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Making A Difference

Investing in Sustainability

Nicholas Tiller (MBA 1998)

Nicholas Tiller (MBA 1998) grew up in a farming community, but it was his experience in hedge-fund management in the food and energy sectors that led him to establish Sustainable America, a nonprofit with the aim of reducing US oil consumption while increasing the country’s food supply.

Sustainable America takes a two-pronged approach to these issues: education and investment. Sustainable America’s education initiatives are typical of the approach taken by many nonprofits. Quick quizzes, animated videos, and shareable infographics illustrate startling statistics: 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is never eaten; 3.8 million gallons of fuel are wasted everyday from unnecessary idling.

The nonprofit’s investment strategy is far less typical. Sustainable America makes direct investments with the goal of making the food and fuel sectors more sustainable, earning returns that will make the organization sustainable. “I believe charities should be investing in ways that align with their mission,” says Tiller. “In that way, they can get both good returns and further their goals.”

(Published February 2016)