Plenary – Strategic Philanthropy Today – Realising its Potential Along the Continuum of Capital

Event Details
  • June 5th, Tuesday, 5:00pm - 6:15pm
  • Summit 1
Paul Carttar

Paul Carttar

Founding Director US Social Innovation Fund

Session Description

In recent years, the social investing landscape globally has been increasingly dominated by discussions and initiatives relating to “impact investing” – often animated by the proposition that individuals and organizations aiming to address significant social challenges can “have it all” by accomplishing their aspirations while also earning healthy financial returns.  Indications are that impact investing has changed the conventional wisdom about how social purpose organizations should be able to perform financially and attracted many more participants into the realm of social investment.

However, while that vision has undeniable allure, the amount of money deployed by philanthropists – ie. drivers of social change willing to give their money away toward that end – dwarfs the amount invested by those also seeking financial returns.

While the social investment world is changing and philanthropy maintains to have gravitas and relevance, these developments raise significant questions for philanthropists, whose only ROI is social impact.

This session will aim to explore many of those questions, including the following:

  • How can philanthropists ensure that their grant money is being deployed optimally and is actually generating its intended social returns?
  • What is the “highest and best use” of philanthropy in a world changing through the allure of impact investing?
  • What opportunities and challenges has impact investing created for philanthropists?
  • What expectations should philanthropists have for the impact productivity and value of blended funds where deals funded through “blended” capital, ie. with money from profit-seeking investors, are expected to generate a financial return?

Key Takeaways:

  • What are the major opportunities created for philanthropy by the impact investing movement?
  • What approaches and practices are top philanthropists embracing to ensure the social impact of their funds?

What are the most critical imperatives for donors prepared to give their money away but having very high aspirations for social impact?

In anticipation of the session, read Paul Carttar’s blog post on why and how philanthropists persist in supporting social causes at scale.


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