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Annie Lennox to Narrate Documentary centered around Haitian Artist Frankétienne, 2009 Nobel Prize candidate.


 Annie Lennox to Narrate Documentary centered around

Haitian Artist Frankétienne, 2009 Nobel Prize candidate.

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NEW YORK, N.Y.  The New York based Haitian Cultural Foundation is proud to announce that internationally celebrated recording artist and activist ANNIE LENNOX will serve as principal narrator for the powerful, moving, and inspiring documentary film In the Eye of the Spiral.

The film, now raising money on Indiegogo, features seven of Haiti’s most prominent living artists, among whom 2009 Nobel Prize candidate Frankétienne, and proposes a truly new narrative for Haiti – a long-embattled country steeped in vitality and built in no small part on the courageousness of the creative spirit.

Continue reading Annie Lennox to Narrate Documentary centered around Haitian Artist Frankétienne, 2009 Nobel Prize candidate.

Ecological Civilization Design Will Win

Whoever is best able to prove their capability to steward ecology and community for their citizens will emerge as the leader of the free world in this century. All financial value is a derivative of the natural world. Financial and social health are a function of the health of the natural world.

The two leading candidates for leaders of the free world right now are Bolivia and Ecuador, with the rights of nature and community enshrined Constitutionally along with private property at par. Not surprisingly, the indigenous perspective on property represented by the leadership of these countries is experiencing a global reawakening, along with ideas like collaborative commons, shareability and non-numeric values and currency.

What gives America and the West a chance at leadership is its legacy of opportunity for all and entrepreneurship. Our multicultural heritage and openness remains the world’s most advanced developed country melting pot. To the extent that we pair that with ecological and community stewardship, America will continue to be both beacon and destination.The alternative is too fearsome to contemplate.

Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers IPO Shows Power of Impact Investments

Vitamin Cottage’s Natural Grocers blows out of the IPO gate this summer with spectacular performance and quality. ESG outperformer par excellence.

Quiet but powerful, the Vitamin Cottage IPO has shown the staying power of the LOHAS community’s business acumen, strength and vitality. In contrast to Facebook, the stock (NGVC) is up 10% over last week’s IPO debut and is resting on a 1.88 P/E ratio, earning over ten dollars a share.

We may be in favor of steady state economics, but we believe the growth of organic grocers will come at the expense of GMO and chemical agriculture and personal products. This type of economic replacement is healthy for the economy, society and planet.

Investing in a Balanced and Beautiful World for All

We are strategic consultants at the nexus of nature, culture, policy and finance.

We design and manifest healthy and thriving planetary civilizations.

We provide research, analysis, capital introduction, product design, and public relations solutions for investors, policy makers and social entrepreneurs in all asset classes. We holistically envision and design portfolios with a focus on quality of life, balancing recognition for different cultural values and return profiles.

Clients and collaborators include Credit Suisse | Nura Health | Hip Hop for Humanity  | Slow Money | Inflection Point Capital  | E3 Bank | Like Minds | Instiglio | Sourcemap | Startup NectarMission Markets | | Greenmede CSA, and more.  Read our story.


Haiti: Culture, Sustainability & Social Enterprise – “In the Eye of the Spiral” Preview Screening June 14th

Fund Balance is pleased to present this event as part of of our ongoing demonstration that culture, sustainability and social enterprise provide a better organizing principle than predatory debt finance and unrestricted globalization.

In the Eye of the Spiral

Private Preview Screening

Thursday June 14, 6PM-8PM

@ The Olivia, A Stonehenge Property

315 West 33rd Street (between 8th & 9th Ave.)



In the Eye of the Spiral is a documentary film project featuring seven of Haiti’s most prominent living artists.Taking as its point of departure the notion of dynamic chaos incarnated by the incomparable writer-painter-philosopher Frankétienne, this film proposes anew narrative for the embattled Haitian Republic – a narrative steeped in the vitality, the mysticism and, ultimately, the hopefulness of artistic creation.

