This session will use a place-based lens to demonstrate the value of developing emergent impact economies across the United States with the intent of keeping impact capital local. The benefits of these capital mobilizing approaches are significant because they can curate a partnership between private, public and philanthropic dollars that, in its blended state, can start to move the needle on the systemic challenges facing communities across the nation.
By acting as “the steroid and not the muscle,” placed-based ecosystem-building initiatives across the United States are popping up to help educate about the benefits impact investing, convene players across communities to build coalitions, and highlight place-based funding opportunities. All of this is done in a neutral way without the cumbersome structure of raising capital or managing a fund, allowing the upside to sit with socially- and sustainably-minded entrepreneurs, who otherwise would have had to seek funding elsewhere.
This panel, in particular, spotlights three ecosystem-builders: 1) ImpactPHL in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 2) the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative in Atlanta, Georgia and 3) the New Mexico Impact Investing Collaborative in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In a discussion moderated by Amy Cortese of Impact Alpha (author of Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It), leaders of these organizations will share successes, challenges and opportunities for investment in their maturing impact economies. They will also lay out a blueprint for how to scale this model of supporting forward-minded leaders and practitioners that are aligning their financial assets to drive social, environmental, and economic solutions in your region.
Why does this matter? Currently, there are over $30 trillion in assets under management in portfolios with a focus on sustainable investments, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing any time soon. However, contemporary capitalism has created negative externalities that include poverty, racial and gender inequities, environmental vulnerabilities, education shortcomings, and more. So, how do we model new leadership, culture, systems, and tools to divest from harmful business practices and invest in positive solutions? Global and local adoption of tools – such as impact investing, ESG investing, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, and more – can begin to lay the groundwork for the growth of impact economies.
A pathway to achieve this vision includes engaging diverse stakeholders – investors, asset managers, entrepreneurs, businesses, philanthropy, and government – to align our full economic power with social and environmental solutions. In doing so, we can address longstanding, systemic issues while creating a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient regional economy.