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Featured on our Friday rundown; New York City is now handling its first case of Ebola; former Congressman Dennis Kucinich campaigns to label genetically modified ingredients while National Food Day puts the focus on school meals; plus an off-field rivalry among two of Michigan’s top teams to help students with disabilities.

Angel Investors Point to the Stars



November 16, 2009

WASHINGTON – A group of "angel investors" meets today in Washington, D.C., to salute some California companies and others that have found a different way to do business — a way in which everyone can win.

Deb Parsons is the co-director of the country's largest such group, Investors' Circle, made up of individuals willing to loan money to promising entrepreneurs who show a dual commitment: to financial success, and to the needs of employees, suppliers, communities and the environment.

"They're looking at, not just the shareholder, but also all of their stakeholders and how they have a positive impact on that whole group."

This year's "IC-20" list of socially responsible companies represents a diverse range of products and services, from California's Niman Ranch and Marrone Natural Pest Control, to makers of countertops and renewable energy technology. (The complete list can be viewed online at www.investorscircle.net.)

HonestTea, which brews and bottles organic tea products, also made the list. Founder Seth Goldman says he depended on Investors' Circle funding to get his company off the ground.

"It was healthy that we were able to tell investors in the beginning what we stood for, with a commitment to sustainability, and healthier products and fair trade relationships."

Parsons says the group hopes to inspire more companies to implement socially responsible business models, as well as encouraging greater numbers of investors to get involved. It's about making money in a way that's fair to all players, she says. And, in this age of news headlines about pyramid schemes and real estate scams, the idea is as refreshing…as organic tea.

The Investors' Circle conference runs through Tuesday, November 17, at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - CA