Monday, march 13, 2017

Special Pre Conference Event
The Welcome Intensive: An Introduction to Impact Investing

The Welcome Intensive is a two-day retreat style introduction to the concepts of impact investing in an expert-led, small group setting. Registration includes participation in the Tuesday Welcome Track sessions. This program is for asset owners new to impact investing and offers a unique opportunity to dive into the Confluence community with a cohort of new peers and allies.

The Intensive begins at 1pm on Monday, March 13th prior to the main Practitioners Gathering, with a half-day training led by Patricia Farrar-Rivas, CEO, Veris Wealth Partners, Regan Pritzker, President, Libra Foundation and Jeff Scheer, Director, Pathstone Federal Street. The facilitators will lead workshops about fiduciary duty, talking to your investment advisors, and other topics critical for new impact investors to know. The first day will conclude with a special dinner hosted by the facilitators. 

Please note that this training is not suited for investment professionals.


Day One of the Intensive: Monday, March 13

1:00 PM      Welcome Address: Dana Lanza, CEO, Confluence Philanthropy

1:15 PM      Group Introductions

We will use interactive exercises and individual sharing to get to know each another and form a learning cohort that will carry us through the conference.

2:00 PM       A Brief History of Social Investing

While the practice of social investing is by no means a new concept, it has experienced exceptional growth in recent years. In this session, we will learn about the history and evolution of social investing, navigate the jargon (is it ESG, SRI, MRI, or impact?), and discuss the distinctions between practices. This will allow participants to clarify the types of investment strategies and tools that they might like to use.

3:00 PM      Break

3:15 PM      Fiduciary Duty and the Role of the Trustee

There is a long-standing belief that the concept of fiduciary duty is an obstacle to mission-related investing. However, recent IRS guidance has provided a way for fiduciaries to better align investment portfolio and charitable purpose. In this session we will discuss what it means to be a steward of philanthropic assets, how to interpret the IRS code, and how to work with your investment team to design policy statements that work for everyone.

4:00 PM      Accountability or Disruption? What's Your Theory of Change?

Responsible investing strategies use tools to hold established corporations accountable and encourage best practices. Impact investing, on the other hand, tends to focus on causing disruption to the status quo by supporting  place-based social enterprises and game-changing new companies. Impact investing can also include new products and services offered within existing companies, such as with publicly traded Tesla. While there is no right choice about which route to take, understanding your options is the first step. In this session we will explore these strategies in depth to help prepare you to craft your own personal theory of change through investing.

5:00 - 6:30 PM  |  Break

6:30 - 8:30 PM  |  Welcome Intensive Dinner (open to the Welcome Intensive cohort)

6:30 - 8:30 PM|  Capacity Gratitude Dinner (by invitation only)

All other attendees are encouraged to dine out in the French Quarter.

Day Two of the Intensive: Tuesday, March 14

The Cohort joins the Welcome Track throughout the morning, accompanied by workshop trainers Jeff Scheer and Patricia Farrar-Rivas.


9:00 – 9:55 AM    The Foundation of Good Governance for Impact Investors

Organized by Cambridge Associates

To create the conditions for good governance, investors must assess whether they have   the appropriate model in place for portfolio oversight and management; are upholding their fiduciary responsibilities; and are learning about peer best practices. Though this is true for any investor, incorporating social goals adds an additional layer of complexity to the process. What practices work well? Does the organization have the right division of roles and responsibilities? Has a policy been established that clarifies mission and goals? Is staff time efficiently allocated? In this session, representatives from both foundations and families share their perspectives on what has worked well—and what hasn’t—in their respective organizations.


  • Berit Ashla, Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
  • Erin Harkless, Senior Investment Director, Cambridge Associates (Moderator)
  • Kristin Hull, Director, Nia Community Fund
  • Shuaib Siddiqui, Director of Impact Investing, Surdna Foundation


9:55 – 10:50 AM    After You Hire Your Impact Investing Advisor: Best Practices in Investment Committee-Advisor Relationships

Organized by Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

Investment committees working in impact investing need to adapt their traditional relationship models with their advisors. Once your investment committee has hired an impact investing advisor, how can you optimize your relationship to create the most impact? How can a committee best articulate its impact investing goals to its advisor? What are some best practices for committees to utilize in working with advisors to surface impact investing opportunities and build good relationships over the long term? What role should committee members play in sourcing investment ideas? How much discretion should your committee give the advisor? This session encourages honest and open discussion of how foundations and asset owners have had both good and bad relationships with impact investment advisors. The session offers actionable tips to help assets owners build better relationships with their advisors.


  • Steven Godeke, Trustee, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation;  Founder, Godeke Consulting (Moderator)
  • Wendy Holding, Trustee, The Domini Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge
  • Beatrice Stern, President, Ralph E. Ogden Foundation


10:50 – 11:05 AM    Break


11:05 AM – 12:00 PM    Engaging the Boards: How to be Effective Shareholders with Positive Impacts on Sustainability

Organized by Rockefeller & Co

Corporate governance is the critical third element of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing in public markets. It ensures the transparency and accountability of companies and allows shareholders to engage with their boards to improve corporate sustainability practices. Investors are increasingly demanding greater responsiveness from boards and seeking ways to engage with them directly on a wide range of issues, including diversity, human rights, executive compensation, and climate change. This session explores best practices and case studies in engaging boards towards better governance for sustainability.


  • Laura Campos, Director, Corporate and Political Accountability, Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Sonia Kowal, President and Director of Socially Responsible Investing, Zevin Asset Management
  • Mariela Vargova, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Impact Investments, Rockefeller & Co (Moderator)