SOCAP19 Session Panelists Discuss the Intersection of Impact Investing, Endowments From Cultural Institutions, and the Creative Economy
In the wake of the Purdue Pharma scandal, which revealed that the Sackler family was illegally marketing opioids and pushing doctors to prescribe more of them, funding of the art world came into focus. That’s because the Sackler family had donated money to many artistic and cultural institutions around the world, which now seems to have been a strategy to cast the family in a more positive public light.
The Sackler family is not the sole controversial source of arts funding. As Justina Lai says in the SOCAP19 session shared below, “It’s been hard to miss a lot of the news that people have been seeing this year (2019) around the sources of donations to cultural institutions and museums, coming in particular from individuals and institutions that are associated with controversial issues, like opioids, tobacco, firearms, private prisons.” Lai adds that these revelations led to conversations around what sources of funding cultural institutions should avoid and, furthermore, what these institutions should use their own endowments to support.
The session, “Saying No to Opioid Money Is Not Enough: Bringing $60 Billion of Arts Endowments Off the Sidelines for Impact Investing,” focused on the role of these endowments in the creative economy and the broader impact investing community. (Watch the session below!) Panelists included:
- Justina Lai, Director of Impact Investing at Wetherby Asset Management, Moderator
- Laura Callanan, Founding Partner of Upstart Co-Lab
- Maxwell L. Anderson, President of Souls Grown Deep Foundation
- Philippe Gaboriau, Director of Louvre Endowment Fund
- Ravi Rajan, President of California Institute of the Arts
- Tom Campbell, Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
To start off the conversation, Laura Callanan discussed the breadth of the creative economy and noted that it touches upon food, film, music, fashion, graphic design, architecture, and more. “There’s a really special role that creatives can play in terms of creating the marketplace so that all of the work that the rest of us have been thinking about and contributing to in terms of sustainable supply chains really has a place to land,” Callanan says.
The panelists then each discussed their organizations and missions. “(For typical museum endowments,) the primary emphasis is return on investment and socially responsible investment has only recently become a topic of discussion,” Campbell said. “And I think it’s a critical issue. I’m happy to be addressing it today.”
Watch the full session below.