Climate Solutions Track


The Climate Solutions track aims to amplify the urgency of the climate crisis, while exemplifying real investment solutions. This year’s sessions emphasize collaboration, policy interventions, and adaptation, and will include a special evening event about how we can build an honest, pluralistic movement to address climate change.

Field Trip: Climate Disaster Response, Resilience, and a Just Transition (Tuesday, March 5th | 12:00 PM)
Organized with NY Community Trust and Surdna Foundation

Hurricane Sandy was one of the most costly and destructive hurricanes in U.S. history, and it exposed New York’s vulnerabilities in a changing climate. This field trip will examine the Hurricane’s impact to some of the City’s waterfront communities and citizen response. We start off with a walking tour in Redhook, Brooklyn, a mixed income neighborhood, known as a thriving enclave for artists and its spectacular river views. Community and City leaders will share stories about how they saved homes and businesses through public-privatephilanthropic partnerships post Sandy and their strategy for mitigating future events. Next we visit UPROSE to learn about how the aftermath of climate events can be used to create a Just Transition. Join us to experience a diversity of inspiring voices and perspectives about how New York is tackling the threats posed by climate change.


  • Allison Corwin, Program Officer, Sustainable Environments, Surdna Foundation

  • Arturo Garcia-Costas, Program Officer, Thriving Communities, The New York Community Trust

  • Shuaib Siddiqui, Director of Impact Investing, Surdna Foundation

  • Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE

  • Tevina Willis, Red Hook WIFI Communications Associate, Red Hook Initiative

Field Trip: Exploring Green Built Infrastructure by Foot: A Waterfront Walking Tour in DUMBO (DUMBO = “Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass”) (Tuesday, March 5th | 12:00 PM)
Organized with Natural Resources Defense Council and Mercer

Green infrastructure is visible throughout Brooklyn’s built landscape. We’ll start with a brief exploration of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge itself, which incorporates state-of-the-art energy and environmental design to demonstrate urban sustainability made real. Following, we head out on foot to explore DUMBO’s spectacular waterfront, while soaking in some of the sites and tastes of this beautiful neighborhood. Along the way we’ll hear how a once ramshackle shoreline was transformed to become one of the city’s most prized public parks and go-to destinations. Join us as we learn more about green infrastructure within our built environment, why it’s so important, and how investors can support such kinds of projects.


  • Jason Babbie, Senior Director, Healthy People & Thriving Communities, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

  • Amy Chester, Managing Director, Rebuild by Design

  • Sarah Dougherty, Green Finance Manager, Natural Resources Defense Council

  • Jay Koh, Managing Director and Founder, Lightsmith Group

  • Roland Lewis, President and CEO, Waterfront Alliance

  • John Macintosh, Partner, Seachange Capital Partners

  • John Mandyck, CEO, Urban Green Council

  • Max Messervy, Senior Associate, Responsible Investment Consultant, Mercer

  • Nicole Palomino, Senior Events Manager, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

  • Russell Unger, Chief Strategy Officer, Urban Green Council

Climate Gala: Building a True Climate Movement (Wednesday, March 6th | 6:00 PM)
Organized with Hip Hop Caucus

Special Performance by Antonique Smith, Grammy Nominated Singer

Confluence partners with The Hip Hop Caucus to host a unique discussion about movement building in the context of climate change followed by a networking gala filled with surprises. The evening event aligns with the one-year anniversary of Hip Hop Caucus’s podcast series “Think 100%: The Coolest Show on Climate Change.” In honor of the anniversary and as a special treat for Confluence delegates, we will be hosting a live taping of the Think 100% anniversary podcast show.

This particular show centers around how vulnerable communities will be impacted and transformed by climate change and the role philanthropy and impact investing can play. The hosts and speakers will surface recent real-life examples,  bring to light a conversation deeply rooted in solutions, and challenge how we truly put communities at the heart of those solutions before, during and after climate-related disasters strike. Together, we will explore the role foundations and investors play in supporting movement building and what our community needs to do to address the climate crisis.


  • Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization,

Hip Hop Caucus (Host)

  • Antonique Smith, Grammy Nominated Singer, Actress, Activist and People’s Climate Music Ambassador (Host)

  • Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus (Host)


  • Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund

  • Amy Goodman, Journalist, Democracy Now!

  • Regina Hall, Actress, Climate Activist

Collaborations in Climate Investing (Thursday, March 7th | 11:30 AM)
Organized with John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Global leaders increasingly recognize that climate change poses a threat to progress, prosperity, and biodiversity. Within this context, and as the U.S. relaxes environmental regulations, should investors lead on the climate front? And how can collaborative efforts advance this leadership? In this session, presenters will share how they have developed, or are developing, large-scale collaborations around resilience, sustainable land use, energy access, and innovative financial structures to demonstrate the urgency and ambition in climate investing. We will explore considerations for implementing a collaborative investment model and show how effective collaboration can scale solutions.


  • John Balbach, Associate Director, Impact Investments, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (moderator)

  • Shilpa Patel, Director, Mission Investing, Climateworks Foundation

  • Susan Phinney-Silver, Director, Mission Investing, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

  • Ramsay Ravenel, Executive Director, The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment

  • Marilyn Waite, Climate and Finance Program Officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Pathways to Community Solar: C2C Working Group Meeting (Thursday, March 7th | 3:00 PM)
Organized with California Clean Energy Fund and Candide Group

Everyone is welcome to the Climate Solutions Collaborative’s strategic discussion about community solar. Join us for a ‘minds-on’ workshop about building the community solar industry-ecosystem. We’ll hear from the frontline community leaders, intermediaries, and investors as they share their frustrations, visions for partnership, and success stories. If you are curious about this landscape, building your own strategy, or a solar veteran, join us to learn about who’s doing what where, and how. Open discussion will be the format.


  • Aner Ben-Ami, Managing Director, Candide Group (moderator)

  • Lyn Benander, CEO, Co-Op Power

  • Christina Borsum, Chief Financial Officer, California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF)

  • Wendolyn Hollland, Director, Holland Consulting LLC

  • Ken Locklin, Senior Advisor, Clean Energy Finance, Energy Foundation

  • Rudi Navarra, Director of Investments, The Solutions Project

  • Shuaib Siddiqui, Director of Impact Investing, Surdna Foundation

  • Steph Speirs, Co-Founder and CEO, Solstice