benefit Corporation Law and Governance, Frederick H. Alexander, Berrett-Koehler, 2018

Lawyer Jenny Kassan's Raise Capital on Your Own Terms provides the best roundup yet on how to fund your business without selling your soul. After her early work for Ralph Nader's Center for the Study of Responsive Law, Jenny graduated from Yale Law School and earned her master's degree at UC Berkeley with a fellowship from the National Science Foundation. She went on to co-found and run Cutting Edge Capital which helps social enterprises raise capital and now heads her own Certified Benefit Corporation and has raised millions of dollars for the non-profit investment fund, Force for Good.

Kassan outlines her six-step process for raising capital compatible with your company's social purpose:

  1. Get Clear on Your Goals and Values
  2. Identify the Right Investors for You
  3. Design Your Offer
  4. Choose Your Legal Compliance Strategy
  5. Enroll Investors
  6. Address Obstacles Head On

Kassan has provided a welcome peek into the way capitalism itself is evolving now that ethical, green, impact and ESG-focused socially-responsible investing has gone mainstream, as described in The Economist "Ethical Investing Hottest New Trend", September 23, 2017.

In Pursuing Profit With Purpose: Benefit Law and Governance, Frederick H. Alexander describes the evolution of this popular corporate charter which specifies how broader social returns are recognized beyond the conventional goal of maximizing financial returns to shareholders.

In reality, companies' managements have always had leeway within this ironclad mandate to maximize shareholders' financial returns. In fact, as described by Cornell University Law Professor Lynn Stout in The Shareholder Value Myth (2012), this misconception grew because University of Chicago economists, including Milton Friedman, did not fully understand the legal basis of shareholding, i.e.: a shareholder does not actually own a piece of a

This article was written by

Hazel Henderson profile picture
Hazel Henderson D.Sc.Hon., FRSA, is the founder of Ethical Markets Media, Certified B Corporation and producer of its TV series. She is a world-renowned futurist, evolutionary economist, a worldwide syndicated columnist, consultant on sustainable development, and author of The Axiom and Nautilus award-winning book Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy (2006) and eight other books. Her editorials appear in Wall Street International Magazine and many other media partners, including Other News, and her book reviews appear on SeekingAlpha.com. Her articles have appeared in over 250 journals, including (in the USA) Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor; and Challenge, Mainichi (Japan), El Diario (Venezuela), World Economic Herald (China), LeMonde Diplomatique (France) and Australian Financial Review. Since becoming a full-time media executive in 2004, Hazel has stepped down from many of her board memberships, including Calvert Social Investment Fund (1982-2005), the Social Investment Forum and the Social Venture Network. She has been Regent's Lecturer at the University of California-Santa Barbara, Horace Albright Chair in Conservation at the University of California-Berkeley, and advised the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Science Foundation from 1974 to 1980. She remains on the International Council of the Instituto Ethos de Empresas e Responsabilidade Social, Sao Paulo, Brasil; serves on the Program Council of FORUM 2000, Prague, Czechoslovakia, founded by the late President Vaclav Havel; is a World Business Academy Fellow; an active member of the National Press Club (Washington DC), and a member of the Association for Evolutionary Economics. She is an Honorary Member of the Club of Rome. She shared the 1996 Global Citizen Award with Nobelist A. Perez Esquivel of Argentina. In 2007, she was elected a Fellow to Britain’s Royal Society of Arts, founded in 1754. She leads the Transforming Finance initiative, created the Green Transition Scoreboard®, co-developed with Calvert the GDP alternative renamed the Ethical Markets Quality of Life Indicators, co-organized the Beyond GDP conference for the European Commission, and funded three Beyond GDP surveys, finding strong support worldwide for ESG metrics in national accounting. In 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014, she was honored as a "Top 100 Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business Behavior" by Trust Across America. In 2012, she was honored with the Reuters Award for Outstanding Contribution to Development of ESG & Investing at TBLI Europe. In 2013, she was inducted into the International Society of Sustainability Professionals Hall of Fame.  Her 2014 monograph, Mapping the Global Transition to the Solar Age, published by ICAEW and Tomorrow’s Company, UK, is available for free download from www.ethicalmarkets.com.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

Recommended For You


Disagree with this article? Submit your own. To report a factual error in this article, . Your feedback matters to us!
To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, please enable Javascript and cookies in your browser.
Is this happening to you frequently? Please report it on our feedback forum.
If you have an ad-blocker enabled you may be blocked from proceeding. Please disable your ad-blocker and refresh.