We All Have a Role to Play

As another week comes to a close since the tragic killing of George Floyd, our communities and our nation are still in a world of hurt, anger and maddening frustration over the scourge of hate and systemic racism that continues to threaten the safety, well-being and rights of African-Americans and people of color in our nation.

As many leaders and individuals speak out, march and call for action and change, we are hopeful that this may be the start of an awakening in America. But we also know we’ve been here before and too often the commitment to bring about real change in our communities isn’t sustained. And we can’t ignore the divisive, threatening and ugly words and tactics of some leaders who seem to reject any suggestion that we as a nation can and should work to better protect and ensure the rights of all our neighbors.

As we write this, as two white, privileged people, we know we must commit to continue to learn, listen and do more. We started the Case Foundation more than 20 years ago to invest in people and ideas that change the world, particularly those that sought to bring hope and opportunity to those in the greatest need. Recent events remind us that we still have a very long way to go.

Real change will only come when each one of us in our lives, in our organizations, and in our communities confronts the harsh realities of American life and asks what we can do to make a real and lasting impact. We have been impressed with the way that so many organizations and people have stood up for what is right and called for all of us to reexamine our roles, our biases and our blind spots. It is clear that we all have a role to play. And it is incumbent on those of us with privileges, platforms, influence or power, to amplify the voices of those that have been drowned out and to maintain a strong drumbeat toward meaningful and sustained progress and action. We are exploring the best ways to activate our platforms and will continue to lift up those working on the front lines and bringing action to communities everywhere. We vow to continue to do this, while also working in partnership with other organizations to ensure we make the greatest impact possible.

Nations rise and fall not on the strength or weakness of their leaders, but rather on the heartfelt commitment and actions of its people. Let us agree together to do the hard work of examining what each one of us can do to make a difference, and then hold ourselves and each other accountable.

Remembering Carol Case

Our hearts are with the Case family as they mourn the passing of Steve Case’s fearless mom, Carol Case. Please join us in sending love and condolences to the Cases as they celebrate and remember her long and full life.

(August 26, 1931 – January 3, 2020)

Carol Mary Holmes Case passed away peacefully at home in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 3 with her children by her side.

Carol was born in Hilo, Hawaii on August 26, 1931 to Everett Nathan Holmes, Jr. and Berenice Castendyk Holmes.  On her mother’s side she was a descendent of Robert Halstead, an entrepreneur who emigrated from England in 1865 to Hawaii (then called the Sandwich Isles) and ended up owning and operating the Waialua Sugar Plantation. Her father’s family was also business-minded, and established the first department stores in Honokaa and Hilo in the 1880s, known as the Holmes Store.  Carol was a true Daughter of Hawaii, with roots that go back more than 150 years.

As a young girl, Carol attended a one room school in Hilo, and spent holiday time in the Volcano area, where her parents built a home which still stands today.  Fearing war with Japan, her parents moved the family in 1941 to California.  While there, Carol attended the Anna Head School for Girls, and then the University of California, both in Berkeley.

After earning her teaching credential at Cal in 1952, Carol returned to Honolulu and began teaching Kindergarten at Punahou School.  She left Punahou to raise her four children, and then returned in the 1980s, taking over as Director of Career Placement.  Her many contacts in the business community enabled Carol to create internships for students in professions that were of interest to them.  After leaving Punahou, Carol became a travel agent and traveled much of the world with her husband Dan and their many friends.

In 1953 Carol met the love of her life and married Daniel H. Case on August 14, 1954. They were happily married for 61 years until Dan’s death in 2016.  Together they raised four children Carin, Dan, Steve and Jeff.  Fortune Magazine profiled her role as a mother in 1999, noting that she believes “love, availability and direction” were among the secrets of successful parenting.

Carol was a beloved friend to many.  She was a generous and active member of the Honolulu community and participated in numerous civic groups and clubs throughout her life, often having served in positions of leadership.  She was a supportive and proud mother of her four children, and a true partner and helpmate in her marriage to her husband Dan.

In 1996, on the occasion of Carol’s 65th birthday, Dan wrote a five-page letter to their four children praising their Mom, which included the following:

“Because the odds are against my being around to give a eulogy later, I thought I would tell you a little about her now. Your Mom is a remarkable woman. She is smart, follows through extremely well, keeps making good friends without giving up her old friends, and has determination. She has been a tremendous help to me in building my law practice. She has a great sense of humor. Without question, marrying your Mom was the most important and successful thing I ever did.”

Carol was predeceased by her husband Dan and her eldest son, Daniel the III.  She is survived by her daughter Carin and her husband Matt of Healdsburg, CA; her son Steve and his wife Jean, of Washington D.C.; her son Jeff and his wife Kimberly, of Honolulu; her daughter-in-law Stacey, widow of Dan, of San Francisco, CA; 12 grandchildren, 1 great-grand daughter (with another on the way), her niece and nephew and many cousins.

At Carol’s request, a private family service will take place on the beach of her family’s beloved Malaekahana home. In lieu of flowers, donations honoring Carol’s legacy may be made to Punahou School (https://www.punahou.edu/give/give-now).

41 Reporters Covering Women in Entrepreneurship You Should Follow on Twitter

At the Case Foundation, we work hard to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs—particularly women and people of color. While the gaps in funding are stark and the movement has a long way to go, we have seen some positive signs. For example, 2018 featured gains in venture capital funding for women-led startups and digitalundivided’s Project Diane reported the doubling of black female lead startups in America.  Already in 2019, we’ve seen an uptick in the headlines focusing on the challenges and opportunities women face in business and an increased focus on the importance of supporting entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and places. Most recently, we’ve seen the launch of CNote’s Wisdom Fund, focused on delivering capital access and lending to low- to moderate-income female business owners.

The coverage female entrepreneurs receive is integral to expanding their impact and getting notice. Therefore, as we wrap up Women’s History Month, we thought it fitting to highlight some of the journalists who are changing the way we view entrepreneurship and who are bringing these fearless women’s stories to light.

