ESG Investing

Regional Spotlight: Palm Beach Tackles Housing, Elder Care, and the Environment


Home to numerous sandy beaches and golf courses, Palm Beach County, Florida, has grown twice as fast as the US average in the past decade. Individuals and businesses alike flock to the area for its pro-business environment, lack of personal income taxes, and tropical climate.

At the same time, one does not have to look far to find a community foundation or organization actively tackling ESG issues such as affordable housing, senior needs, and environmental pollution—yet another impact hub ripe for investor involvement.

Impact Targets in Palm Beach County

Despite its resort reputation, Palm Beach County suffers from many of the issues that affect communities everywhere.

1. Affordable Housing

High earners who relocate to Palm Beach County place increasing pressure on a housing market that has already seen significant reductions in available units coupled with a 24% increase in prices. Despite the concentrated wealth in the area—which hosts 44 billionaire residents—the poverty rate in the city hovers near 17%, with most residents restricted to lower-wage jobs and a median household income of only $54,334. Thus, many Palm Beach residents find themselves priced out of homes. The majority of low-income renters spend more than half of their income on housing.

Despite its resort reputation, Palm Beach County suffers from many of the issues that affect communities everywhere.

2. Elder Issues

Palm Beach County’s elderly residents account for 24.4% of the total population—roughly 22% of whom live below the poverty guidelines. Consequently, the city has seen a 44% increase in homelessness since 2019 as well as rampant food insecurity that affects 28% of residents over age 60.

3. Environmental Preservation

Palm Beach County faces unique environmental challenges due to its proximity to the Everglades as well as its biologically diverse ecosystem. Issues such as agricultural pollution, saltwater intrusion, and unchecked real estate development have made waterways toxic, threatening not only the environment but drinking water and community health.

Community Foundations Respond

Rising to the task of finding new approaches to deep problems, Palm Beach County’s community foundations and other organizations continue to address these issues.

An Active and Generous Community

In the face of these concerns, Palm Beach County is “all about giving,” according to Glenmede’s Suzanne Weston. She attributes much of the county’s generous nature to successful retirees looking to make an impact with their investments.

Glenmede itself also gives back through a partnership with Impact the Palm Beaches, a philanthropic organization supported by collective donations from women to nonprofits in the region. “Glenmede is proud to be a leader in one of the fastest-growing impact investing segments—gender lens investing, which promotes women in leadership roles and female equality,” Weston explains, “and we look forward to working together to empower everyone, particularly women, to improve lives and affect social change in our community.”

With its wealth of assets, charitable spirit, and partners already on the ground, Palm Beach County provides impact investors with an abundance of opportunities to make a difference.

Any company, security, fund or other investment identified herein is provided solely for illustrative purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any such investment.

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