We sincerely hope you will join in our efforts to finish this film and to bring an amazing community of artists and visionaries to the attention of the world. It is our aim to raise $250,000 to complete the documentary. We look to you for help in reaching this goal.

Panel Discussion: Raynald Leconte (Exec Producer and Co-Director In the Eye of the Spiral), Michael Stern (Creative Director, Stonehenge), Eve Blouin (Co-Director and writer In the Eye of the Spiral), Linda Mellon (Friends of FOKAL), Leland Lehman (Partner, Fund Balance)

Gratitude to FOKAL (OSI Soros / Haiti) for their generous support.

With dignity, profundity and clear sighted visionary power
and wisdom, the Haitian artists we encounter in In the Eye of the Spiral uphold the cultural, spiritual identity of an incredible country
– Annie Lennox

Please RSVP to 

Annie Lennox has confirmed to be the Principal Narrator for In the Eye of the Spiral film.

Linda Saetre is coming onboard as Executive Producer. Her credits include: (March of the Penguins, A Jihad for Love, The Beauty Academy of Kabul, Tarnation)

For more info visit


Sponsored by Stonehenge, the Manhattan-based real estate company with 2,500+ apts in their luxury rental buildings.

Learn more

Press Release:

Screening to Preview Acclaimed Haitian Documentary

“In the Eye of the Spiral” Previews Thursday Evening

NEW YORK, N.Y.  (June 11, 2012) The Haitian Cultural Foundation will host a special preview of the powerful, moving and inspiring documentary film In the Eye of the Spiral Thursday night at The Olivia – a Stonehenge Property – allowing viewers a rare opportunity to dialogue with the creative team after watching the trailer.

The captivating film, which features seven of Haiti’s most prominent living artists proposes a new narrative for embattled Haiti – a country steeped in vitality and mysticism and the video ultimately seeks to provide hopefulness for a country built upon great artistry and talent.

“If the film is only half as brilliant as the trailer, Haitian art will finally find its seat at the international table of culture where it belongs,” said Jim Luce in The Huffington Post. The nine-minute trailer has also received interest from Rolling Stone. The movie will feature Annie Lennox as the Principal Narrator.

Featured in the film is the incomparable writer, painter and philosopher Franketienne, who was a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009.

Five UN Ambassadors have already RSVP’d to the event as well as Executive Producer Linda Saetre (whose work includes March of the Penguins, A Jihad for Love and A Beauty Academy of Kabul). In addition to the screening, the evening includes a cocktail reception, storytelling with the guests, a dance by Peniel Guerrier and a panel discussion.

Raynald Leconte, CEO and Chairman of the Haitian Cultural Foundation is serving as Executive Producer and Co-Director of the Film. He brings over 20 years of experience in media and technology to the project, which has garnered significant support from Art Basel Miami and FOKAL (OSI Soros/Haiti).

For more information, please visit



Sell Monsanto Short – From Ethical Imperative to Trade Thesis

by Leland Lehrman

In 2009, Fund Balance emerged from the quant hedge fund and pension world with a relatively innovative and massively underutilized investment thesis we call ESG Long Short Market Neutral.

In a nutshell, our thesis is:

Long: nature, sustainability, culture, and community.

Short: war, pollution, fraud, and corruption. *

We had determined that socially and environmentally conscious (ESG) investors were overlooking a key strategy, and getting hammered because of it.

Long bias, wrongly assumed to be a perennial moral imperative in order to support economic growth, meant that ESG investors had no options other than divestment during down markets. Divestment from good companies is always painful, so most ESG investors just take outsized losses instead. This led to largely unwarranted industry-wide skepticism about cleantech and ESG equities and funds, as they were sometimes more volatile and subject to short-selling than other companies.

Long bias is more often anti-social and anti-environmental than is widely understood.