These journalists are sharing the stories of women entrepreneurs and paving the way for the future, and we think they are worth a follow on Twitter for that alone:

  • Kristen Bellstrom@kayelbee – Fortune – @FortuneMagazine deputy digital editor, mistress of The Broadsheet, and purveyor/consumer of baked goods.
  • Ellen McGirt@ellmcgirt – Fortune – I cover race and culture @fortunemagazine.
  • Diana Ransom@dianaransom – Inc. – Features editor at Inc.com
  • Jenna Wortham@jennydeluxe – New York Times – Black Bill Gates in the making. Staff writer @NYTMag & co-host of Still Processing
  • Emily Chang@emilychangtv – Bloomberg – Mom. Wife. Host of Bloomberg Technology & Studio 1.0. Author of new book Brotopia on women in tech.
  • Nina Zipkin@NinaZipkin – Entrepreneur – Staff Writer at @Entrepreneur. Covering leadership, culture, business & tech.
  • Funto Omojola@funtomojola – Moneyish – reporter @dowjones’ @moneyish
  • Amy Guttman@AmyGuttman1 – Forbes – Journalist & speaker/moderator. Forbes, BBC, PBS Newshour & others. Current affairs, entrepreneurs & ecosystems
  • Claire Zillman@clairezillman – Fortune – Editing (news), reporting (workplace, women in biz) and newsletter writing (The Broadsheet) @fortunemagazine. London, by way of NYC, @NewhouseSU and Chicago.
  • Lydia Belanger@LydiaBelanger – Fortune – Production Editor @FortuneMagazine. Previously @WIRED and @Entrepreneur. Searching for through lines.
  • Anna Meyer@annavmeyer – Fast Company – Editorial Assistant at @FastCompany // @KUJournalism alum.
  • Maria Aspan@mariaaspan – Inc. – Finance, tech, gender, pop culture. Editor at large @Inc. Author of Lady Business newsletter.
  • Guadalupe Gonzalez@mariainnyc – Inc. – Staff reporter @Inc covering Amazon, immigration, trade, Europe and NY startups.
  • Zoe Henry@ZoeLaHenry – Inc. – Journalist and PhD candidate studying 20th C women writers. Words in @Inc, @Slate, @HuffPost, etc. Proud cat mama and Brown alumna.
  • Yasmin Gagne@YasminGagne – Fast Company – Currently @FastCompany (formerly @inc @VanityFair @SKDKnick @qz@nytimes and @columbiaspec). Fast talker, slow dancer.
  • Eilene Zimmerman@eilenez – New York Times – Mother, journalist and social work grad student. Living the questions. Looking for answers. Writing a book.
  • Connie Loizos@Cookie – TechCrunch – silicon valley editor @techcrunch, founder @strictlyvc, sometimes cohost of the “equity” podcast, panini press enthusiast always.
  • Megan Rose Dickey@meganrosedickey – TechCrunch – Senior reporter @TechCrunch Co-host of TC Mixtape
  • Selena Hill@MsSelenaHill – Black Enterprise – Digital Editor at @BlackEnterprise | Journalist | Founder of @BeHeard_Radio| Contributing TV Reporter for @WhatsEatingHarl
  • Kate Clark@KateClarkTweets – TechCrunch – Writing about startups & VC for @TechCrunch | Co-host of Equity | Author of a weekly newsletter on startups
  • Julia Horowitz@juliakhorowitz – CNN Money – @CNNBusiness reporter covering banking and China-US business issues.
  • Lisa Lockwood@LisaLockwood1 – WWD – I am the News Director of WWD and report on fashion, designers and the sportswear business.
  • Ruchika Tulshyan@rtulshyan – Forbes and Harvard Business Journal – Equitable workplaces @ https://CandourGlobal.com · @seattleu in-Residence · @Seawomenscomm · @thinkers50 Radar 2019 · @harvardbiz @Forbes @seattletimes · Hungry
  • Breanna Edwards@Edwards_Bre – Essence – Editor for News, Politics and Issues @Essence. @TheRoot and @AU_SOCalum. RYT. Animation nerd. Voracious reader. Soca does gi’ me meh powers.
  • Susan Price@SPCharis – Forbes – I write about women making a difference.
  • Jillian Kramer@jilliankramer – Glamour – Award-winning journalist. Read my work in @foodandwine, @TravelLeisure, @SELFmagazine, @EatingWell, etc.
  • Susan Adams@susanadamsnyc – Forbes – Old media hand swimming with the new tides
  • Lisa Rabasca Roepe@lisarab – Fast Company – Former newspaper reporter turned freelance writer #Binder #ASJA @ForbesContributor @FastCompany@TheCoveyClub @Ozy @TheAVClub@TheWeek @ReadOctober
  • Kimberly Weisul@weisul – Inc. – Professional explainer. Editor-at-Large, @inc. Optimist, amateur naturalist, darn good cook. Addicted to fresh air and natural light
  • Yuliya Chernova@ychernova – Wall Street Journal – Reporter @WSJ & @WSJVC. Startups, VC, tech beat. Living it up in Brooklyn, the immigrant parts.
  • Beth Kowitt@bethkowitt – Fortune – Senior Editor at @FortuneMagazine
  • Julia Boorstin@JBoorstin – CNBC – Media Reporter. Journalist
  • Leah Fessler@LeahFessler – Quartz – reporter @qz covering gender, work, relationships | side-eye enthusiast | formerly @ bridgewater | lfessler@qz.com | how we’ll win creator
  • Kayden Field@haydenfield – Entrepreneur – Journalist covering tech, business & investigative features @Entrepreneur. Also into high-fives, hiking and HP.
  • Sequoia Blodgett@SequoiaB – Black Enterprise – At the intersection of #Entrepreneurship, #Tech and #Media | Founder of @commastheseries | Producer, Editor, Host @BlackEnterprise | Contributor, Fortune
  • Veronica Dagher@VeronicaDagher – Wall Street Journal – Author: @WSJ’s Resilience: How 20 Ambitious Women Used Obstacles To Fuel Their Success; Secrets of Wealthy Women #podcast host; personal fi reporter; guest
  • Emma Hinchliffe@_emmahinchliffe – Fortune Magazine – Associate editor, @FortuneMagazine, @FortuneMPW. Before: @mashable, @HoustonChron, @georgetown
  • Stephanie Mehta@stephaniemehta – Fast Company – Editor-in-chief at Fast Company
  • Colleen L. McKeegan@cmleahey – Marie Claire – Senior Editor, @MarieClaire. Previously @BloombergLIVE @FortuneMPW@FortuneMagazine. #HoyaSaxa

