The Social Impact Exchange Blog

  • Christina Lindstrom, Participant Media
    Posted: June 20, 2013

    In the midst of the Social Impact Exchange Conference, which focused on finance strategies, research and frameworks of collaboration, the “Technology, Talent and Funding What Works” session on Thursday morning was a welcome hug after a series of handshakes. In this panel and subsequent conversation there was honest discussion about the people behind the frameworks. Even the conversation around technology, a presumably un-touchy-feely subject, revolved around relationship. Given how foundational talent is to the creation of social impact, I’m almost surprised that there hasn’t been a study seeking to prove how being a ‘people-person’ is good for impact. The fact of the matter is, however, managing people well is tough. This panel was even better than a study at proving this point and advising the lost through this reality of achieving better staff and technology management.

  • Amy Dominguez-Arms, The James Irvine Foundation
    Posted: June 20, 2013

    I was re-inspired by my fellow panelists and other speakers at the Social Impact Exchange Conference this week about the many ways philanthropy can contribute to social good. At the same time, I was struck by the complexities involved in how we select and exercise different roles.

    During our panel discussion on “When is Philanthropy (Ir) Relevant?” Sam Karp of the California HealthCare Foundation described his foundation’s leadership of an eleven-state, cross-sector collaborative to develop a standardized user-friendly interface for health care enrollment connected to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Sharon Alpert of the Surdna Foundation talked about Surdna’s work to support and network city officials across the country and others dedicated to implementing sustainability strategies. And, at the opening luncheon on Wednesday, Rip Rapson shared the Kresge Foundation’s impressive multi-faceted effort to reinvigorate Detroit’s economy. In each case, funders had identified an opportunity to tackle a critical issue by pulling together creative cross-sector partnerships.

  • Christina Riechers, Evidence Action
    Posted: June 20, 2013

    “It’s time to stop taking snapshots and start making movies!” George Overholser of Third Sector Capital Partners said at Wednesday’s breakout session on “Multi-Sector Collaboration in Impact Investing." George was insistent that the era of antiquated backward-looking data is behind us. For years, he argued, we have been relying on the likes of 3-year-old datasets – the “snapshots.” Now, thanks to the reduction in the cost of data collection and evaluations, George believes we are at a stage where data can be collected and inform both real-time internal decision making as well as external financing.

  • Andrea M. Ducas, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    Posted: June 20, 2013

    One theme that rang out loud and clear at this year’s Social Impact Exchange Conference is that philanthropists are in the business of taking risks and making bets. I know this to be true through my work at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and indeed, it’s one of the reasons I enjoy my job so much. As a sector, we have fewer restrictions on how we invest funds, and therefore have incredible potential to identify, partner with, and lift up disruptive innovators working to achieve social change.

  • Andrea E McGrath, Connecting Capital
    Posted: June 20, 2013

    Anyone still confused about what exactly the difference is (or not) between Pay for Success and the Social Impact Bond got their questions answers – and much, much more – during an engaging conversation on “Multi Sector Collaboration in Impact Investing” at the Social Impact Exchange Conference on Wednesday. Moderator Peter Berliner of the Mission Investors Exchange set the table, so to speak, for the conversation and noted the broad lens of the term “investor” for anyone (not just foundations). He provided the perfect introduction to a wonderful group of panelists representing diverse perspectives and experiences as impact investors including foundations, banks, government, and intermediaries. Each having experience as an investor individually – and in collaboration – spoke to the advantages (and challenges) of “combining forces” in investments.