It presumes that in general, all economic activity is good, hardly a given at the limits to growth and climate stability. One solution: the ESG short strategy, where investors can realize gains in a downmarket by selling short ESG underperformers. **

Asset allocation specialists know that market timing is necessary in order to preserve capital. Look at the literature from David Darst for example and you will see that at a minimum, moving to cash or Treasuries is recommended in order to preserve gains from equity highs. In other words, buy and hold has well-known limitations, despite the incredible ongoing reliance on it even in an age when the S&P 500 is flat (and super volatile) for the last thirteen years. With apparently unattainable industry-wide actuarial expectations of 8% returns the norm, why are more ESG investors not looking at short strategies to balance things out?

Continue reading Sell Monsanto Short – From Ethical Imperative to Trade Thesis

Michael Bloomberg: The Company, the C40 and Climate Finance

Michael Bloomberg - Mayor of New York and Chair of the C40
Mayor Bloomberg, Chair C40

C40 São Paulo Summit

Is Michael Bloomberg really getting serious about sustainability and the climate?

Is the upcoming free and now completely full ESG 2011 USA event a huddle of the region’s best sustainability practitioners? We’ll be getting the scoop from Bloomberg CEO Daniel Doctoroff, and Thomas DiNapoli, Comptroller of the State of NY, the top official of the massive $150B New York Common Retirement Fund.

Talks leading up to the C40 (top 40 cities) conference just prior to Rio+20 are starting to raise the bar on fixing the problem of urban emissions (60-80% of the total).

Mayor Bloomberg is the Chair of the C40.

Here’s his welcome message to C40 Sao Paulo attendees:

Former London Mayor Nicky Gavron: “Every single financial centre is at sea level.”

“Over the past six years, C40 Summits have brought together mayors of the world’s largest cities to share information on their respective experiences in dealing with climate change. This is our fourth Summit, the first to be hosted in the Southern Hemisphere, and my first as Chair of the C40.

For the first time in history, cities are home to more than half of the world’s population, and together account for more than 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Summit in São Paulo will provide us with an excellent opportunity to explore and exchange new ideas and initiatives, and to discuss new partnerships among mayors and governors that can address climate change and promote sustainability. ”

The race is on.

London’s former mayor Nicky Gavron tipped everyone’s hand with a pointed comment about the geographical location of the world’s financial centers:

“Big cities need to raise the game because they’re so responsible for such a high proportion of greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions and they’re very vulnerable to [climate change],” Gavron told Environmental Finance. Around 60% of global GHGs come from cities. “Every single financial centre is at sea level.”

Simultaneously it seems, Bloomberg’s home page just created a new top level tab, “Sustainability”, featuring some of the excellent work of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Having recently investigated the ESG features of a BNEF equipped Bloomberg terminal, I can tell you: it rocks.

Mayor Bloomberg also passed legislation improving the buy local profile of his NYC Administration:

Buy Local, the Mayor Says

So screamed the headline from Matt Flegenheimer’s NY Times blog:

In New York’s latest attempt to promote the purchase of locally grown food, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed into law on Wednesday a bill urging city agencies to buy more often from the state’s farms and processing facilities.

Among the law’s provisions, the Mayor’s Office of Contracts Services will publish an annual report on its Web site outlining the amount and type of locally grown food each city agency has procured. The law also calls for vendors to provide the Department of Citywide Administration with information regarding the origin of their food…

Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC, said connecting regional farmers to such a vast network of buyers could have a substantial impact.

“The city has an immense purchasing power,” he said. “From our perspective, it’s great.”

The mayor also signed a bill to exempt rooftop greenhouses from being counted toward buildings’ height and floor area measurements. The greenhouses will join structures like roof tanks, air-conditioning equipment and chimneys as apparatus that are not factored into buildings’ official totals, easing limitations on the construction of such structures.

In a statement, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, noted the progress of urban farming.

“Even in a city as highly developed as New York, urban farms are growing at an astounding rate,” Ms. Quinn said. “This legislation aligns itself with this trend, making it easier for New Yorkers to grow their own food.”