Interested in more stories of female founders? Take a look at the Case Foundation’s #FacesofFounders campaign, which seeks to change the narrative of who is and can be an entrepreneur. By showcasing women-led businesses, as the journalists in this list have, we can inspire others to follow in their footsteps and create startups of their own, as well as breakdown the stereotypes that hold under-represented entrepreneurs back.

Madam CJ Walker, Inspiring All to Be Fearless

In America, we often think of an innovator as that lone genius tinkering in a garage who has an “Aha!” moment. And while that might make for good storytelling, the truth is that it’s very seldom how breakthroughs come to be. Time and time again, they come from people and organizations living with real frustrations, who get to a point where they realize, “There has to be a better way.” So they set out to create one.

In observance of Black History Month, I wanted to spotlight a story of an incredible African-American innovator that exemplifies this idea perfectly—Madam C.J. Walker. Hers is one of my favorite stories of fearlessness from my new book Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose. Walker was an entrepreneur who lived over 100 years ago, and her entrepreneurial career started with the simple process of identifying a problem and making the “big bet” to find a solution.

When Walker’s hair started falling out because of a scalp ailment, she tried to look for products on the market to address her condition, however, she couldn’t find any that helped. She began experimenting with her own homemade concoctions to find the solution to her personal problem. When seeing that her hair grew back using her newly created formula, she began thinking about how her unique formula could help other Black women suffering from her same problem.  She took her new product, “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower,” and hair treatment system, the “Walker System,” and began going door to door to teach women about hair treatment and the use of her products. Her products were a huge success and her business continued to grow, making her one of the very first American women to become a self-made millionaire.

While Walker was growing the market for her hair-care business, she was also doing something truly remarkable: she was training and recruiting large numbers of young Black women across the country as a salesforce. By teaching other young Black women about business and providing them with educational opportunities, she was empowering women with few opportunities to generate income for themselves. She continued to create opportunities for others through her philanthropic work and always inspired young entrepreneurs to get up and make their own opportunities. Her famous saying was, “I got my start by giving myself a start.”

Although Walker’s story shows that making a big bet is the first step to creating transformational breakthroughs, this first step can be difficult if aspiring entrepreneurs are placed at a disadvantage. In 2019, the data on the lack of venture capital for female founders and African-Americans is stark. Although the total funding of female founders is increasing, the percentage of venture capital going to female founders has stalled at a mere 2.2 percent. The statistics are even lower for African-American founders, receiving only 1 percent of venture capital. Recognizing that an unequal playing field may be stifling the creators of the next great innovations, it is important to equalize these odds and make sure that everyone has a seat at the table. To combat these disadvantages, platforms such as Black Girl Ventures, DigitalUndivided, and Camelback Ventures try to help with the entrepreneurial success of Black, Latinx, and/or female startups, however, we still have a long way to go.

Despite the fact that Walker’s innovations were created over 100 years ago, her fearlessness and philanthropic spirit still continue to inspire me. Not only was she a successful businesswoman, but she also recognized the importance of giving back to her community. Rooted in her mission to uplift young Black entrepreneurs in her community, Shea Moisture CEO Riche­lieu Den­nis plans to turn Madam CJ Walker’s historic es­tate into a train­ing cen­ter de­signed to sup­port Black women en­tre­pre­neurs in their ef­forts to turn their ideas into successful en­ter­prises. In my opinion, turning her home into a center for Black female entrepreneurs truly embodies what she would say was her real “big bet,” creating entrepreneurial opportunities for others.

I hope you take Black History Month, and every month, to recognize the African-American entrepreneurs who have been inspired to be fearless and who have helped to create the world in which we live today.

15 Impact Investing Podcasts To Explore

The past decade of growth in the Impact Investing movement has been impressive. More investors, entrepreneurs, corporations, foundations and nonprofits are investing with the intention of generating both financial and social return than ever before. As the field has expanded, we’ve built a series of tools like the Short Guide to Impact Investing and the 10-year Interactive Timeline to provide information, learnings and insights to those inside the movement as well as those looking to “stick their toe” into Impact Investing.

And others have joined us, with many taking to podcasts to give investors a window into the ins and outs of Impact Investing by showcasing conversations with professionals and leaders in the field. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorites:

Stanford Social Innovation Review Podcast features lectures and talks by leaders in the social change movement. These leaders come from all places and walks of life, but they have one thing in common: they are dedicated to using their businesses and crafts to make a social impact. By telling their own stories, these leaders are able to inspire the listeners to embark on a social impact journey of their own.

Beyond Reports is a monthly podcast that discusses the latest news in the world of sustainability. It features interviews with experts such as Amanda Feldman, Director of the Impact Management Project and Caroline Rees, President of Shift, the leading center of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This podcast will bring you the latest on global sustainability from experts in the GRI global community.

Returns on Investment is a podcast from ImpactAlpha. The brief episodes give you the opportunity to quickly learn from leading impact investors. The short tid-bits are a perfect coffee break activity if you’re looking to delve into Impact Investing. The episodes are light, conversational and put things in layman’s terms so anyone can listen in and learn something new.

Next Economy Now, produced by impact consulting firm LIFT Economy, the podcast features pioneering individuals and leaders who are working to use business as a force for good. Highlighting people such as Rose Marcario of Patagonia, John Fullerton of Capital Institute, and Rha Goddess of Move the Crowd, this podcast interviews leaders in a conversational atmosphere that gives them a platform to present how they are working to make a change and how you too can get involved in Impact Investing.

