Featuring purpose-driven leaders who are making a meaningful impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Craig Jonas, and I’m the CEO and founder of CoPeace. I am a lifelong entrepreneur with success across business, academic, and athletic industries. I have more than 30 years of experience in management with a passion for team-building and drawing individuals with big ideas together. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I finally feel like I am there!
CoPeace is an impact holding company, a first-of-its-kind in the impact investing space. We are building a portfolio of carefully-screened, for-profit companies that are achieving measurable social and/or environmental impact while providing competitive returns to investors in all communities.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I have had quite the zig-zag life to this point. I lived in India growing up and my parents were very social-justice-minded. I came up with a concept I called “interdependent flux” while an undergrad at Carleton College, but it took a long time to finalize the CoPeace concept.
I caught the entrepreneur bug during my Ph.D. program and have never turned back. I founded CoPeace in 2018 as a Public Benefit Corporation after serving as COO of Basketball Travelers and BTI Event, a sports event management and media conglomerate, for over 20 years. Sport has provided a lot of cross-sector experiences in media, education, business operation, travel, event management, and leadership.
I’ve always had a passion for bringing true impact to global sport, supporting the idea that sports can bring cultures and people closer together. I was one of the first American coaches to travel to South Africa post-apartheid to host basketball clinics for local youth. I also represented the United States at the International Olympic Academy in Greece after earning national basketball “Coach of the Year” honors.
Previously, I served as vice president for business development for the broadcast media technology firm, Sportvision, best known for bringing revolutionary visual enhancements to live sports broadcasts, including American football’s yellow first-down line and baseball’s virtual strike zone.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
We want to build socially-impactful, inclusive wealth for all people. As the inequality of our world continues to grow, we want to provide vehicles and education for communities that have traditionally not had access to the equity game. We believe capitalism should be for the betterment of the world and humanity. The current global capitalism structure prioritizes profits over people and the planet. We offer a different option – one in which the environment and society are on equal footing with profits. Our mission is to make long-term impact investing available to everyone, regardless of background, race, gender, or income level.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
CoPeace provides an affordable, and direct, investment option, prioritizing long-term impact, while not surrendering competitive financial returns. As a holding company, we utilize investor capital to purchase controlling interest in complementary, purpose-driven holdings. Our unique investment approach creates a direct path for nearly anyone to participate in impact investing, including communities often overlooked in traditional investing.
Our capital is deployed for our sustainable, for-profit holdings, which are addressing critical social and environmental problems in the world today, including infrastructure, waste management, financial opportunity, and others. The good news is that we are seeing a lot of potential holdings that are doing good things for the world.
As a Certified B Corp and registered Public Benefit Corporation, CoPeace meets the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
I spent many years working on projects that I was excited and passionate about, but none of them really fed my soul. I have two adult sons now, and I reflect more and more on the world I will leave behind for them and their generation. I view CoPeace as the culmination of my experiences and the legacy I want to leave on this world.
I have been extremely fortunate to have amazing parents and a friends and family network that has supported our mission. We are standing on the shoulders of incredible giants in the impact space, like Jed Emerson, author of The Purpose of Capital.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Changing “the investing game” to provide vehicles that democratize access to building impact-driven equity. Our vision is to create inclusive, socially-impactful wealth for all people.
Direct impact investment options are not equally accessible to all potential investors. Currently, no services exist for everyday consumers to invest in the impact space without a strong understanding of the industry, financial literacy, and personal wealth. In fact, until now only accredited investors could take part in investment opportunities like this. CoPeace is determined to change that.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
In bringing impact investing to the general population, we face challenges with educating first-time investors about the process and terminology. We view education and thought leadership as essential to our culture and success in bringing new people into the equity community.
More recently, the ongoing pandemic has caused obvious challenges, but we are fortunate to have already been established as a remote organization, so did not have to face a large overhaul in our processes.
We are also a very diverse, young team that stays engaged with current events and social issues. This year’s expanded focus and demand for racial justice, as well as climate crisis solutions, weighs on our world and our young team.
That being said, we think the timing of all these challenges intersects with our CoPeace model and vision. It is an opportunity to create a sustainable system and world, which can provide equity and opportunity for all people.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
It is a good business decision to care about the long-term future of our world. We have an incredible team to help bring about real change.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
“Be quick, don’t hurry,” Coach John Wooden, a wise leader and my friend. Good advice for sport as well as building a new venture.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
You can invest in CoPeace or learn more about the work we are doing on our WeFunder page.
Orapin Marketing + Public Relations helps purpose-driven companies increase awareness and become sought-after for their work and expertise. We believe those who are working to make a difference in the world deserve to be known, supported, and celebrated. If you would like to be featured in INSPIRED IMPACT™, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.