Last week, the Case Foundation team, including our founders, Steve and Jean Case, had the pleasure of participating in the 17th Annual Milken Institute Global Conference with more than 3,000 investors, policymakers philanthropists, and thought leaders from around the globe.
We were particularly struck by the momentum and buzz around impact investing at the conference. Jean and Steve joined CNBC live for a short discussion on the topic, and shared their thoughts into the potential for impact investing to move from a niche concept to a mainstream investing strategy. The room was packed for the panel, “Investing for Impact: What’s in Your Portfolio?” featuring Jean Case, and moderated by Matthew Bishop from the Economist. Double bottom-line innovators, including Tracy Palandjian (Social Finance), En Lee (LGT Venture Philanthropy), and Michael Schlein (Accion), also joined the panel the growth of social capital and shared more on their efforts and early successes. Impact Investing was also the source of great conversations in a number of other forums, from hallway discussions to formal dinners, and the growing interest in the space from this important group of conference-goers was apparent.
While at the conference, we also released a draft of our Short Guide to Impact Investing, under the leadership of our Entrepreneur in Residence, Sean Greene. The guide is designed to help investors – including high-net-worth individuals, foundations, family offices and others – explore the impact investing market and help guide their decisions as they hope to move towards investing that incorporates intent, measurement and transparency when it comes to generating both financial and social returns. We’re currently accepting public comments on the draft, and we thank the many of you who have already given us tremendous feedback that will help sharpen and improve the guide before we publish the final version in the coming months.
In addition to impact investing, Jean and Steve had the opportunity to take the stage to discuss other topics they’re passionate about. Jean joined some of the world’s most innovative philanthropists for the panel discussion, “Philanthropy Now: Prizes, Purpose, and People.” Moderated by the Templeton Foundation’s Jim Pitkofsky and also featuring Australian philanthropist Andrew Forrest, Tsitsi Masiyiwa of Zimbabwe’s Higher Life Foundation, Dick Merkin of the Heritage Provider Network and Faster Cures, and George Weiss, the panelists shared their own experiences on innovating in philanthropy through a number of approaches, including prizes and challenges. The Case Foundation was an early experimenter in prizes and competitions in philanthropy, beginning with the Make It Your Own Awards, which was widely acknowledged as the first time a foundation has allowed the public to play a role in grantmaking decisions. The panel also featured a lively discussion on incorporating the principles that made one successful in business to their philanthropic endeavors.
Our chairman, Steve Case, joined Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and tech entrepreneur and academic Vivek Wadhwa for a panel on “Adjusting to the Tech Revolution: Surfing the Wave or Swept Away?” moderated by Dennis Kneale. In a spirited conversation, they examined how industries and consumers navigate the tech revolution as it snowballs through all aspects of society, from our personal lives to business and banking, health, education, transportation and communication.
Steve also joined Bonin Bough (Mondelez International), Ryan Kavanaugh (Relativity Media) and Lynn Tilton (Patriarch Partners) to guest judge a fast pitch competition, hosted by Daniel Gorfine of the Milken Institute. Companies judged included Nightingale, Immudicon, VirtualU, Sension, and Skip. In this first-ever Milken Institute-Kairos Society pitch competition, student entrepreneurs from each company pitched their concepts in front of a packed, pressure-filled theater. Congratulations to Catalin Voss, selected by the audience as the winner of the competition.
Watch Jean and Steve’s panels and the pitch competition from the Milken Global Conference online at the links below. Check out more from the Milken Institute online HERE.