The Heartland Capital Strategy to Rebuild America: Investing in Renewed Prosperity

By Tom Croft, Managing Director, HCS

Looking Ahead to 2015 

Happy New Year!  With the outstanding leadership and invaluable support of our Heartland Sponsors and Steering Council members, we had a great year at Heartland.

  • Heartland RoadShows and Capital Roundtables: The year was book-ended by the incredible Los Angeles RoadShow, an adjunct to the national AFL-CIO Convention, and the Boston Capital Roundtable Luncheon.  The Boston Capital Roundtable is setting the table for an innovative prospective collaboration with Boston’s Mayor to provide a source of responsible capital to worthy projects and companies in the city and region.
  • New Book:  Heartland was commissioned by the AFL-CIO and our sponsors to author a new Responsible Investment Guidebook.  This anticipated document is designed to explain to trustees and capital stewards the importance of responsible investments.
  • New Social Media Dispatches:  We've improved our social media platform, now sending weekly digital Heartland E-Journals (via the popular Thursday Morning Espresso) and we will work toward expanding our broadcasting presence in earned and social media.
  • Growing Coalition and Capacity:  We've attracted new sponsors and members over the last year, and worked to develop new sponsorship commitments.   Please join Heartland as a sponsor in 2015!

This coming year looks very promising.  2015 represents the fourth year of our renewed Heartland program.  Here are the highlights of our mutual work from last year and since the 2012 re-launch. Thanks again to all of you who have joined us on the road or pitched in to help us in this great cause.  Let us know how we’re doing.


Remembering Jeff Rickert

By Tom Croft

It’ll be Christmas soon.  We wanted to take a pause from our regular articles to remember Jeff Rickert, who left us recently.  This is a short note to Jeff and all his friends.

Our dear friend Jeff Rickert passed away on December 4, 2014 at age 42.  He died too soon, and his sudden passing shocked and deeply saddened his friends and me.  He was a sweet guy, with a quick smile and nervous laugh, and he invested his life in the labor movement, helping others.  

For those of you who joined us in the Heartland RoadShows, you might not have noticed that Jeff was at many, including Atlanta, LA, Philadelphia, maybe others.  The reason that you might not have noticed was that Jeff was awkwardly shy in large events.  He rarely RSVP’d, leading to an ongoing joke about whether Jeff would show up or not.  He deeply supported our work—and our aim of mobilizing workers’ capital to renew America.  But Marco or I usually had to call him out to get him to speak up. 

Jeff actually had something to say, but he tended to put his words into action, going back to his time in college. As an undergrad at George Washington University (GW), he started the Neighbors Project connecting students with community service and received GW’s Martin Luther King Community Service award. 

Jeff attended grad school at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and studied under Joel Rogers.   He earned a Masters of Science in Economic Sociology while there, and also worked at Joel’s Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS).  He began his many years of extensive study – of society, labor, and various industries –during these years. 

I met Jeff when he was the Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Apollo Alliance (started by Joel and the Campaign for America’s Future), where he served from 2003 to 2007.  Apollo, now a part of the Blue/Green Alliance, was a clean energy coalition of more than 300 cross sector groups devoted to building the green economy.


White Paper on Sustainable Infrastructure

By Hakan Mustafa and Roy Sengupta

Infrastructure touches every aspect of our lives. A well maintained public infrastructure system is essential to the economy and wellbeing of a country. A significant portion of Canada’s current infrastructure was built during the post-World War II period, between the 1950s and 1970s. With an expected utility period of approximately 40 to 50 years, Canada’s infrastructure is showing signs of age and decline. Today, both the infrastructure and the institutional framework that funds and finances these assets in Canada are in need of repair.  Michael Fenn aptly notes that: “[o]ur current prosperity and quality of life stand on the shoulders of past investments and past visionaries” (Recycling Ontario’s Assets, 2014).


Case Study of the West Coast Exchange (WCX)

By Heather Hachigian 

The case study begins by identifying the broader challenges related to financing public infrastructure in Canada and the US. The next section considers how the WCX can contribute to matching public infrastructure with long-term sources of private capital. The study concludes with consideration for the challenges facing the WCX and lessons that are relevant for similar initiatives. In particular, it finds that an independent governance framework is important for keeping unwarranted political interference at bay. The case also underscores the importance of maintaining focus on attracting the right type of investors and engaging relevant public and private stakeholders to establish and maintain legitimacy. 


©2015 Heartland Capital Strategies