Investing in Impact is a short podcast series produced by The Fletcher Social Investment Group, a student-run organization committed to the study and practice of Impact Investing This group gives students and young entrepreneurs advisory services and information that makes Impact Investing accessible to them. This podcast is an extension of those services that dives deep into the practices of their featured guests, which include investors, organizations, and beneficiaries. Some of these guests include Yigal Kerszenbaum, Senior Program Associate for PRI of The Rockefeller Foundation and  Mitchell Strauss, the Special Advisor for Socially Responsible Investment Finance.

The Impact Investing Podcast includes interviews and conversations with leaders in the Impact Investing movement to help build a community of new investors. By interviewing leaders in Impact Investing, it gives listeners an idea of how to begin and how to delve into socially responsible investing themselves. This podcast takes the larger idea of Impact Investing and boils it down to accessible and understandable information for listeners.

The SRIESG Podcast features relatively short episodes that give how-tos on the ins and outs of Impact Investing and socially responsible investing. The host, Bill Holliday, candidly and casually speaks about how you can make an impact in the world with your capital. Holliday highlights a range of topics that make it easy for readers to find their interest area.

Impact on Record is hosted by three Yale students who are interested in educating the public, and especially young adults, about Impact Investing. When encountered with confusion from their peers, Kodjo Adovor, Jenny Chan, and Kristina Whyte created Impact on Record in order to bring Impact Investing to the mainstream. The podcast features interviews with experts in the field who go through the logistics of Impact Investing and make it easy for listeners to learn how they can get involved.

Social Entrepreneur Podcast is hosted former Fortune 500 executive Tony Loyd. He invites changemakers on the show to spotlight individuals who are investing in impactful causes through their own businesses. He makes a point to invite underrepresented voices on the podcast in order to make Impact Investing accessible to everyone. The podcasts consists of cheerful and lively conversations with small business owners that give people a thorough idea of how they can get into Impact Investing. Some of these changemakers include Alicia Wallace of All Across Africa, Junita Flowers of Junita’s Jar, and Aine Mulloy of GirlCrew.

More Than Money focuses on how people can use their conscience to guide their investing. Host Dawn Carpenter created the podcast in order to bring her doctoral research on the responsibilities of wealth to the public. The podcast encourages listeners to use their ethics and values in order to inform investments. Carpenter presents Impact Investing as an alternative approach to asset management through interviews with leading impact investors.

Financing Social Entrepreneurs is a weekly podcast that interviews social innovation leaders like grant providers, impact investors, foundations and even independent individuals. These people share their backgrounds, how they got into their business, their successes, and failures. All this information gives the listener a well rounded image of what Impact Investing looks like, as well as how they can get involved.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business hosts a series of podcasts that present the idea of responsible investing that creates a social impact. The different podcasts come together to give the listener a well rounded image of the world of Impact Investing, featuring leaders from the Gates Foundation, the Wharton Social Impact Initiatives and more Impact Investing Leaders. The lively conversations emphasize the importance of using business and investing as a source for good.

Money + Meaning is a new podcast launched by SOCAP hosted by their own Linsday Smalling and Liz Maxwell. This podcast aims to widen the conversation around Impact Investing and the strategies to stimulating social change through finance and partnerships. They come out with new episodes each week filled with relevant and up to date information on Impact Investing today.

The CDC Podcast launched by Development Finance and the CDC, UK’s development finance institution, brings you discussions on the role of development finance firms in the fight against poverty. The podcasts features experts such as Philippe Le Houerou, the CEO of International Finance Corporation and Sir Suma Chakrabarti, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.  

The Bottom Line, hosted by Drucker Institute’s Rick Wartzman, highlights companies that are advancing social progress. The podcast features conversations with top executives who give insights as to how their companies are fighting against the world’s most pressing problems. Some of these experts include Deloitte Consulting’s U.S. Human Capital leader Erica Volina, as well as Tim O’Reilly, CEO of O’Reilly Media. The conversations with leading changemakers in the world of business will give you the foundation you need to dive headfirst into the Impact Investing world.

We hope these podcasts will help you learn how you can change the the world and invest with impact. Check out our Impact Investing page for more information on the field and to learn how people are joining the movement. Have any other Impact Investing podcasts you think we should keep on our radar? Tweet us @CaseFoundation.


Lisa Hall, Senior Fellow at both the Case Foundation and the Beeck Center, and Monica Pizzo, an intern at the Case Foundation, contributed to this article.

35 Impact Investing Conferences to Explore

At the Case Foundation, we hit the road each year to spread the word about Impact Investing movement. We also look to learn about the latest thinking in Impact Investing and work alongside all those who are expanding the world of investors looking for both a financial and social return. Along the way, we are continuously reminded of the impressive global community of impact investors who are dedicated to sharing their discoveries, failures and best practices, and we find these experiences invaluable for our work.

Interested in learning more about Impact Investing? Want to brush up on new opportunities and the latest thinking? Our team has pulled together a list of some of our favorite annual conferences and events where Impact Investing is on the agenda or is a favorite gathering place for those who are committed to investing for impact.

Check out this list of the 35 Impact Investing Conferences to Watch in the coming year and beyond.

