2019 Grunin Prize Finalists

Lawyers play a critical role in designing, implementing, and advancing models by which economic and social activity are conducted globally.  The Grunin Center administers the award of an annual Grunin Prize for Law and Social Entrepreneurship to recognize lawyers’ participation in the ways in which business is increasingly advancing the goals of sustainability and human development.

The Grunin Prize aims to reward the innovation, replicability and/or scalability, and potential impact of projects and solutions developed by lawyers to advance the fields of social entrepreneurship and impact investing. 

This year, the Grunin Prize attracted nominations from across the globe, which are representative of the extraordinary legal community of practice that is emerging in this field.  The Grunin Center is delighted to announce below the six finalists for the 2019 Grunin Prize!

The final Judging Panel, composed of NYU Law representatives and industry experts, will convene in June to determine the 2019 Grunin Prize winner – meet the judges here.  The 2019 Grunin Prize will be awarded at a special ceremony on June 4, 2019 at 5:30pm ET in New York City. This ceremony will take place as part of the annual IILWG/Grunin Center conference, “Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing—in the U.S. and Beyond” at NYU School of Law. To attend, register here.

Congratulations to the 2019 finalists!


Blended Finance Structure for a Multi-Strategy Investment Fund  

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Nominated legal team: Chintan Panchal, Founding Partner; Heather Eisenlord, Partner; Joshua Teitelbaum, Senior Counsel; and Adhiti Gupta, Associate.

The project: A multi-strategy impact fund structure for Circulate Capital designed to allow the fund manager to benefit from a USAID Development Credit Authority (DCA) loan guarantee program by using a split debt/equity waterfall with an internal reserve to comply with the DCA’s requirement that the taxpayers’ dollars not be utilized to subsidize returns of the limited partners. This structure also works in tandem with a grant funded technical assistance facility for incubation and ecosystem building activities.


Community-Based Direct Public Offering for Nonprofit Organization

Nominated legal team: John Katovich, President; Kim Arnone, Principal; and Brian Beckon, Principal.

The project: A Direct Public Offering (DPO) for TechSoup that marks the first time the Securities and Exchange Commission has qualified a nonprofit to raise funds nationally through a Regulation A+/Tier 2 offering, allowing TechSoup to offer its securities in all U.S. states, territories, and in Canada. The TechSoup DPO represents a form of securities offering for all types of issuers that aims to increase economic connectivity to their communities, open investments to all, and foster a more fair and democratic form of capitalism. 


Forest Resilience Bond

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Nominated legal team: Neil Golden, Partner; Devin Canavan, Managing Associate; Rene Kathawala, Pro Bono Counsel; Perry Teicher, Impact Finance Attorney; Torsten Marshall, Retired Lawyer and Former Partner; Stephen Spitz, Partner; Stephen Ashley, Partner; Maria Bergenhem, Associate; John Narducci, Partner; Lina Thoreson, Counsel; and Sue Chang, Associate.

The project: The Forest Resilience Bond (FRB) is an innovative financing vehicle that enables private capital to finance much-needed forest restoration and resilience across the western U.S. The FRB was designed to enable larger investments by allowing multiple beneficiaries to repay the investment and having repayment include yearly cash flow streams more compatible for fixed income investors.


Insurance to Crowd in Equity Investors into Impact Investment Funds Supported by OPIC

Nominated lawyer: Tom Brunner, Retired, Partner

The project: Designed and placed in the insurance market novel insurance that protects impact investment fund investors from potential losses due to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) priority in receiving fund distributions and thereby helps make OPIC participation in such funds possible.


Perpetual Purpose Trust

Nominated lawyer: Christopher Michael, Attorney

The project: The Perpetual Purpose Trust is an alternative ownership structure designed to offer a low-cost, streamlined and perpetual form of ownership that enables a company to embed its mission into its legal DNA and allows it to include multiple stakeholder groups in its governance and profit-sharing structures. In the case of employee-owned businesses, the Perpetual Purpose Trust also provides an alternative to the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that is not governed by Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).


Veterans CARE Project

Nominated lawyers:  Navjeet K. Bal, Managing Director and General Counsel, and Leslie Cornell, Associate General Counsel.

The project: The Veterans CARE project is the first Social Impact Bond dedicated to serving our nation’s Veterans. This unique public-private partnership brings together impact investors and multiple jurisdictions (VA, Massachusetts, Boston and NYC) to scale a proven, employment-first model and to support Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to achieve economic stability.