Danny Almagor & Berry Liberman
When then Australia-based Danny Almagor came across an impact investing challenge that no local support source could address, he knew just what to do: he called another Toniic member halfway around the world. “They understood me deeply, understood my value system and could advise me,” he says. After a long time looking for this kind of connection, “finding Toniic was like finding my tribe.”
Almagor and his wife, Berry Liberman, had already found their calling with Small Giants, the impact investing firm they started in 2007. They were inspired by a book of the same name, which describes companies that choose to be great instead of big and that measure success by their impact and their legacy. Liberman and Almagor describe their approach to impact investment as the work of “transformation and opening of people’s hearts, not just their minds.”
That involves reimagining capital as a tool for positive change around the world and leveraging their entire portfolio for impact, with an eye on channeling capital to community initiatives that can solve big problems.
Toniic has helped them grow in confidence and meet others walking a similar path, Almagor says.
Tackling Problems Close to Home
Impact investors can spark real progress at a local level, the couple realized. That inspired them to tackle the gambling problem in their native Australia. With over 169,000 slot machines (aka “pokies”) in the country, Australians struggle with gambling addiction and associated health and financial problems.
To get started, Small Giants purchased the Byron Bay Beach Hotel, home to an iconic Australian pub, and set about removing the slot machines with the community’s approval. It’s the beginning of a long journey, but they gained 50 new friends (read: investors) in support of the effort.
Expanding on the World Stage
Liberman and Almagor now are helping other investors amplify their impact worldwide. A chance meeting with wealth manager Lital Slavin in Israel moved her to also become an impact investor and a Toniic member. Together, they built Beyond Impact, an Israeli impact investing firm whose first investment was an energy efficiency project. They also host events for the local impact investing community. And with a group of fellow Toniic members, they are funding an urban renewal project to address aging infrastructure and community vitality in Haifa.
Although the threads connecting Berry and Danny’s ventures around the world may be hard to see at first glance, there is a strong and purposeful force driving each of their investments.
Impact investing is about the collective; impact investing is about connection, it is about the whole
Almagor says, in contrast to a mainstream financial system that is all about the self.