Mr. Bloomberg also signed three other measures, including one that will require the Department of Citywide Administration to maintain a searchable database of all city-owned and city-leased property. One goal, the mayor said, is to gather information regarding whether properties might be suitable for urban agriculture.”

I’m tempted to just say Alleluia. It’s about time.

Fund Balance will be hosting an after party with special guests E3 Bank, Watershed Capital and Leo Tilman to discuss E3’s new sustainable banking model. Interested parties please RSVP to Leland Lehrman, (518) 392-0952.

Mud Wrestling in the Deluge

The Context and Implications of American International Group vs. Bank of America
by Leland Lehrman

AIG vs Bank of America

Like Godzilla and King Kong in the Japanese movies, the lawsuit between AIG and Bank of America appears set in a kind of apocalyptic timeframe with cliffhanger debt ceiling negotiations happening during record heat waves, climate disruption and collapsing stock markets. Top corporate leaders, socially close and invested in the same system, nevertheless fight over the bones of a resource constrained “economy.”

Tyler Durden, the pseudonymous editor of the hotly commented and rebellious financial blog called the AIG lawsuit against Bank of America “ironic.” The fight club anti-establishment trader points out that “it is AIG which takes down the financial system for the second time after its lawsuit against BAC filed last night kills Bank of America.” As gory as the details are, they are less important than the larger themes.

The Phoenix, “penciled” in by the Economist for 2018 is slated to rise from the ashes of other currencies. Following the crash of 1987, the anonymous editors in London wrote

“Thirty years from now, Americans, Japanese, Europeans, and people in many other rich countries, and some relatively poor ones will probably be paying for their shopping with the same currency. Prices will be quoted not in dollars, yen or D-marks but in, let’s say, the phoenix. The phoenix will be favoured by companies and shoppers because it will be more convenient than today’s national currencies, which by then will seem a quaint cause of much

Economist Calls for Global Currency, 1988

disruption to economic life in the last twentieth century…Something will be, almost certainly in the course of 1988. And not long after the next currency agreement is signed it will go the same way as the last one. It will collapse. Governments are far from ready to subordinate their domestic objectives to the goal of international stability. Several more big exchange-rate upsets, a few more stockmarket crashes and probably a slump or two will be needed before politicians are willing to face squarely up to that choice. This points to a muddled sequence of emergency followed by a patch-up followed by emergency, stretching out far beyond 2018 – except for two things. As time passes, the damage caused by currency instability is gradually going to mount; and the very tends that will make it mount are making the utopia of monetary union feasible.”

There are other time-tested ways to handle currency instability using fixed exchange rates and asset backing for example. Were these “quaint” tools of Bretton Woods and earlier monetary regimes discarded in favor of inherently unstable hedging instruments known as derivatives because a period of systemic instability was useful to provide the appearance of the necessity of centralized global governance and currency?

Only a truly sovereign people can repudiate a debt yoke deceptively laid on its shoulders by a predatory financial class. Michael Lewis’ book Liar’s Poker offers example after example of the shark-like demeanor of bond traders and financial captains, endlessly feeding off pension funds around the world so arrogantly for so long that the eventual backlash they encounter is considered uppity.

So where can that sovereign people be found today? Increasingly in the street.

Continue reading Mud Wrestling in the Deluge

Climate, Rainforests, Treasuries and Central Banks

There is an important synergy emerging in principle between the London Accord, the World Bank, Central Banks and the Prince of Wales’ Rainforests Project. We recently learned that the World Bank is already working with the Rainforests Project to improve financing and investment opportunities in protected, living rainforests.

We encourage the Rainforests Project and the World Bank to work closely with the London Accord to move UK and International Treasuries and Central Banks, to adopt, issue and purchase climate, environment and socially responsible index-linked bonds.

