Thematic Conference Tracks

THURSDAY, MARCH 7TH


7:30 – 8:30 AM  |  Breakfast & Registration 


8:45 – 9:00 AM  |  Morning Introduction by Sharon Alpert, President and CEO, Nathan Cummings Foundation


9:00 – 10:00 AM  |  A Discussion with Anand Giridharadas and Edgar Villanueva

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. 


10:00– 11:15 AM  |  Plenary

Is it Time to Stop Talking About "Impact Investing?”

The term “impact investing” can stand in the way of capital deployment. All too often, as investors trip over themselves to define, articulate, and measure the elusive notion of “impact,” blank checks await a recipient and a signature. Is impact capital “dumb money?” Are impact investors somehow more morally correct than other investors? What if we dispensed once and for all with this perplexing moniker and instead adopted terminology that is more effective at getting money out the door? Through this interactive session, we will first evidence the fact that very few agree on what “impact” means. We will then propose a variety of terms that might break through the linguistic barriers to a lexicon that – finally –liberates capital. Audience polling and spirited debate will be used to stimulate this discussion. If nothing else, we might all agree that we really just want to be better investors.

Speakers:

  • James Bunch, Managing Director, AIMS Imprint, Investment Management Division, Goldman Sachs (moderator)

  • Preeti Bhattacharji, Vice President, Integrated Capitals, The Heron Foundation

  • Josh Mailman, President, Joshua Mailman Foundation

  • Robynn Steffen, Director, Impact Investing, Omidyar Network


11:15 - 11:30 AM |  Break


11:30 AM – 12:45 PM  |  Concurrent Sessions (Choose one)

Tales from the Fire: Engaging Emerging Managers
Organized with Athena Capital

Innovative investors tend to chart their own course when they expand their team of advisors and managers to execute on a new strategy. Oftentimes, investors interested in cuttingedge investments find that the field isn’t mature yet and lacks investment managers and products with seasoned track records. What have the pioneers done to build their portfolios and the field? What have they learned from their experiences? This discussion will examine best practices in working with emerging managers within the evolving investing landscape.

Speakers:

  • Kate Huntington, Managing Director, Athena Capital Advisors (moderator)

  • Tamara Larsen, Director, Asset Management, Perella Weinberg Partners

  • Shally Shanker, Founder and Managing Partner, Aiim Partners

  • Adam Wolfensohn, Co-Managing Partner, Encourage Capital

Addressing Income Inequality in a Market Rate Impact Portfolio: Can it Be Done?
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

Collaborations in Climate Investing
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.

Speakers:

  • 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

Clarity on Commitments: Not all Impact Investment Mandates are Created Equal
Organized with Ceniarth

As a field, we have developed a disturbing tendency to celebrate the announcement of any new impact investing commitment with equal fanfare, whether the move represents a truly pioneering approach or an incremental shift in the way assets are managed. But what do these commitments actually mean in practice? This session will feature a range of practitioners discussing the factors – historical constraints, financial return parameters, progressive leadership – that led them to pursue disparate strategies. The discussion will not be limited to specific asset classes, but will focus on how each investor approaches their strategy. We will discuss to what extent practitioners evaluate each investment for direct mission alignment and how/if investments are aligned with programmatic priorities. And we’ll explore how boards approved different strategic approaches and whether certain obstacles stood in the way of even more progressive options.

Speakers:

  • Vince Knowles, Investment Manager, Ceniarth LLC (moderator)

  • Lisa Hall, Senior Fellow, Beeck Center, Social Impact and Innovation

  • Meredith Heimburger, Board Member & Finance Committee Member, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

  • Napoleon Wallace, Board Member, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation 

The Future of Banking

Digital innovations like mobile banking and cryptocurrencies are disrupting the banking industry and creating stiff competition among traditional banks and emerging fintech ventures. This disruption has changed not only the way we buy, sell, borrow and invest, but it has altered the very definitions of currency and banks themselves. It has also pushed banks to better differentiate their products and align their investments with their customers’ values. In this small session, we will explore the banking industry’s latest disruptions – technological and otherwise – to better understand how banks will serve and be served by values-aligned investors in the future.

Speakers:

  • Arjan Schütte, Founder and Managing Partner, Core Innovation Capital (moderator)

  • Yana Kakar, Global Managing Partner, Dalberg Advisors


12:45 - 2:00 PM  |  Lunch with Ad Hoc Sessions

12:45 - 2:00 PM  |  Special Luncheon: Racial Equity Initiative

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


2:00 - 3:00 PM   |  Membership Meeting (Members Only)

Join Confluence Philanthropy’s Board of Directors to hear about the year ahead, ask questions, and share your ideas. We will make special announcements about the successes of our programs over the past year, changes in programming, and ways that you can get involved.


3:00 – 3:15 PM  |  Break

3:15 – 5:15 PM  |  Open Networking

3:15 – 5:15 PM  |  Post Conference Events (Working Groups & Meetings)

Becoming Better Allies: A Workshop About Racial Equity and Inclusion
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
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

Traveling the Road of Buen Vivir: Lessons learned since launching a community-led investment fund
Organized with Thousand Currents

The Buen Vivir Fund was co-designed by Thousand Currents, its grassroots partners in the Global South, and financial investors to support grassroots economic initiatives that build wealth, community power, and buen vivir – ’right living,’ or life in balance with natural systems and future generations. Buen Vivir Fund started as a learning experiment and launched its first round of investments in 2018 to support nine remarkable projects in different parts of the world. In this session, members of the Buen Vivir Fund will share their learnings, challenges, and successes, in the spirit of truth and transparency, as they developed a model that brought love and money into a healthier relationship with one another. The session will include a visioning exercise, interactive presentation, and small group discussions on operationalizing an impact investing fund in which capital can flow in service of well-being. Come hear what these visionary leaders have to say about our shared future in investing!

Speakers:

  • Rajiv Khanna, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Thousand Currents

  • Nina Robinson, Buen Vivir Finance Fellow

  • Gaithiri Siva, Buen Vivir Finance Fellow 

  • Cecilio Solis, CIELO (Indigenous and Local Community Federation of Entrepreneurs of Mexico)

Pathways to Community Solar: C2C Working Group Meeting
Organized with Candide and California Clean Energy Fund

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.

Speakers:

  • 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