Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Track


The Diversity Equity and Inclusion track provides deep discussion, compelling research, and model investments for investing with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year’s program focuses on racial equity, reproductive rights, investing in Native communities, and investing with a gender lens. The field trips will showcase examples of affordable housing and arts projects that touch upon the social issues of our time.

Keynote | Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder in Residence, PolicyLink (Tuesday, March 5th | 9:10 AM)

Angela Glover Blackwell, founded PolicyLink in 1999 to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, and infrastructure. A lawyer by training, Angela is the co-author of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future (W.W. Norton & Co., 2010), and author of The Curb-Cut Effect, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2017. She is a frequent speaker at major conferences and a commentator for some of the nation’s top news organizations.

Practitioners Institute: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Tuesday, March 5th | 9:30 AM)

Flashtalk by Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings School Law (Tuesday, March 5th | 9:30 AM)

The DEI session offers conference attendees a chance for deep discussion and candid conversation around how markets have traditionally excluded large swaths of society based on race and/or gender. We will frame the concept of equity from the plenary’s outset, and we will hear from experienced practitioners in the field on best practices and lessons learned for creating change around DEI in their organizations.

“We Are More Than Numbers” (Tuesday, March 5th | 9:45 AM)
The data surrounding the number of women and people of color in positions of influence within the investment industry is disappointing and daunting. Panel participants will dig into how we can better measure what matters, build and empower diverse leadership, and create a movement for real change within philanthropy and the investment industry.

Speakers:

  • Fatima Angeles. Vice President of Programs, California Wellness Foundation (moderator)

  • Erika Davies, Racial Equity Consultant, Confluence Philanthropy

  • Edward Dugger III, President, Reinventure Capital

  • Sonia Kowal, President, Zevin Asset Management

Building Equity Solutions (Tuesday, March 5th | 10:55 AM)
Despite the challenges, there are steps we can take right now to begin to build a more equitable paradigm. Join us to hear about strategies that are working and lessons learned.

Speakers:

  • Jeff Rosen, CFO, Solidago Foundation and Confluence Board Member (moderator)

  • Luz Vega-Marquis, President and CEO, Marguerite Casey Foundation

  • Jocelyn Sargent, Executive Director, Hyams Foundation

Community Speak Out (Tuesday, March 5th | 11:45 AM)
Session attendees will engage in a broad group discussion around how we can build a more inspiring DEI movement in philanthropy and the financial sectors.

Facilitated by Dana Lanza, CEO, Confluence Philanthropy

Field Trip: Brooklyn Affordable Housing: Leveraging Investor Creativity to Foster Greater Opportunity (Tuesday, March 5th | 12:00 PM)
Organized with van Ameringen Foundation

Brooklyn – a new global hot-spot – is having to balance rapid growth, affordability and an array of special needs. While it is arguably government’s responsibility to enable deep subsidies and serve the very low-income population and the homeless, endowments can play a creative and responsible role in leveraging such resources. Some argue that more public dollars would be available to address such issues if there was greater investment flow into NY’s burgeoning mixed-income housing market, placing less reliance on controversial public subsidies for developers. As investors, how do we make the best use of public and private dollars to meet the wide range of need in demanding markets such as New York City? How do we leverage our influence to craft enlightened public policy and structural change? Join non-profit affordable housing developers and investors, along with Jonathan Rose, President of Jonathan Rose Companies, to tour a vibrant new housing development, and explore the dynamic yet embattled Brooklyn housing landscape.

Speakers:

  • Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director, 5th Ave Committee

  • Laura Kind McKenna, Trustee and Treasurer of the Patricia Kind Family Foundation, Trustee of the van Ameringen Foundation

  • Brendan McLaughlin, Executive Director of Credit & Special Underwriting and Credit Committee Chair, Office of Development, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

  • Mark Reed, Principal & Founder, The Contact Fund

  • Jonathan Rose, President, Jonathan Rose Companies

  • Ismene Speliotis, Executive Director, MHANY Management Inc.

Field Trip: Brooklyn Art, Culture, and a Community in Change (Tuesday, March 5th | 12:00 PM)
Organized with Hip Hop Caucus and Brooklyn Community Foundation

Like many of America’s major metropolitan areas, Brooklyn’s vitality and diversity has nurtured and attracted a thriving arts scene -- an eclectic tapestry of cultural expression and neighborhood pride. Three decades of aggressive development have brought major changes however in the borough’s landscape and demographics. How does art and culture fare in the midst of these pressures? And can local arts initiatives be a force for community stabilization and resident-driven growth? We’ll explore these questions through a short viewing of the some of the borough’s new mega buildings in the midst of burgeoning downtown Brooklyn; then we’ll travel to the largely African-American and Latinx areas of Bedford-Stuyvesant andEast New York to visit with three community organizations that address art in the context of real-life challenges and the search for not only survival but viable economic opportunity.

