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8 Must-Read SSIR Articles for SOCAP19 Attendees

SOCAP September 16, 2019

To help you prepare for the conversations that will be taking place at SOCAP19 we asked our media partners to curate a selection of recent stories they have published on today’s most important topics in the impact space. This week’s suggested reading comes from SSIR. Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) aims to keep leaders informed about and inspired by the latest advances in social change. SSIR highlights cross-sector solutions to a wide range of social and environmental issues, and many of the articles published in the last year touch on SOCAP19’s themes, including impact investing, racial equity, refugees, the future of work, and sustainable agriculture.
Our editors have curated a list of our most popular and cogent articles published since SOCAP18 to inspire new thinking ahead of the conference. Here are the 8 articles every SOCAP attendee should read:

1. Creating New Pathways to Capital

Inequity continues to plague the lending industry, but a micro-lending program in New Mexico has created a solution that is providing underserved communities the capital they need. Robin Brulé and Alvin Warren with City Alive are working to grow the Albuquerque economy through homegrown businesses, local leaders, and an emphasis on outreach to communities.

2. Pay for Success Faces a Funding Gap

The adoption of Pay for Success (PFS) contracts has inspired a new era of service contracting that utilizes data and preventive initiatives to produce government savings, improve people’s lives, and recycle philanthropic capital. However, authors Mary Margaret Frank and Stefano Rumi of the University of Virginia make the case that proponents of PFS have subsidized much of this success, making scalability without impact investing and philanthropic capital highly questionable.

3. Cocreating With the Base of the Pyramid

Companies seeking to do business in low-income markets often make the mistake of transferring assets from higher-income markets to fill perceived gaps. Ted London, author of The Base of the Pyramid Promise, and Urs Jäger, associate professor at INCAE business school, contend that firms should instead look to partner with those who live in these markets and identify the assets already available there. Adopting a co-creation strategy like this can unlock new growth opportunities for companies and contribute to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

4. SERIES: How Foundations Are Using Impact Investing to Advance Racial Equity

Foundations and their partners have been fighting for racial equity for decades through grant-making and advocacy. But the time has come for them to put an additional tool—impact investing—to work in advancing these goals. In this series, presented in partnership with Mission Investors Exchange, 10 foundation presidents share their organization’s efforts to embed commitments to racial equity into their institutions and impact investing practices.

5. The New Era of Refugee Investing

John Kluge and Tim Docking at the Refugee Investment Network challenge the common view of refugee investment as a “bad bet” in this article. While forcibly displaced people face serious challenges, often stemming from underinvestment, research shows they are loyal, creditworthy, and investable. In fact, a closer look at how investors are helping refugees fulfill their potential reveals enormous opportunity for growth and development.

6. Women and the Future of Work

Marissa Wesely, co-founder of Win-Win Strategies, and Linda Midgley at PwC argue that the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is changing the nature of work, putting the female workforce at economic risk. Ensuring that women are not left behind will require that governments, companies, educational institutions, and civil society work together toward economic empowerment and opportunity.

7. Scaling Power for Global Prosperity

Ending energy poverty to address systemic inequality requires a much more ambitious plan than philanthropic and nonprofit leaders currently envision. Sheila Herrling and Todd Moss of the Energy for Growth Hub contend that instead of improving household access to electricity, foundations and policymakers should focus on building high-energy networks that deliver abundant and reliable power at scale.

8. Foundations Can Unlock a Food System to Feed the World

In the face of climate change and rapid population growth, financing small farmers and food businesses is essential to building a resilient food system. Meredith Storton, manager of social enterprise lending at RSF Social Finance, and Jennifer Astone, director at the Swift Foundation, argue that flexible, patient capital is needed to help make a food system that will thrive.

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