AGENDA Preview

Times & Sessions Subject to Change


Tuesday, MARCH 14TH, 2017

Tuesday PlenaryWhat’s Love Got to Do With It?

Organizers: Greg Neichin, Ceniarth LLC & Alex Haber, RSF Social Finance

This session will feature the voices of Confluence members along the impact spectrum from concessionary to market rate investing and allow time for community discourse. With artful facilitation we will interweave heady questions around values vs. return and how we can work together to craft a new economy. 


Tuesday Welcome Track Small Sessions

The Foundation of Good Governance for Impact Investors

Organizer: Jessica Matthews, Cambridge Associates

To create the conditions for good governance, investors should assess whether they have in place the appropriate model for portfolio oversight and management, are upholding their fiduciary responsibilities, and are learning about peer best practices. This is true for any investor, while incorporating social goals adds an additional layer of complexity to these issues. What are the practices that work well? Does the organization have the right divisions of roles and responsibilities? Has a policy been established to give clarity to mission and goals? Is staff time being allocated efficiently? Representatives from both foundations and families will share their perspectives on what has worked well (and what hasn’t) at their respective organizations.

  • Erin Harkless or Jessica Matthews, Cambridge Associates (Moderator)


After You Hire Your Impact Investing Advisor: Best Practices in Investment Committee-Advisor Relationships

Organizer: Steven Godeke, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

For investment committees working in impact investing, traditional relationship models with their advisors need to adapt. Once your investment committee has hired an impact investing advisor, how can you optimize your relationship to be most effective and create the most impact? How can a committee best articulate its impact investing goals to its advisor? What are some best practices for investment committees to utilize in working with your advisor to surface impact investing opportunities? What role should committee members play in sourcing investment ideas? How much discretion should your committee give the investment advisor? What are some best practices for building good relationships with your advisor over the long-term?

We would like to have an honest and open discussion of how foundations/asset owners have had good and bad relationships with investment advisors who offer impact investing services and provide some actionable tips for assets owners to build better relationships with their advisors.

  •  Steven Godeke, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation (Moderator) 


Engaging the Boards: How to be Effective Shareholders with Positive Impact on Sustainability

Organizer: Mariela Vargova, Rockefeller & Co

Corporate governance is a critical third element of the environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) investing in the public markets. It ensures transparency and accountability of companies and provides a channel for shareholders to engage with their boards to improve corporate practices on sustainability. Today, investors increasingly demand greater responsiveness from the boards and seek ways to engage with them directly on wide-ranging issues of sustainability – diversity, human rights, executive compensation and climate change, among many others. This session will explore best practices and case studies in engaging the boards towards better governance over sustainability. Engaging the boards on sustainability issues is an effective way to be an active owner with positive impact on investee companies.

  • Mariela Vargova, Rockefeller & Co (Moderator)


Tuesday Field Trips

  • The Legacies of Slavery: The Prison Industrial Complex and Human Trafficking
  • Affordable Housing in the Aftermath of Katrina
  • Building Resilience in the Face of Sea Level Rise
  • Supporting Local Economies through Sustainable Fisheries

Wednesday, MARCH 15TH

Wednesday Keynote - Kate Wolford, President, The McKnight Foundation


Wednesday Plenary - Financing a New Economy: Can Social Equity be an Impact Theme?  

Organizers: Steve Godeke, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation; Jessica Mathews, Cambridge Associates; & Jeff Rosen, Solidago Foundation

As social justice and the battle against inequality take a more prominent role in philanthropy, how can these impact themes be translated into specific impact investing opportunities? Confluence Members are currently exploring what social justice investing can mean, and we would like to dive deeper into this sector during this session. What are the specific ways these social themes can be furthered through investments by a foundation's endowment? The session would bring forward examples of initiatives that are serious about scale and realistic about the challenges this work faces. The examples would focus on a broader analysis than one that looks at potential concessionary investment and targets the bigger question of highest return on philanthropic capital and the broadest vision of the role of philanthropic institutions and the resources they steward.


Community Reflections - facilitated by Dana Lanza, Confluence Philanthropy


WEDNESDAY Special Luncheon

Impact Investing in Latin America: Educational Luncheon

Organizers: Lorenzo J. de Rosenzweig Pasquel, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza A.C. & Raul Pomares, Sonen Capital

Following-up on the resoundingly successful discussion held in Mexico City this past April, Confluence Members Raul Pomares, Founder of Sonen Capital, and Lorenzo J. de Rosenzweig, Director General of Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C., will be speaking and discussing their report: “Investing in Conservation: an assessment of an emerging market to help save the planet”. The report provides a brief overview into key sectors of the global economy in which a conservation and sustainability oriented investment approaches can provide market based investment returns and positive environmental and conservation benefits.