  • Vatican Impact Investing Conference, July 8 – 11, 2018, Rome – Hosted by Catholic Relief Services and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Impact Investing experts and Catholic leaders from around the world will convene in Rome to share and evaluate blended finance models and investible vehicles to address systemic challenges of great importance to both the Catholic Church and the global community. These challenges include: Climate Change, Health, Migrants and Refugees, and Youth Unemployment.
  • The Impact Conference at Sustainatopia, July 17-21, 2018, Moscow – This conference gathers leading Global Impact + SRI investors, funds, social entrepreneurs, foundations, nonprofits, B Corporations and policy makers.  Attendees from more than 60 countries share their best practices from a global ecosystem of social, financial and environmental sustainability.
  • Impact Capitalism Summit Nantucket, July 18-19, 2018, Nantucket – Mainstreaming impact and showcasing stewards of capitalism are this year’s themes at the Impact Capitalism Summit run by Big Path Capital in Nantucket. This year’s conference will explore how institutional investors are finding market performance returns by looking at diversity as a potential source of arbitrage.
  • Endowments & Finance Summit, – September 6-7th, 2018, Washington, D.C. –  This summit is a forum at the nexus of philanthropy, finance, investment and policy where C-Suite foundation leaders go to explore the shifting forces in the investment landscape, gain invaluable insights on trends, strategies, and new regulations and have candid conversations about threats to business models.
  • North American Family Impact Investing Conference, September 26-27, 2018, San Diego – During the two days of this conference, family business, office and foundation owners and executives share experiences of Impact Investing and debate the key opportunities and challenges that they face. Meanwhile, experts in academia and industry discuss the infrastructure and how Impact Investing can be scalable.
  • Mashable’s Social Good Summit, September 2018, New York Held annually during the United Nations General Assembly week, the Summit unites a lively community of global citizens and progressive thought leaders around a common theme: #2030NOW. Attendees focus on how we can unlock technology’s potential to make the world a better place. Past speakers have included Jean Case, Shazi Visram of Happy Family, Kathy Calvin of the UN Foundation, Matt Keller of XPRIZE and many more. Watch last year’s summit HERE.
  • Wealth Management Impact Investing Forum, September 2018, location TBD – The RIA Institute’s Wealth Management Impact Investing Forum gathers an intimate group of senior RIA, multi-family office and single-family office executives together with thought leaders and elite providers for an afternoon of discussion and debate about Impact Investing opportunities and risks for wealth managers. The forum focuses on the most critical Impact Investing trends in the individual investor industry and the specific ways in which wealth managers can incorporate these strategies into their portfolio profitably and with measurable impact.
  • Impact Investing Forum North, September 12-13, 2018, New York – The Impact Investing Forum North unites top influencers, both public and private experienced investors, money managers, and service providers that are leading the charge in the Impact Investing space. Defining Impact Investing, portfolio construction, asset class opportunities, and the role of the investor are just a few of the stimulating topics to be covered at this event hosted each year by the Opal Group.
  • Exponent Philanthropy, September 28-30, 2018, PhiladelphiaThe National conference offers timely and relevant educational content for staff, donors, and trustees at all levels of experience and serving all types of foundations (including community and family foundations) as well as individual donors, donor advised fund holders and managers, philanthropic service professionals, and thought leaders in the field of philanthropy.
  • Net Impact, October 25-27, Phoenix – For more than 25 years, the Net Impact Annual Conference has inspired and informed attendees on the most cutting edge and impactful ideas to change the world. An annual favorite, this event creates a space for the brightest young impact leaders from around the world. With specific paths mapped out for students, new graduates, emerging leaders, and those changing careers, all attendees will leave with their own map of their path to purpose. The event will explore examples of transformational change that defy traditional expectations.
  • GSG Impact Summit The SRI Conference, October 8-9, 2018, New Delhi – The Summit unites hundreds of impact leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, corporates, social sector and government leaders and leading market builders. Together they will explore current and future actions by the GSG, the National Advisory Boards and partners to catalyze the impact economies of the future.
  • High Water Women’s Investing for Impact Symposium, October 17, 2018, New York – High Water Women’s Investing for Impact Symposium has evolved into an important gathering for female impact investors who want to connect with other investors, advisors, and investment professionals. Topics include the practical realities of building an impact portfolio, the opportunities and challenges for acting, the latest developments in Impact Investing and women in the impact investment marketplace.
  • SOCAP, October 23-26, San Francisco – SOCAP convenes thousands of innovators in finance, entrepreneurship, business, government and philanthropy from across social and environmental issue areas to accelerate the market at the intersection of money and meaning.  
  • GIIN Investor Forum 2018, October 30-31st, Paris – The Forum provides a unique opportunity to gain insights from industry leaders, discuss cutting-edge research, and network with over 1,000 global practitioners. Whether you are currently making impact investments or exploring the opportunities, this is an opportunity to take part in the discussions shaping the future of the market. Speakers include executives from the the Rockefeller Foundation, Bain Capital, Blue Haven Initiative, MacArthur Foundation and Catholic Relief Services, to name a few.
  • The Fast Company Innovation Festival, November 2019, New York – Each Fall, thousands of attendees convene in New York City for Fast Company’s unique take on the field trip with 100 plus Fast Tracks. Attendees have the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at New York City’s most innovative companies where they experience talks, workshops, demos, networking, and sponsor activations. The 92Y also host thought-provoking keynote sessions at companies like Charity: Water, Donors Choose, Swell Investing, Ellevest, Global Citizen, Instagram, Rent the Runway and more.
  • The SRI Conference, November 1–3, 2018, Colorado Springs -The SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing (formerly SRI in the Rockies) is the annual gathering of investors and investment professionals working to make money and direct the flow of investment capital toward a truly sustainable future. The SRI Conference is the place for professionals interested in responsible investing to learn and network with colleagues, and to grow and deepen their professional understanding of how to make money and make a difference—at the same time.
  • Social Finance Forum, November 7-8, 2018, Toronto –  Now in its 11th year, the Social Finance Forum, organized and convened by the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, attracts more than 500 investors, entrepreneurs, finance professionals, charity leaders and public service visionaries who are reshaping markets and ensuring that every dollar makes a difference.
