7:30 - 9:00 AM  |  Breakfast & Registration

Practitioner Institute Track 9AM-12PM
Open to Confluence Practitioner and Advisor Members Only

9:00 – 10:00 AM  |  Keynote
Kate Wolford, President, The McKnight Foundation

Kate Wolford is president of The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation that seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, collaboration, impact investing, and strategic policy reform. In 2015, the Foundation had assets of $2.2 billion and granted more than $88 million in the following areas: arts, education and learning, Midwest climate and energy, Mississippi River water quality, the Minneapolis/St. Paul region and communities, agricultural research, and neuroscience research. Under Kate’s leadership, Mc Knight earmarked $200 million for higher impact investments; developing a new lower carbon investment product; and promoting impact investing as a tool for learning among grantmaking staff. Kate will share the story of McKnight’s extraordinary journey and how she is thinking about impact investing in the era ahead.  


10:00 AM – 12:00 PM  |  Practitioners Institute: What’s Love Got to Do With It? Aligning our Values to Build a Sustainable, Inclusive America
Open to Practitioner and Advisor Members Only

In this opening session for Practitioner and Advisors Members we will explore this transitional moment, how we find ourselves here and the ways in which we respond. Significantly, this is a discussion among impact investors, a community of influential individuals and mission-driven institutions with unique roles to play as private investors, philanthropists, and progressive investment managers.  This session features the voices of Confluence members along the impact spectrum from concessionary to market rate investing, allowing time for community discourse about how we can become stronger, more cohesive investors across issue areas to build a sustainable, more inclusive America. Discussion will focus around social integration, jobs, climate, and healthcare. Much of this year’s Practitioners  Institute will provide time for Members to share in a large-group facilitated format.  

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM  |  Practitioners Institute Keynote
David Simas, CEO, The Obama Foundation & Obama Presidential Center

David Simas is Director of The Obama Foundation. Prior, he served as the Assistant  to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. He worked closely with senior advisors David Axelrod and David Plouffe, in these capacities. He also acted as Director of Opinion Research for President Obama's re-election. Before moving to Washington DC, David served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. David joins us at this year’s Practitioners Institute to share his perspectives and to engage in an interactive dialogue about how we move forward in fostering the integration of newly arrived immigrants, his insights about the healthcare crisis, and how we can continue to work together to address climate change. 

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM  |  Practitioners Institute Facilitated Discussion


  • Fatima Angeles, Vice President of Programs, The California Wellness Foundation
  • Lisa Hayles, Vice-President, Institutional Investment Services, Boston Common Asset Management
  • Sandra Mikush, Co-Founder, Just Transition Fund
  • Joohee Rand, Vice President for Community Investment and Strategy, Santa Fe Community Foundation
  • Tracy Russ, Principal, SOLID (Facilitator)
  • Morgan Simon, Managing Director, Pi Investments
  • Terry Tamminen, CEO, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Welcome Track 9AM-12PM
Open to all Pre-Conference Attendees

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 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. Though this is true for any investor, 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? In this session, representatives from both foundations and families share their perspectives on what has worked well (and what hasn’t) at 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 who work 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 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? This session encourages honest and open discussion of how foundations and asset owners have had good and bad relationships with investment advisors who offer impact investing services. The session offers actionable tips for assets owners to build better relationships with their advisors.


  • Steven Godeke, Trustee, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation & Founder, Godeke Consulting (Moderator)
  • Wendy Holding, CFA, The 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 Impact on Sustainability
Organized by Rockefeller & Co

Corporate governance is a critical third element of the environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) investing in 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 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 explores best practices and case studies in engaging boards towards better governance over sustainability.


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


12:00 – 12:15 PM  |  Break


12:15 – 1:30 PM  |  Special Luncheon with David Simas (by invitation only)


12:15 – 12:30 PM  |  Board buses for Field Trips (Field Trips included in Practitioners Institute registration)

12:30 – 4:30 PM  |  Field Trips & Off-site Sessions (Choose One)

Field Trip: Affordable Housing In the Aftermath of Katrina
Sponsored by Gray Matters Capital
Like many American cities, New Orleans is experiencing dramatic demographic changes that have made affordable housing more scarce and less resilient to market shifts. Also similar to other American cities, legacies of discrimination in housing policy and urban design continue to impact vulnerable residents and native New Orleanians. Since the catastrophe of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, New Orleans has struggled to make the housing recovery truly equitable, but the upheaval has allowed innovative solutions to emerge.

Join local experts on a tour of different approaches to supporting and improving affordable housing in New Orleans, from impactful policy advocacy to unique financing models for real estate development. Longstanding community ties are under threat from winds of change that feel strong as a hurricane, and this is an opportunity to meet dedicated New Orleanians who are doing much more than holding an umbrella.


  • Anna Cable, Innovation and Business Development Lead, Gray Matters Capital
  • Reverend Willie Calhoun, local affordable housing advocate and community leader
  • Andreanecia Morris, Executive Director, HousingNOLA 
  • David Sand, Chief Investment Strategist, Community Capital Management


Field Trip: Building Community Resilience in the Face of Sea Level Rise
Kayak Expedition - Weather Permitting

This field trip is sold out - please contact us if you would like to be added to the Wait List.