Wednesday Small Sessions

Accelerating Innovation through Collaboration 

Organizers: Aner Ben-Ami, Pi Investments; Bruce Campbell, Blue Dot Advocates; & John Balbach, The MacArthur Foundation

Smart people and organizations are experimenting with innovations in impact capital deal structures and terms.  These innovations range from structured exits to pay-for-success to impact funds and holding companies.  Experiments with new structures and terms, unfortunately, often occur in isolation, and it can take years for new ideas to reach a broad audience.

The impact terms project was launched to accelerate the pace of innovation in deal structures and terms by establishing a collaborative process supported by leading organizations in the impact investing field.  With this process, deal data is collected from investors and entrepreneurs, the data is analyzed to identify innovations and trends, and emerging practices are then shared with the larger community.

Currently, outputs are limited to sample term sheet language and commentary, but the long term objective is to also share comprehensive analytics on impact transactions.  Based on the organizations interested in the initiative, we believe we could be looking at a data set that is drawn from thousands of impact deals a year.The panel will examine the project’s initial work in cataloging innovations in alternative exits and mission-related legal terms.  

The panel will also explore how the collaboration is developing, including what’s working and what the challenges are.  Panelists will include leaders from the core supporters of the project.


Tales from the Fire: Building the Infrastructure for Place Based Investing

Organizer: Kathleen Simpson, The Russell Family Fund

This year’s 'Tales from the Fire' conference session will share the story of The Canopy Project, a visionary collaborative of foundations in the Pacific Northwest designed to build an ecosystem for place-based investing in the Pacific Northwest . Although the project is in transition, some of Canopy’s founders and partners will join us this year to share their story. Focused discussion will center around the successful elements of the project, from its innovative training model to multi-stakeholder design and deal flow mapping. They will also share the lessons learned, what ultimately did not work, and their next steps.


100% for PRI

Organizer: Brad Harrison, Threshold Group

The session will be focused on the hypothetical investment implications of a PRI-only strategy for a privately held foundation. Taking a purely hypothetical approach, discuss the implications of eliminating grant making and replacing it entirely with Program Related Investing. While the spirit of this idea may be at odds with traditional philanthropy, the session will cover a broad range of perspectives - moral, investment, impact, perpetuity, etc.

  • Brad Harrison, Threshold Group (Moderator)


Investing in a Women’s Right to Choose

Organizer: Melissa Beck, The Educational Foundation of America

Resilience is defined by a diversity of choices, and a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive path is crucial to her resilience. Through its grantmaking, The Educational Foundation of America has long supported a woman’s ability to control her own reproductive health by ensuring access to safe, legal abortion and contraception.

Investors and foundations are exploring using a suite of financial tools to support this access, including:

·       Impact investing through a pooled fund that provides low interest loans to abortion clinics;

·       Shareholder activism to ensure that companies cover reproductive health services for their employees; and

·       Refinancing debt and extending lines of credit.

During this panel, you’ll hear from experts in investing through a gender lens who will invite you to think more broadly about the impact that your investments can have in the world.


How Far We’ve Come: What Movements Can Learn from the Fossil Fuel Divest Invest 

Organizer: Anisa Dougherty, Threshold Group

In the first part our panel, we will discuss the key success factors, on-going challenges, and the evolving makeup of Divest-Invest signatories. The goal is to surface key lessons that foundations, impact investors and advocacy organizations can use as they consider ways to catalyze the capital markets to tackle other social or environmental challenges. For example, we could discuss the growing momentum behind criminal justice reform and approaches to screening out prison labor in a similar divest-invest approach.


Wednesday Evening Keynote - Dr. James Hansen, Professor, Columbia University's Earth Institute

Others to be announced.


Wednesday Evening Plenary - Investing in Climate Resilience: Raising all Ships

Organizers: Molly Betournay, Pathstone Federal Street & Margot Brandenburg, Nathan Cummings Foundation

Earlier this year, Ceres and Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that investments of $12.1 trillion must be made into new renewable energy generation over the next 25 years to limit global temperature increase to less than two degrees Celsius. This report came on the heels of COP21 in which developed countries pledged $100 billion per year in climate funding through 2020. It is clear that there is an opportunity and need for investors to focus on investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. However, climate proofing portfolios extend far beyond clean technology and infrastructure investment. It should also include a focus on climate resilience and adaptation. This session will explore what the ripple effects of climate change truly look like and the adaption and investment needed to properly prepare for it.


Second Line Parade Procession to The Presbytère Museum for Networking & Dinner

THURSDAY, March 16th

Board Welcome - Lisa Renstrom, Board Chair, Confluence Philanthropy


Thursday Keynote - to be announced.