  • Sorenson Winter Innovation Summit, February 6–8, 2019, Salt Lake City – The Winter Innovation Summit is the premier cross-industry event in social impact, innovation and investing. Earlier this year the Summit brought together policy makers, funders, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs to explore the future of social innovation across the globe. More than 700 guests unite for the latest breakthroughs in social impact, innovation, and investing, skiing the greatest snow on Earth and experiencing the 2018 Sundance Film Festival which takes place the same week.
  • World-Changing Women’s Summit, February 2019, location TBD – gathers the most successful women in conscious business for conversations on developing yourself as an authentic, conscious leader in the workplace, how to develop a more inclusive workplace culture, best practices for raising capital and how you can scale your company while staying true to your values. Last year’s gathering included female influencers from Google, the Beneficial State Bank, Solstice, SheO, Pipeline Angels, Seed Spot and B Lab.
  • Economist Impact Investing Forum, February 2019, location TBD – Join Economist editors and 200 financiers, institutional investors, policymakers, academics, impact investors and philanthropists at the second iteration of Investing for Impact: risk, return and the future of the world. This past February speakers included National Geographic Chair and Case Foundation CEO Jean Case, Audrey Choi of Morgan Stanley, Case Foundation board member Sonal Shah of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University, Saadia Madsbjerg of the  Rockefeller Foundation, Debra Schwartz of the MacArthur Foundation, Liesel Pritzker Simmons of the Blue Haven Initiative, Amit Bouri of the GIIN and Kesha Cash of Impact America Fund.
  • The Heart Series, February 14-15, 2019, El Segundo, CA – Explores topics like how your company can make an impact, maintaining your brand promise to your customers and the earth, interactive experiences that promote social change, how to activate Millennials and youth and dreaming up big impact partnerships. On site attendees also have plenty of cool eco inspired perks including wellness shakes, meditation resources and massages. That’s my kind of conference!  Speakers include leaders from companies like SOKO, Share Our Strength, CLIP Bar, Nerd Wallet, Blavity and Swipe Out Hunger.
  • Greenbiz Summit, February 2019, location TBD – Leaders from global brands will meet as they discuss and learn the opportunities at the intersection of business, technology and sustainability.  Last year’s speakers included executives from Target, Apple, Bloomberg, and the World Wildlife Fund.
  • Harvard Social Enterprise Conference (SECON), February 2019, Cambridge –  SECON draws almost a thousand practitioners, academics, students, and young professionals. Speakers include influencers and leaders from Omidyar Network, Root Capital, Accion, Mastercard, One Acre Fund, Trillium, Twilio, the Rockefeller Foundation, Accenture and many more.
  • Duke Conference on Sustainable Business & Social Impact (SBSI), February 2019, Durham – SBSI focuses on the theme of working towards solving our greatest social challenges through innovative methods and cross-sector collaborations. The event has grown to one of the largest conference of its kind in the Southeast, with more 500 people attendees who are making the world a better place while looking to the future of social impact and sustainability.
  • SXSW Conference, March 8-17, 2019, Austin – Next year marks the 26th Anniversary of SXSW, the world renowned gathering that unites more than 420,000 people from across the globe. Each year SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people expand their knowledge and have the opportunity to meet fellow innovators on a mission to change the world. Conference goers take a deep dive into innovative ideas that contribute to a better and more equitable world. Browse past social impact sessions HERE.
  • Confluence Philanthropy’s 9th Annual Practitioners Gathering, March 4-7, 2019, Brooklyn – Confluence Philanthropy’s Annual Practitioners Gathering is a four-day conference where asset owners and their advisors meet at the cutting edge of mission-related investing. This Gathering represents the most advanced foundations, investment managers, and advisors in Impact Investing today.  They are distinguished by a commitment to building the field through collaboration, innovation, and their investments. Join us for deep strategic thinking, critical discussion, sharing and most importantly, fun.
  • Skoll World Forum, April 2019, Oxford – Launched by the Skoll Foundation, the Skoll World Forum accelerates entrepreneurial approaches and solutions to the world’s most pressing problems by uniting social entrepreneurs in a pursuit of learning, leverage and large-scale social change. Past speakers have included president of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Winnie Byanyima of Oxfam International and Hamdi Ulukaya of the yogurt empire Chobani.
  • Yale Impact Investing Conference, April 2019, New Haven – Impact On Record hosts the Yale’s Impact Investing Conference that includes a day of engaging conversation, presentations and interviews about impact investing. Topics include women and wealth, technology and impact, government and policy, impact funds, emerging markets and faith-based investing.
  • Milken Global Conference, April 2019, Los Angeles – Each year the Milken Global Conference brings together the strongest minds in business, government, technology, philanthropy, academia and media to examine global challenges and find actionable and collaborative solutions to some of the most important questions of our time. Watch videos from past conference speakers HERE.
  • Impact Capitalism, April 2019, location TBD –  At Impact Capitalism, you will hear from prominent family offices, institutional investors and influential foundations about what is driving their impact investment decision-making and experience an exciting lineup of discussions, debates, and performances across asset classes and impact themes. Over 300 family offices, asset managers and fund managers representing over $150 billion in investable assets take part.
  • US SIF Annual Conference, May 2019, location TBD –  US SIF Annual Conference gives you the opportunity to network with leaders of sustainable, responsible and impactful investing. Hear from leading investors, CEOs and policymakers, and to learn about new approaches, trends and policy developments in the field.
  • Engage For Good, May 2019, location TBD  – If you work at the intersection of cause and commerce, there’s no other event that focuses exclusively on this work and how to engage consumers and employees with social good efforts. Nearly every global brand for good attends include executives from eBay, Fidelity, J.P. Morgan Chase, Omaze, PayPal, REI, Scholastic, The Home Depot Foundation, Univision Communications Inc. and more.
  • Social Innovation Summit, June 4-6, 2018, San Fransisco – The Social Innovation Summit is an annual event taking place in Silicon Valley which represents a global convening of black swans and wayward thinkers. Where most bring together luminaries to explore the next big idea, they bring together those hungry not just to talk about the next big thing, but to build it.
  • Mission Investors Exchange National Conference, TBD 2020 – Produced every other year, the conference is one of the most anticipated events for impact investors in philanthropy, offering an action-focused, collaborative, and personal space to renew and build partnerships, experience on-the-ground impact investments, share investment opportunities, meet leading voices in the field, and shape the future of the Impact Investing movement.
  • Sustainable Brands Conference, multiple dates, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Detroit, Madrid, Bangkok and more – the events are held throughout the year in cities around the globe. The Sustainable Brands conference provides another welcomed perspective as sustainability and design leaders gather from around the world to share profitable business models that deliver brand purpose. Join business intelligence, finance and sustainability leaders to discover innovative tools, ideas and methodologies that capture tangible business value and translate it into financial performance.