Speakers:

  • Amy Chou, Program Officer, Brooklyn Community Foundation

  • Dr. Divine Pryor, Executive Director, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions

  • Catherine Green, Founder and Executive Director, ARTs East New York

  • Terence “TC” Muhammad, Community Outreach Manager, Hip Hop Caucus

  • Regine Roumain, Founder, Haiti Cultural Exchange

Democratizing Finance Plenary (Wednesday, March 6th | 9:30 AM)

To democratize finance, we must go beyond the world of high-end private investing and become inclusive of both retail investors and community-based decision-making practices. To achieve values-based investing at scale, there needs to be innovation in both the way investment dollars are sourced and how they are deployed for deepest impact. This discussion will engage philanthropic, community, and finance industry leaders to explore an inspiring array of solutions-oriented investment approaches that support the development of just and sustainable economies.

Speakers:

  • Don Chen, President, Surdna Foundation (moderator)

  • Tim Lampkin, CEO, Higher Purpose Co.

  • Rob Thomas, President, Social(k)

  • Megan Thompson, Mission Investments Officer, Mission Investments, Ford Foundation

  • Nick Tilsen, President and CEO, NDN Collective, Oglala Lakota Tribal Member

Investing in Native Communities Luncheon (Wednesday, March 6th | 12:00 PM)

This special luncheon will highlight voices from social entrepreneurs who are developing opportunities to invest in Native Tribal Enterprises and community development projects across a range of return spectrums - from grants to market-rate returns. The luncheon is led by Jim Enote of Zuni Pueblo, a leading voice in philanthropy, and will also feature the voices of investors partnering with Native American communities.

Speakers:

  • Jim Enote, Director, Colorado Plateau Foundation (moderator)

  • Carla Fredericks, Director, American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School

  • Loe Marcoline, Executive Director, Womadix Fund

  • Vanessa Roanhorse, Founder, Roanhorse Consulting

  • Eva Schulte, Vice President for Economic Opportunity, Travois

Beyond Quality Jobs: The Transformative Power of Worker-Ownership (Wednesday, March 6th | 1:30 PM)
Organized with Libra Foundation, RSF Social Finance, and the Fund for Democratic Communities

In the spirit of truth and transparency, this panel will delve into how our practice can range from incremental change to strategies that result in true transformation. We will explore how supporting worker-ownership is one critical way investors can promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. This discussion will feature a mix of wealth inheritors, lenders, cooperative developers, and worker-owners. Each of the speakers, in their distinct roles, will share how self-reflection and personal development has impacted their path and practice in the field.

Speakers:

  • Alex Haber, Philanthropic Advisor, RSF Social Finance (moderator)

  • Cathy Albisa, Executive Director, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI)

  • Linda Diaz, President, Brooklyn Stone and Tile

  • Brendan Martin, Founder & Director, The Working World

  • Ed Whitfield, Co-Managing Director, Fund for Democratic Communities

Case for Accountability: Considering Potential Harm for Smarter Investing & Stronger Impact (Wednesday, March 6th | 1:30 PM)
Organized with Woodcock Foundation

Current impact investment due diligence and measurement frameworks tend to focus on how deals can create social and environmental change. Unfortunately, they don’t fully consider all external stakeholders and the potential harm to local communities. We will explore this gap and discuss resources and tools for creating more accountability in our investment practices. By being more thoughtful about the full force of the impact of our investments, we as investors can make more informed decisions about intended and unintended outcomes; avoid and mitigate harm where it can be identified; and hold investees accountable for measuring and reporting on social results. Panelists will share their own personal stories about investment projects gone wrong and tools for improved diligence and monitoring.

Speakers:

  • Stacey Faella, Executive Director, Woodcock Foundation (moderator)

  • Natalie Bridgeman Fields, Founder and Executive Director, Accountability Counsel

  • Will Morgan, Head of Impact, Sonen Capital

  • Mali Ole Kaunga, Director, Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation (IMPACT)

  • Gabino Vicente, Community Leader, Mexico

Gender Lens Investing Breakfast (Wednesday, March 6th | 8:45 AM)
Organized with Nia Community Foundation

Join us for a timely discussion of women’s leadership and empowerment more broadly. Hear the strategic reasons why adopting a gender lens can have ripple effects within your organization, your portfolio and throughout our economy.

Speakers:

  • Kristin Hull, Founder, Nia Community Foundation (moderator)

  • Tracy Gray, Trustee, CSUDH Foundation

  • Michael Lent, Chief Investment Officer, Veris Wealth Partners

Keynote Conversation with Anand Giridharadas and Edgar Villanueva (Thursday, March 5th | 9:00 AM)

Moderated by Deborah Frieze, Co-founder and Board Chair, Boston Impact Initiative

Anand Giridharadas, author of “Winners Take All”

This is an exciting time for social innovation. Billions of dollars are flowing into philanthropy, market-driven solutions and social entrepreneurship are flourishing, and social impact consulting and impact investing have become established professions. Yet, in Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, Anand Giridharadas, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, and current New York Times Bestselling Author, explains why we should not be so quick to celebrate our advances. Do the elite hijack social change? Anand shares a deeply compelling self-analysis, to challenge an ‘impact’ industry struggling with contradiction.