Thursday Plenary - Reimagining Capitalism

Organizers: Peter Knight, Generation Investment Management & Jameela Pedicini, PWP Foundation

What will capitalism look like in 2050? Shifting demographics, technological advancement, availability of natural resources, climate risk, and evolving social values are re-drawing the investment landscape. The confluence of these trends will change the needs, requirements and behaviors of investors and stakeholders alike. Against this backdrop, an increasing number of forward-looking organizations, individuals, and policymakers are questioning the long-term viability of today’s dominant form of capitalism and examining the purpose of capital in a healthy and sustainable economy. They are proposing alternative frameworks and systems such as regenerative capitalism, sustainable capitalism, inclusive capitalism, and doughnut economics among others. All broadly advocate for a paradigm shift towards long-term sustainable value creation by reforming capital markets to address real social, economic, business and policy needs while considering all costs and stakeholders. This panel will discuss how investors are reimagining capitalism, the short-term implications of their actions, and how others can follow suit.


Thursday Small Sessions

Impact Investing in Immediate Disaster Recovery Work

Organizer: David Sand, Community Capital Management

Katrina is unfortunately only one example of a natural disaster that prompted an all hands on deck response from local and national foundations. Foundations with well developed policies and procedures for grant, PRI and impact investment decisions often have to throw out their playbook when disaster strikes. Panelists will share examples from response efforts from around the country and talk about what can be put in place to be prepared for the unexpected. Possible examples; Florida hurricanes; NY/NJ hurricane Sandy; Colorado floods.


LGBT Corporate Engagement by Mission-based Investors

Organizer: Shelley Alpern, CleanYield Asset Management

A small number of LGBT mission-based foundations, working both independently and in collaboration with impact investment management firms, have for a number of years pursued complementary advocacy and engagement strategies to positively impact corporate behavior on LGBT issues. Their efforts have been very successful, resulting in workplace policy improvements at an estimated 200 corporations. The panel will offer insights into the strategies, methods, and experiences of these grantors and asset managers, and how they see this issue developing as the LGBT movement struggles to secure its gains against new forms of backlash and address discrimination faced by LGBT people worldwide. We believe that this is a case study that can offer many lessons to the wider Confluence community, and relates very directly to the theme of this year’s conference, “Love and Resilience.”


Building Resilience through Investment in Livelihoods

Organizer: Greg Neichen, Ceniarth LLC

For many impact investors, resilience is most closely linked to climate, environmental, or resource sustainability concerns. The reality however is that for billions of people around the world living at or near poverty levels, economic resilience is a far more pressing issue.  With limited or no savings, getting injured or ill, can mean the difference in being able to make school payments for children or loan payments for small businesses. This panel will tackle how to invest in economic resilience. We will explore mechanisms such as micro-savings and micro-insurance, and will feature some of the most innovative organizations working to improve livelihoods in underserved regions.


Truth, Marketing, and Gaming the System: The Ecosystem of ESG

Organizer: Liz Michaels, Aperio Group

In this session, we will explore the ESG data that managers, advisors, consultants and asset owners are relying on to make appropriate investment decisions in alignment with their values and missions. While the data has improved dramatically over the past decade, it is not perfect -- and it is important to understand the ecosystem in order to use the data wisely. In the session we will cover:

Where do ESG ratings meet the ideal and where do they fall short?

What is the relationship between rating and improving investment decision making?

What role do ratings play in improving sustainability or any other issue that ratings target?

Is the marketplace successfully addressing the quality and utility of ratings?

Can sustainability issues be broadly incorporated into the investment decisions without ESG ratings playing a major role?

Can most companies significantly improve their sustainability performance without ratings?

  • Mark Bateman, Aperio (Moderator)


Green Investments Matter

Organizer: Jaune Evans, Tamalpais Trust

Utility-scale renewable energy generation in developing and emerging countries has the potential to foster social, environmental and cultural development while also lowering the cost of electricity. To achieve these goals, structural, social and cultural factors need to be carefully taken into account in project design and deployment.

In much of the Global South, the most competitive renewable energy resources for utility-scale production are often located in the land of indigenous communities and other historically underprivileged communities. Structural inequalities and powerful perverse incentives render communities acutely vulnerable to abuse and violation of their rights. The resulting high social risk often materializes in conflict, cost over-runs and even project failure. Institutional Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) safeguards are failing to mitigate these risks effectively.

Comprehensive risk mitigation is essential to attract additional clean energy investment, in particular from institutional investors. If this situation does not change, the spread in the cost of financing for renewable energy in developing and emerging countries vis-à-vis industrialized countries will continue to grow, with highly detrimental effects for local economies.

The first part of this session will analyze the risks and challenges that conventional utility-scale green energy development poses to investors and local communities. The second part will discuss creative opportunities and alternative approaches to mitigate these risks and increase the social value and resilience of renewable energy projects, such as enhanced due diligence, alternative project development models, collective leadership and governance -- with effective participation for indigenous and other vulnerable and valuable communities.



Confluence Membership Meeting

Post Conference Events

Open Networking Time until 5pm