These conferences bring together individuals who are pioneering the Impact Investing movement—and they create a platform for professionals who are committed to making a difference or want to learn more about this rapidly expanding field. We hope that they will bring new light to the importance of investing for financial and social returns and give a space for new people to join the movement!

We hope these suggestions help you take the next steps on your Impact Investing journey—whatever stage of it you’re on. Have a conference you want us to keep on our radar? Share it with us on Twitter @CaseFoundation!

To Get Past our Blind Spots, We Need to Be Fearless

At the Case Foundation, we are excited about a new book that’s hitting the stands this week: The Innovation Blind Spot, written by my friend, and long-time Case Foundation partner, Ross Baird. True to its title, the book portrays the current state of entrepreneurship, investment and innovation in the United States today, and does so through a prism of “blind spots” that currently inhibit growth and opportunity. But rather than simply laying out the challenges, Ross lays out a “playbook” of how to overcome these blind spots.

The book kicks off with some pretty worrying statistics. While entrepreneurship is—and always has been—at the core of our DNA in America, and many believe it is what sets us apart as a nation, it turns out that entrepreneurial activity is actually at 40-year low in the US—more businesses are dying each day than starting.

Sure, there are sectors that are thriving in our “innovation nation”—particularly big companies, elites on the coasts and those who have historically had access to capital and networks. At the same time, others across the country are literally being left behind in the innovation economy—particularly women, people of color, those in the middle of the country, and those who come from less familiar places and backgrounds. Indeed, the data makes this clear: Less than 10 percent of venture capital goes to women; less than 1 percent to African American founders. An overwhelmingly disproportionate share goes to a limited few: last year a whopping 75 percent of all venture capital went to just three states—California, New York and Massachusetts and 10 percent of all startup financing went to graduates from just six universities. Ross, who has joined every one of my husband Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest road trips, intimately understands the hurdles this poses for innovators who come from diverse backgrounds. Indeed, the Innovation Blind Spot in many respects seems almost like a companion to books like Adam Grant’s Originals or The Third Wave, authored by Steve in 2015.

As all of these books make clear, great innovations come from unexpected people and places, and we need to go the extra mile to identify and support them. “The simple truth,” Ross says, “is that the current model for venture capital—for backing new ideas—is bad for all founders who don’t fit the pattern. It’s bad for investors, too, because the biggest venture capital firms, concentrated in the biggest cities, aren’t necessarily set up to invest in the most innovative ideas.”

The first step in overcoming this blind spot? Understand that every investment decision has bias: embrace and mitigate it, Ross says. People invest in and support people they know and understand. The Innovation Blind Spot goes into enlightening detail on how cognitive bias, not the quality of idea, affects whether someone gets funding.

Add to this, the blind spot that Ross calls “two pocket thinking”: how we artificially separate our jobs and our careers from our values. Walking through the modern history of business, philanthropy and investing, Ross challenges the traditional idea that business and investing need to be separate from the interest of building a better world. “If we live in a two-pocket world, where business has no responsibility for what happens in society, we’re fighting a losing battle,” says Ross. While we’ve had 100 years of “make your money, then give it away” as the way things have been done, Ross provides a compelling mix of data and storytelling that challenges this approach, and lays out ideas for how best to spotlight cities and companies on the rise and to blend business, social good and investing, much as he has done through his own venture capital firm, Village Capital.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Innovation Blind Spot today, and more importantly, I encourage you to be fearless with the ideas you look for, support, and invest in.

*Disclosure: Jean and Steve Case are investors in Village Capital.

From Education to Activation: Exploring the RBF’s Journey into Impact Investing

Over the last four years, the Case Foundation has been deeply committed to catalyzing the Impact Investing movement. Alongside partners, we seek to inspire, educate, and activate investors around the potential to put private capital to work to solve some of our most complex challenges. Today we are excited to see a growing and diverse set of actors engaged in Impact Investing, led in part by innovative first-movers. These include high net-worth individuals and institutions who have begun to seek financial and social returns by aligning their investment portfolio with their values.

As part of our movement building efforts, we’ve learned that sharing stories and insights from those who have transitioned to impact investing can be valuable to those who aren’t as far down the path.  In 2016, we were fortunate to partner with Omidyar Network and The Giving Pledge to take a closer look at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s journey into impact investing, in hopes that it can serve as inspiration and guidance for others.

As part of that work, Case Foundation’s CEO Jean Case led a webinar with Justin Rockefeller, Trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) and Co-Founder of The ImPact and Jameela Pedicini, Director of Perella Weinberg Partners (PWP). Through this conversation, Jean explored the decisions made at RBF to ensure the portfolio was set on a clear path toward market returns, while choosing investments that more closely aligned with their values.

As organizations rethink how to blend profit and purpose, we encourage you to watch the webinar to learn from RBF’s journey. Here, are a few key themes that came to light:

 1. Define your impact

As Jean mentions at the start of the conversation, “impact investing means different things to different people.” At the Case Foundation, we believe that a broader interpretation allows more people to gather around the impact investing table. But that does not relax our expectations around what it means to generate both social or financial returns.

Instead, our definition of impact investing focuses on three necessary conditions to help narrow in on just what each of us means by “impact”:

  • Intentionality – are objectives clearly articulated across social and financial goals?
  • Measurement – will the organization track performance across both objectives?
  • Transparency – does the organization share – or intend to share – insights into their process and performance (as much as is able) to help create more examples around what works and what doesn’t?