Edgar Villanueva, author of “Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance”

Edgar Villanueva is a nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy and author of Decolonizing Wealth, which offers hopeful and compelling alternatives to the dynamics of colonization in the philanthropic and social finance sectors. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy and is a Board Member of the Andrus Family Fund, a national foundation that works to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth. Additionally, Edgar is an instructor with The Grantmaking School at the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University and Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. There he oversees grant investment and capacity-building supports for education-focused justice campaigns across the United States. 

Addressing Income Inequality in a Market Rate Impact Portfolio: Can it Be Done? (Thursday, March 7th | 11:30 AM)
Organized with Community Capital Management

Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high. Many of the issues and challenges that greatly concern socially conscious investors stem from the widening gap between rich and poor and its harmful effects on the most vulnerable populations and communities. Values-driven investors have historically pursued investment opportunities that indirectly touch upon income inequality, but are there solutions that address income inequality head-on? Can we tackle income inequality with market-rate investments? This panel will feature a lively discussion among successful practitioners about the feasibility of addressing income inequality through a variety of investment approaches.

Speakers:

  • David Sand, Chief Investment Strategist, Community Capital Management (moderator)

  • Olympia de Castro, Partner, Strategy & Investments, Community Investment Management

  • Andrea Dobson, Chief Financial Officer, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

  • Nick Flores, Director, Impact Investing, The Caprock Group

Special Luncheon: Racial Equity Initiative (Thursday, March 7th | 12:45 PM)

How do we ‘speak truth to power’ in confronting the 1.1% of assets controlled by women and people of color-led investment firms and the less than 13% of individuals of color represented in senior positions at investment offices of foundations and private firms? Is there a widespread understanding of structural barriers, implicit bias, and microagressions that impede progress? Confluence began this vital yet murky conversation with an energetic group of 20 representatives of asset owners and managers in a January two-day retreat. This exciting discussion plus other aspects of Confluence’s Kellogg-funded “Racial Equity in Impact Investing Initiative” will be presented at this luncheon, which will invite engagement from all participants.

Speakers:

  • Millard “Mitty” Owens, Advisor Program Director, Confluence Philanthropy (moderator)

  • Dimple Abichandani, Executive Director, General Service Foundation

  • Akasha Absher, Chief Consulting Officer, Syntrinsic Investment Counsel

  • Dan Chu, Executive Director, Sierra Club Foundation, and Confluence Board Member

  • Dana Lanza, CEO, Confluence Philanthropy

Becoming Better Allies: A Workshop About Racial Equity and Inclusion (Thursday, March 7th | 3:00 PM)
Organized with Nia Community Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Given the revelations of little more than 1% of the world’s global investments being managed by people of color, many in the Confluence community are seeking concrete steps towards greater “DEI” – diversity, equity and inclusion. Positioned as a post-conference activity, this session is designed to foster an informal, engaging, and candid conversation among all participants regarding the opportunities and practical challenges faced in shifting longstanding, mainstream behavior to accept the active cultivation of new networks and trusted financial partnerships with firms owned by people of color and/or benefiting communities of color. We will hear insights from foundation leaders and investment managers about the significant efforts they have undertaken, followed by an open exchange on the obstacles people may be experiencing and practical means of overcoming these challenges. The session will include a brief review of some important concepts in the development of historical and structural discrimination and explore a common framework regarding the concepts underlying DEI. Like the other events regarding DEI at this Gathering, this session will help to strengthen the foundation for Confluence’s continuing Racial Equity in Investments Initiative. 

Speakers:

  • Alexandra Aquino-Fike, Vice President of Development, East Bay Community Foundation

  • Amy Chung, Director of Program Related Investments, The California Endowment

  • Rodney Foxworth, Executive Director, Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

  • Ivy Jack, Head of Equity Research, NorthStar Asset Management

  • Dianna Tremblay, Director of Acceleration, ICA Fund Good Jobs

Filling the Gap: Bringing New and Different Investment into Reproductive Health (Thursday, March 7th | 3:00 PM)
Organized with Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and Tara Health Foundation

Reproductive health is underinvested in, due to political complexities, challenging market conditions, and uncertain returns. The Reproductive Health Investors Alliance will bring new private-sector business models to reproductive health and justice efforts with the backing of committed philanthropies, family offices, venture investors, and private individuals. In this working group session, we will discuss opportunities that can benefit from private investment models, and we will share our learnings from the early days of the Alliance’s history.

Speakers:

  • Rini Banerjee, President, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

  • Lisa Hammann, COO, Tara Health Foundation