CommonGood brings together two brothers with unique paths and shared values in the context of today's transforming investment landscape and worldview.
From an early age growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Jeff Shafer and his brother Jonathan were taught the value of hard work, an appreciation for the environment, and the joy found in serving others. Jeff left for university when Jonathan entered the 4th grade, which naturally led them to forge separate life paths, although neither forgot their early life lessons.
Jeff had a successful career in the financial services industry working for two prominent asset management and distribution companies: Van Kampen and CNL. In Jeff’s 19 years with CNL his work carried him through various roles and positions including seven years as President of CNL Securities. In that role, he and his team raised nearly $9 billion for numerous REITs, BDCs, and private placements across a variety of different asset classes from a syndicate of more than 250 independent broker dealers and RIAs. In the process, he led partnerships with global asset managers including CB Richard Ellis, KKR, and Macquarie.
In contrast, after spending the early part of his career in US-focused private equity, Jonathan took an alternative path and moved to West Africa to invest in and launch a series of values-based businesses. The next six years were devoted to mobilizing capital to grow businesses seeking to generate both financial and non-financial returns throughout Africa. He returned to the US to attend the Yale School of Management before joining Jeff at CNL to lead the operations of their alternative investments platform, representing more than $4 billion in private debt and private equity assets.
In 2015, Jeff began a journey to define the second half of his career. He conducted extensive research, consulted, and traveled across the US attending conferences and meeting with thought leaders in the impact investing space. That process ultimately generated a vision that melded Jeff and Jonathan's unique experiences and shared values to encourage investors to think about the power of their capital to not only generate financial returns for themselves, but to also positively impact the world for the common good. While 2017 officially marks CommonGood's formation, its creation began long ago.