Private foundations in the United States alone hold approximately $1 trillion in endowment assets and spend approximately 5 percent of that figure each year on their grant-making and other charitable distributions. Moreover, philanthropists are expanding their use of other funding vehicles – not least LLCs and donor advised funds – and leveraging a variety of instruments including program- and mission-related investments and innovative financing models - to invest in social enterprises and revenue-earning not-for-profits, in order to more effectively advance their charitable missions and better align the totality of their resources with those missions. This growing movement has different aspects and scales — from the place-based to the globally scalable.
But so far, the contributions this capital is making to anything more than incremental change is limited. Viewed and deployed using a wider, systemic perspective, with a more ambitious and courageous agenda, and with an emphasis on transformation, the sector’s resources can meaningfully contribute to building an impact economy. This would represent a proactive approach to solving social and environmental challenges, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, by putting economies and finance in service of the well-being of people and the planet.
This two-day convening will bring together funders and leaders in systems thinking who have a commitment to working collaboratively and proactively to move the impact economy agenda forward. We will explore the landscape, problems, gaps, opportunities, resources, and action steps, aiming to define approaches and build momentum that can be maintained both as a group, and through our respective networks. Some preparation and pre-reading will be required to make the most of our time together.