There may be no other place in the lower 48 where climate change is more visible than the Mississippi Delta. Due in large part to the over-engineering of the Mississippi River, Louisiana's diminished wetlands have left urban areas more vulnerable to extreme weather while some communities are literally already sinking. As sea levels rise and threaten coastal communities around the world, this trip will provide a firsthand look at the environmental features and wildlife that are on the front lines. Participants will kayak through mesmerizing, forested swampland that will give outdoors enthusiasts a unique opportunity to see Louisiana’s beautiful but highly fragile natural ecosystems up close, while learning about efforts to invest in local resilience. Paddling through the bayou wilderness will give participants new appreciation for the visible urgency of climate change, its effects on our natural systems, and innovative approaches to addressing this concern on local and global scales. 


  • Bob Marshall, Lost Lands Tours
  • Mark Spalding, Executive Director, The Ocean Foundation & Board Member, Confluence Philanthropy
  • Kristen Tracz, Program Officer, The Walton Family Foundation


Field Trip: Supporting Local Economies through Sustainable Food
Bike Tour - Weather Permitting

This field trip is sold out - please contact us if you would like to be added to the Wait List.

Food is at the very heart of Louisiana’s fascinating history and rich culture. Since the tragic impacts of Hurricane Katrina local leaders and community investors have joined forces to revitalize the community by building an innovative place-based pipeline for culinary entrepreneurs. On this bike tour, participants will make the first of two stops at the renowned Roux Carre: “Food Port of New Orleans:” an accelerator for emerging food-preneurs and a showcase for up-and-coming performing and visual artists; where they will choose lunch from the vendors representing the African American, Caribbean, and Latin American influences on New Orleans culture. Then, bikers will head to Propeller: “A Force for Social Innovation,” a nonprofit dedicated to driving social, environmental, and economic impact in New Orleans by incubating social entrepreneurs with the potential to solve the city’s most pressing issues. Join us to as we jump into New Orleans belly first!


  • Andrea Chen, Executive Director, Propeller
  • Lisa Renstrom, Trustee, Bonwood Foundation & Board Chair, Confluence Philanthropy
  • Jeff Rosen, Chief Financial Officer, Solidago Foundation
  • Emery Van Hook Sonnier, Executive Director, The Link Stryjewski Foundation 
  • Linda Usdin, Board Chair, Propeller


Field Trip: The Legacies of Slavery: The Prison Industrial Complex and Human Trafficking
After 1808, New Orleans became the largest slave market in America; reflected by dozens of unmarked slave auction sites still prevalent in the heart of downtown. This legacy of racism remains: Louisiana incarcerates more people than any other state. This field trip will examine the legacy of slavery with a guided tour of the Whitney Plantation, the only plantation museum in Louisiana with a focus on slavery.

The group will be joined by local activists and investors working to change the prison industrial complex - to highlight the opportunities to make a difference using impact investing focused on prison reform and human trafficking.


  • Shawn Ginwright, Trustee, The California Endowment
  • Norris Henderson, Founder & Executive Director, Voice of the Experienced (VOTE)
  • Leslie Lowe, Program Officer, The Rockefeller Family Fund
  • Josh Zinner, CEO, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility


Offsite Session: An Uncommon Conversation: Shift The Culture - Change The Game
Organized by Veris Wealth Partners 
We are in an unprecedented moment of change, one where creative and cultural social impact strategies are igniting more citizens than ever before. Yet, even with the best intentions, the practices of impact investing and philanthropy have the potential to perpetuate the very dynamics they seek to transform.  How does culture influence the way we approach impact investing and philanthropy?  Are there social impact innovations happening that we are unaware of? Can cultural strategies strengthen our ability to BE the change? Do we have a responsibility to become more conscious in how we shape and mold these times?  Welcome to an Uncommon Conversation. Enjoy a New Orleans gourmet feast, prepared by Chef Linda Greene,  and authentic participatory dialogue with renowned artists and activists, Jessica Norwood (Founder, Runway Project), Rha Goddess (Founder, Move the Crowd), Zella Palmer (Dillard University’s Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture), and Big Chief Clarence Delcour (New Orleans Black Indians Alliance). 


  • Big Chief Clarence Delcour, Co-Founder, New Orleans Black Indians Alliance
  • Patricia Farrar-Rivas, CEO, Veris Wealth Partners
  • Rha Goddess, Founder & CEO, Move the Crowd
  • Linda Green, Owner & Chef, Soul Food Catering Company
  • Jessica Norwood, Fellow, Nathan Cummings Foundation & Founder, Runway Project 
  • Brandan “Bmike” Odums, Local Artist & Filmmaker
  • Zella Palmer, Chair, Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture, Dillard University

Special Guests:

  • Myesha Francis, Local Artist
  • Rashida Govan, Executive Director, Project Butterfly New Orleans
  • Michele Jean Pierre, Executive Director, Ellis Marsalis Music Center
  • Kara Olidge, Executive Director, Amistad Research Center

Session site and co-host:
Dillard University’s Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture


5:00 – 5:30 PM  |  Return from Field Trips

5:30 – 6:30 PM  |  Free Time

6:30 – 7:30 PM  |  Welcome Reception at The Hotel Monteleone (All guests registered for the full conference are welcome to attend)
Music provided by Dr. Jazz and the New Orleans Sounds

7:30 – 9:00 PM  |  Dinner at The Hotel Monteleone (All guests registered for the full conference are welcome to attend and “Grantmaker - Only” tables will be available)
Opening Night Welcome Address:

  • Flozell Daniels, Jr., CEO & President, Foundation for Louisiana
  • Daniel DeSilva, Wildman, Flaming Arrows Mardi Gras Indians
  • Mark Spalding, President, The Ocean Foundation and Board Member, Confluence Philanthropy

9:00 – Late  |  After-Parties (To be announced)