For one week in October, impact investors from across America and around the world gather in San Francisco for SOCAP (Social Capital Markets), which describes itself as “a network of investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders addressing the world’s toughest challenges through market-based solutions.” As a team of philanthropic consultants with a passion for impact investing, Arabella Advisors was excited to not only attend, but be given the opportunity to participate in a panel.
The session, “Within Reach: New Vehicles that Bridge Philanthropy and Impact Investing,” was moderated by Kate McAdams, a managing director here at Arabella. Kate was joined by Alejandra Castillo, CEO of the YWCA; William Towns, executive director of Benefit Chicago; and Jeff Usher, senior program officer of the Kansas Health Foundation. Each speaker brought to the table their own unique insights as non-profit leaders with experience in impact investing.
The panel began with Jeff sharing his experiences thinking about and moving into impact investing from the perspective of a community foundation. The conversation then moved on to Alejandra, who shared her vision for the intersection of philanthropy and impact investing, how it can spark social change, and what impact investing can learn from the non-profit sector’s history. Finally, William expanded on where he believes philanthropy is most needed to advance market-based solutions for social and environmental change and underscored the importance of defining terms, like “impact” and “flexible,” to avoid misaligned expectations.
We’ve excerpted some of our favorite moments from the panel in a short video below.
Additionally, we’re pleased to share a few more powerful quotes from the panel:
“I am here to make you uncomfortable, because that is the only way we are going to move the needle.” – Alejandra Castillo, YWCA
“There’s no quicker way to dry up a pipeline than to get a couple angry applicants telling people ‘Don’t even bother applying. When they say flexible and patient, that’s not what they meant. They meant we had to be flexible and we had to be patient.’” – William Towns, Benefit Chicago