Brian Barnes is the founder and CEO of financial tech start-up M1 Finance. With his siblings, he also manages a fund at the Trust that was set up by his late mother, Brenda Barnes, former CEO of Sara Lee. “My mom was able to achieve a lot of success in this country and felt others who were born less fortunate should have opportunities to do the same. The way I give is very much driven by the values she taught me,” Barnes says.
The tech entrepreneur is a big fan and supporter of Junior Achievement of Chicago, a nonprofit focused on youth empowerment, business creation, and financial literacy. He’s also an enthusiastic participant in the Trust’s Impact Investing Program, which enables donors to invest in social change before making grants from their donor advised funds (DAFs), thus amplifying the impact of their charitable dollars.
“One of the opportunities I invest in provides subsidized small business loans to people who wouldn’t qualify for a bank loan. These are individuals who are trying to better their lives but are excluded from the system. The Impact Investing Program is a way to help them out—to help them get access to credit and capital that they might not otherwise have.”