Our Approach

We are guided by the idea that capitalism is a powerful & effective system, and when integrated with the core elements such as trust, compassion, collaboration and shared value creation, we can create good while generating profits.

Our theory of change directs all our work to ensure our daily activities give way to measurable outcomes and ultimately move us closer to our end impact of realizing a critical mass of capital shifted from traditional finance to impact investing.

Our History

Gratitude Railroad was founded in 2013 by Howard Fischer and Eric Jacobsen after attending the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative. Howard, a hedge fund CEO, and Eric, a tech entrepreneur and private equity investor, developed Gratitude Railroad to transform traditional capitalism into a force for solving critical environmental and social problems. Together, they envisioned building a community that supported Gratitude Railroad and was committed to bettering the world.

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  1. Howard and Eric met at Harvard ALI

  2. The first Investor Retreat convenes a handful of mission-aligned investors with big visions

  3. Gratitude Railroad, LLC is established

  4. The Builders Fund is launched as a growth stage private equity fund investing in high-growth, purpose-driven companies

  5. Gratitude Railroad Ventures begins early-stage investing in a portfolio of businesses that tackle critical environmental and social problems

  6. GRR Dinner Series begins as a means to more regularly convene and catalyze impact investing communities across the US

  7. Gratitude Investment Partners is launched to increase the pool of capital dedicated to achieving GRR’s mission and investment philosophy

  8. Blackdirt Capital is launched as regenerative grass-fed beef production

  9. Blackdirt Farms is launched as an operational business to develop farmland, real asset, and value chain based investment strategies in the U.S. sustainable agriculture sector

  10. Gratitude Investor Retreat is established as a nationally-recognized impact investment convening

  11. GRR makes a strategic investment in Align Impact, an independent, specialized impact advisory firm that serves with individuals, families, foundations, and their financial advisors

  12. Atlas Impact Partners is launched as a long-short absolute return strategy hedge fund designed to capture investment opportunity at the nexus of innovation, disruption, and impact

What We Do

Build Investor Community

Educate Investors

We engage traditional investors to explore the practice and concept of conscious capitalism. We help investors develop and improve their knowledge, resources and connections to shift capital into impact investments.

Convene Gatherings

We gather regularly as a community across the US to host discussions about key social and environmental issues and identify investment opportunities as actionable solutions.

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Grow the Ecosystem

Collaborate with Partners

We develop collaborations with various ecosystem builders to co-create movement toward the shared vision of refocusing capitalism as a force for good.

Catalyze the Capital Shift

We build cooperative relationships with financial intermediaries to develop impact investing infrastructure and thereby jumpstart awareness and capital flows.

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Make Impact Investments

Seed Investment Managers

We seek out and support investment managers who bring deep experience from the 'traditional' capital markets, and the passion and capability to build an institutional grade investment platform delivering top tier returns and positive impact.

Direct Venture Capital

We manage a portfolio of early-stage investments, execute opportunistic co-investments with our community, and create special purpose vehicles for unique or larger assets.

View Our Portfolio

A commitment to these principles guides our work:

Transparency | openly sharing both successes and failures, because we will all benefit from our mutual learningss

Collaboration | using a help-first mindset, because we realize that we can’t make meaningful progress on major societal challenges unless we work collectively with those who share in our vision

Experimentation | endeavoring to break trail, because innovation necessitates iterative ideas - even if they are messy!

Diligence | maintaining a careful and steadfast rigor in our work, because a commitment to excellence and expanding our knowledge will strengthen both our mission and community

Gratitude | appreciating the goodness in the world, tangible and intangible, because we aspire to connect to something larger than ourselves; to others, to nature, and to that which has yet to be created