First Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation to Lead Foundation’s Effort to Study and Promote Impact Investing
Washington, Sept. 20 – Today, at the White House Forum on Philanthropy Innovation, Case Foundation CEO Jean Case announced that Sonal Shah will join the organization as a Senior Fellow. Ms. Shah will oversee a multifaceted study and cross-sector advisory group on impact investing, led by Ms. Case.
A former Google executive who played an influential role in the development of the company’s philanthropic arm, Ms. Shah most recently served as the first director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, created by the White House in 2009, where she launched the nation’s first Social Innovation Fund and guided efforts to expand national service through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
“The concept of impact investing has begun to gain momentum as pioneering investors and organizations have built a bourgeoning marketplace to finance a new class of world-changing enterprises,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation and an active investor and entrepreneur. “We’re thrilled to have Sonal’s expertise and guidance, along with the partnership of so many leaders, as we look to find new and interesting ways to unleash new capital and build new on-ramps to engage investors who are sitting on the sidelines today.”
As a Senior Fellow at the Case Foundation, Ms. Shah will lead a multifaceted effort and cross-sector conversation to explore launching a targeted, time-limited campaign to inspire an exponential increase in impact investors and investments.
In addition to a comprehensive landscape assessment and opportunity analysis, Ms. Shah will coordinate an advisory group led by Jean Case charged with expanding this conversation and contributing to a detailed plan of action. The research and conversations will explore challenges and opportunities associated with more rapidly expanding the impact investing ecosystem – ranging from increasing more investment capital, investing in more intermediaries to simplify definitions and measurement standards – and offering clear policy and practice recommendations for the government, investors, social enterprises, and intermediaries. In keeping with the Case Foundation’s focus on action and urgency, the Foundation will release its findings within six months.
“We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of the opportunities for deploying capital in more creative and productive ways to drive social change,” said Ms. Shah. “Jean and Steve Case and the Case Foundation have long been at the forefront of exploring new models for creating impact in the social sector, and I’m excited to join the team to help expand the potential for impact investing.”
Although the definitions vary, impact investing is generally seen as a new form of capital, where investors seek to recoup their investment at, or below, market rates – seeking both social and financial returns. Recent studies predict that impact investing could grow substantially in the next 5-10 years as the $80 trillion global capital markets seek investments and a new class of mission-driven business seeks investors. Pro-social funds, such as university and foundation endowments and pension funds, along with traditional investors seeking philanthropic opportunities more aligned with their private sector experience, are among the early targets to expand such investments.
About the Case Foundation
Established by Jean and Steve Case in 1997, the Case Foundation invests in people and ideas that can change the world. In our efforts to address social challenges, we unite the principles of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology to identify, test, prove and scale ideas and models designed to create exponential impact. For more information, visit www.casefoundation.org, follow us at twitter.com/casefoundation and facebook.com/casefoundation.