The London Accord idea, as sketched out admirably in the Environmental Finance February Issue, is to issue sovereign bonds whose coupon rate is linked to climate and ESG policies. It’s pretty simple in practice: fail to meet your climate targets and your interest rate goes up. This type of market signal would allow investors in clean technologies, carbon offset projects and other climate mitigation and adapation businesses to hedge against government inaction and inspire governments, as the article suggests, to live up to their promises. In general, it helps to create a financial playing field tilted in favor of clean, green businesses, a prospect that would be cause for global celebration.

The April 2009 G20 communique was remarkable for its emphasis on climate, green jobs and a recovery powered by sustainable principles and business practice. Its concluding point was that: “We reaffirm our commitment to address the threat of irreversible climate change, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and to reach agreement at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.”

Because of their influence on the G20 agreement and implementation, the Bank for International Settlements and the Financial Stability Board need to get involved. We all benefit if they will just take the time to more intimately familiarize themselves with the work of the London Accord, the World Bank and the Rainforests Project on these types of issues.

Reading through the London Accord’s remarkable research, it has occurred to me that Central Banks might well have to be the first movers on this front. As the largest purchasers of government debt, it may be up to them to signal to governments that they would be interested in these types of securities.

Some are despondent after Copenhagen, concerned that the pace of change is insufficient to address looming challenges. Constructive engagement with the central banking community may well prove instrumental to persuading sovereign nations of the wisdom (costs) of failing to confront climate change, the business issue of the millenium according to those at Davos. We can’t wait for them, but neither can we afford to ignore them.

A Call for Holistic Climate Policy

by Leland Lehrman

This cartoon, from the front cover of the February 2010 issue of Funny Times, describes the Fund Balance position with respect to Climate Change. We acknowledge that there remains uncertainty in the scientific community about the extent to which anthropogenic CO2 emissions drive global temperature increases. We also regret the polarization of the discussion and the slide into judgmental invective that has accompanied the debate on both sides.

However, we cannot deny the observation that modern mankind does have adverse macroimpacts on the environment. The evidence on this subject is not open to question. From the Pacific Garbage Patch to acid rain to Chernobyl to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, human pollution has damaged Mother Earth in catastrophic ways. It is not difficult to understand global climate change as the emergent property of the various regional macro changes that are already well-known.

Therefore, as the cartoon suggests, the issue of CO2 and anthropogenic warming may well be an esoteric, even moot point. The precautionary principle will require most well-intentioned people to acknowledge the need to restrict global pollution, and not just CO2. Furthermore, the principles guiding the global environmental community, vulnerable as they may be to subversion, are good in and of themselves, and do not require scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming to warrant action.

It is regrettable that the international scientific community has chosen to focus on CO2 to the exclusion of all the other major impacts of modern techno-industrial civilization. The overemphasis on this one often innocuous molecule has allowed the proponents of global climate action to appear simplistic, propagandistic and even self-interested. Those who overly focus on a cap and trade system that would personally enrich themselves must be recruited to a more holistic regulatory and capital markets strategy that is based on holistic science and balanced capital markets incentivization. Such a system would include taxes, policies and accounting rules on an equal footing with capital markets strategies like cap and trade.

To this end, we call upon the international political, financial and scientific community to reframe the global climate change debate in more holistic terms. A successful regulatory regime will adequately account for the role of other global warming gases, other toxins and other adverse aspects of human ecological impact. Only a holistic approach – which also acknowledges the impact of solar cycles – will achieve a scientific consensus and produce the kind of international system which takes into account all externalities. All “externalities” must be put back on the balance sheet of global industry and investment,  such that capital and trade flows move naturally towards truly clean and green businesses.


Managing Partner Walter Borden
Managing Partner Walter Borden

Fund Balance articles can be found under the “Articles” tab in the menu at the top of the page. These articles, selected and written by Managing Partner Walter Borden, range over some of the key issues of our time, issues which must be faced and solved using the best our spirit, science, finance and love have to offer. Drawing on his deep scientific background and years of experience at the intersection of technology and biology, Walter’s articles take you on a tour of key policy and business areas we will focus on as we build our company. Join us.