2. Know what you own; then develop an investment process that leverages your strengths

The RBF’s programmatic approach spans several sectors, including democratic governance, sustainable development and peacebuilding. The grantmaking arm of the RBF has developed a thoughtful approach to promoting sustainable development, particularly around the environment and climate. When the time came to evaluate how the entire investment portfolio – and ultimately the endowment – could reflect the principles and values of the RBF, they looked to their strengths.

“25% of our program dollars go to fighting climate change,” Justin says, “we thought this was so fundamental to the work we do, that we should start there.”

By leveraging a diverse set of tactics, including divestment, an ESG lens (integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance factors), active ownership, and investing with Impact managers, RBF and PWP set out on the task together. With these tools in mind, they looked to activate RBF’s vision on what a thoughtful climate-focused strategy might look like.

We’ve seen time and again Foundation’s struggle between focusing on grantmaking vs. using their investment levers, but as Justin points out, “every foundation has different tools on its tool belt – the endowment is just one of those tools.”

3. Commit to a measurement framework

Once the mission was clear and the rigor made explicit, activating the strategy was next. The RBF and PWP started by shifting the Investment Policy Statement (IPS), transforming the objective of the portfolio from “maximizing returns” to “continue in perpetuity with generational neutrality.”

Formalizing this mission– and bringing stakeholders like the Board, senior leadership, and the Investment Committee along in the process – is a critical step to ensure that impact is sustainably interwoven into the way investments are identified and selected.

Jameela Pedicini also suggests that practices around consistent measurement can lead to broader behavior change. “Regular impact reporting,” for example, “will help us assess long term tends.”

By drawing on the journeys of organizations like the RBF, we will develop a stronger narrative around what impact investing can look like across actors. We hope that sharing these insights will provide high net-worth individuals and families, foundations, corporations, and others concrete examples to follow. We will continue to look for opportunities to showcase case studies and lessons from various organization, as part of our broader efforts to take impact investing to the next level.

We invite you to watch the full conversation here. You can also learn more about the RBF’s journey through The ImPact’s recently launched case study; “Rockefeller Brothers Fund: Impact Investing Case.”

Remembering Daniel H. Case, 1925 – 2016

Dan H. Case
Photo Credit: C.W. Monaghan-Honolulu

Daniel H. Case, a widely admired civic leader in Hawaii and the former senior partner of the Case, Lombardi & Pettit law firm, died peacefully at his home in Honolulu, HI, on July 1, surrounded by family. He was 91.

Dan was born in Lihue on February 25, 1925, and spent his early years on the Grove Farm sugar plantation on Kauai. At the age of 12, he sailed from Lihue’s Nawiliwili Harbor to Honolulu to attend boarding school at Punahou School. As a senior, he witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor as Japanese planes flew low over the campus toward their targets. He graduated from Punahou in 1942, and then went east to attend Williams College in Massachusetts. While there, Dan was named co-captain of the swim team, and went on to break numerous records, leading Williams to the championship in New England. Dan later applied his swimming skills as a young naval officer in World War II, serving in the elite underwater demolition team that later became the Navy SEALs.

After the war, Dan moved to Colorado for several years, earning his law degree from the University of Denver before returning to his home state of Hawaii to practice law. He joined the law firm that became Case, Lombardi & Pettit, where he practiced law for 60 years, leading the firm for nearly two decades, before retiring in 2012. Dan was consistently selected as one of the Best Lawyers in Hawaii, and was widely respected for his intellect, humility and sense of fairness and decency. 

Throughout his career, Dan served as a board member to many leading businesses in Hawaii, including the Honolulu Publishing Company and Maui Land & Pineapple, but it was his work at Grove Farm that served as the capstone of his business and community interests. Dan became Chairman in 2000 and served in that role for 15 years, spearheading its transition from a 38,000 acre sugar plantation to a sustainable community and economic development firm with a keen focus and commitment to the Kauai community he had always loved.

Dan was known throughout Hawaii as a dedicated civic leader, having served on numerous nonprofit boards throughout the years. His service on the Punahou School Board of Trustees spanned 30 years, including 10 as Chairman of the Board. Dan chaired Punahou’s 150th Anniversary in 1991. He was given the “O” in Life award, the highest honor given by Punahou for his “outstanding continuing service to Punahou and the Hawaii community.” The Case Middle School was named in his and his wife Carol’s honor. In 2012, Dan was honored by the National Association of Independent Schools with the Seymour Preston Award, given each year to the school trustee throughout the country who provides exceptional leadership. Punahou President Jim Scott said at the time:

Dan has been an inspiration to his colleagues and friends for generations. We are pleased and honored that he is being recognized as an exemplary and inspiring volunteer leader.

Dan served as President of the Rotary Club of Honolulu, and the Hawaii State Bar Association. He was instrumental in the development of the Hawaii Executive Conference, established to provide executives from across Hawaii and the Pacific with a forum for the exchange of knowledge and ideas.

Despite Dan’s many legal, civic and business accomplishments, his primary focus and abiding passion was his family. The love of his life was his wife Carol, was born in Hilo. Dan and Carol met after both had completed their schooling and returned home to Hawaii. They were married for 61 years, setting an example of love and loyalty for their admiring family and friends.

Dan was a beloved and devoted husband, father, brother, grandfather, community leader, counselor, colleague and friend. He was predeceased by his oldest son Dan, who died of brain cancer in 2002. He is survived by his devoted wife Carol, of Honolulu; his daughter Carin and her husband, Matt, of Healdsburg, CA; his son Steve and his wife Jean, of Washington D.C.; his son Jeff and his wife Kimberly, of Honolulu; his daughter-in-law Stacey, the widow of Dan, of San Francisco, CA; his brother Jim, of Honolulu, and by 12 grandchildren.

A celebration of Dan Case’s life will be held at 4:00 pm on Saturday, September 3, at Punahou School’s Thurston Memorial Chapel, and will be followed by a reception at the President’s Pavilion. 

In lieu of flowers, donations honoring Dan’s legacy may be made to Punahou School or Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure.