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Blog Archives

• Women on Board: A Breakfast to Support Women’s Leadership

December 20, 2018
In September of this year, California governor Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation SB 826 into law, requiring female representation on corporate boards based in the state. The law, which was sponsored by California Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, was a direct response to the dismal state of women’s leadership in corporate America. Case in point? Roughly a quarter of publicly traded companies headquartered in California have no women directors. That’s right. None. To celebrate the new law’s passing, Confluence convened a women’s breakfast ...

• Will Opportunity Zones Benefit Marginalized Communities?

December 19, 2018
In 2017, Congress passed comprehensive tax reform, and nestled in that complex document was an intriguing program: Opportunity Zones. The program aims to channel investments into the country’s neediest communities. Unfortunately, details about how Opportunity Zones will work have been thin on the ground, fueling some concern as the program’s 2019 launch date draws near. Confluence partnered with Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders (SAFSF), to bring together a panel of experts who could shed light on the new legislation. We were ...

• Sierra Club Foundation Protecting the Arctic Refuge

December 17, 2018
Dan Chu, Sierra Club Foundation
  “I’ll pick you up next week on a sandbar in the Arctic Ocean," said the Pilot... And with that, we watched the small prop plane disappear back over the Brooks Range, leaving the eight of us to begin our float trip through one of the most pristine areas on the planet, the  Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For thousands of years, the largest herd of caribou on the planet have raised their calves on this vast coastal plain We had just come from meeting with Gwich’in leaders in Arctic Village where we learned of their symbiotic relationship ...

• New series launching in 2018

December 07, 2018
Confluence is excited to announce the launch of two new educational programs this year: “The Portfolio Open House” and “Sector Inspector.” These series reflect the expansion of our Practitioners programming to foster more peer-to-peer learning about the strategy and practice of investing. Both programs are offered exclusively to Confluence members. The Portfolio Open House series offers a comprehensive view, from strategy through execution, of a Confluence Practitioner member's specific approach to mission and program-related investing....


December 05, 2018
The Rainmakers Investment Collaborative (RIC), a coordinated group of mission-related investors spearheaded by Confluence Philanthropy, has raised a total of $3.35 million in PRI and grant investments to Native communities in New Mexico and Arizona. Developed to address the lack of investment in tribal communities, RIC aims to fund affordable housing, small businesses, and agricultural development (among other focus areas) to rural communities across the Southwest. Tribes eligible for the program include The Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, and Hopi, ...

• Too Big to Ignore: The Merger Between Amalgamated and New Resource Bank

November 12, 2018
Confluence was pleased to host an online conversation between Keith Mestrich, CEO of Amalgamated Bank, and Mark Finser of New Resource Bank. Amalgamated and New Resource recently merged to become the largest values-aligned bank in the country. Moderated by the Hewlitt Foundation’s Marilyn Waite, the discussion focused on the recent merger and Amalgamated’s IPO. But the timing – election day – wasn’t lost on the participants: It felt appropriate to feature a bank that refers to itself as “the bank of the progressive party” just as voters ...

• Something for Everyone: The Potential Promise of Blended Finance

October 01, 2018
Delilah Rothenberg, Operating Advisor, ESG & Impact, Pegasus Capital Advisors, LP
What is blended finance, and how can it be used to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? This is a common question among investors focused on deep environmental and/or social impact, but at the recent Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, a number of new actors joined the conversation. One such discussion, themed “Blended Finance: Climate Solutions Across the Risk/Return Spectrum,” was facilitated by Confluence Philanthropy with the support of the private equity firm, Pegasus Capital Advisors, LP. Confluence ...

• Investing in Energy Access as a Critical Climate Solution

September 17, 2018
Confluence Philanthropy,  Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and the Wallace Global Fund Investing in Energy Access as a Critical Climate Solution. Speakers included Christina Borsum, CFO, California Clean Energy Fund; Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund; Heather Grady, Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Dana Lanza, CEO, Confluence; Neha Misra, Co-Founder and Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sister; and Mali Ole Kaunga, Director, IMPACT. The session explored how philanthropies and their partners can help ...

• Confluence Members Unite at the Global Climate Action Summit

September 17, 2018
Last week, more than 6,000 people gathered for the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, CA to share leading strategies for combating climate change and to declare their own commitments to saving life as we know it. The Summit brought together diplomatic leaders, issue specialists and, importantly, both public and private investors dedicated to aligning their assets with their values. Declaring exemplary leadership, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 100, committing to 100% renewable electricity for California by 2045, and ...

• Women’s Leadership in Climate Investing

September 17, 2018
Renee Beaumont, Generation Investment Management
Confluence Philanthropy hosted its third dinner for Impactful Women in values-aligned investing during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Similar to prior dinners Confluence has hosted, it brought together women working in various sectors of the investment industry – from community finance development institutions to global asset management firms. Twenty-two women joined the evening conversation, which centered on women's leadership in combating climate change and building social equity. While each represented diverse ...

• The Business of Immigration Detention: Highlights and Lessons from our Recent Webinar

August 21, 2018
The widespread outcry surrounding immigrant family separations over the last few months has refocused attention on the business of private immigrant detention in the U.S. To examine this billion-dollar business and embolden investors to take action in support of a more just system, Confluence Philanthropy partnered with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees to host a webinar on the subject. Pat Tomaino, Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Zevin Asset Management, moderated the call and put the conversation into ...

• Finding the Right Strategic Consultant: A Discussion Among Confluence Members

July 31, 2018
Building a Grassroots Investment Fund Several years ago, a cohort of project partners asked Thousand Currents to create “an investment fund that provided both economic prosperity and wellbeing for their communities.” For Thousand Currents, a public foundation that supports grassroot organizations in the Global South, it was a departure from their traditional funding model, which provided organizations with multi-year general operating support. It was also a tall order. How could an impact fund meet the needs of their grassroots partners - ...

• Confluence Explores Climate Geoengineering

July 10, 2018
Andrew Jones, Climate Interactive
How could we meet our goals for preventing climate change? Passage of the UN Paris Agreement, the bountiful flow of capital feeding clean energy, and the continued floundering of the coal industry have signaled to us all that warming is on track to reach around 3.3°C, instead of the nightmarish 4.2°C of “business as usual.” But 3.3°C is still well above the ultimate UN goal of 1.5°C. So, what next? Recently, Confluence Philanthropy gathered a group of Members to explore how to  close the remaining gap by looking at the suite of options ...

• Advisors Forum 2018: Investing in Equity, Non-Violence, and Inclusion

June 25, 2018
In the last session of the 2018 Advisors Forum, Geeta Aiyer, CEO of Boston Common Asset Management (pictured right), invited attendees to think more deeply about how they, as investors, can support equity, non-violence, and inclusion. Stressing the importance of non-violence, a term that most often is supplanted with equity, she shared a quote from Thurgood Marshall, “The law can push open doors, and tear down walls, but it cannot build bridges. That job belongs to you and me.” Geeta was joined by two investors who specialize in building ...

• Advisors Forum 2018: How Families Push Investment Boundaries: A Discussion With the Blue Haven Initiative and Cordes Foundation

June 25, 2018
High net worth families face uniquely complex investment challenges, such as navigating family dynamics and legacy issues. At the same time, they often have more opportunity than other institutional investors to take risks and push boundaries. To explore how visionary families build innovative investing practices, Robyn Polansky Morrison, Director of Impact Advisory at Align Impact, sat down with Ron Cordes, Co-Founder of the Cordes Foundation; Eric Stephenson, Portfolio Director of the Cordes Foundation; and Liesel Pritzker, Co-Founder of ...

• Solutions to Scaling Capital for Investment Opportunities

June 25, 2018
Confluence Philanthropy’s Advisors Forum is a two-day convening focused on accelerating the field currently known as impact investing. The event is geared for our Advisor Members and prospective members, who share the understanding that all investments have impact. Our collective goal is to ensure that all investments consider social and environmental outcomes and that these considerations be mainstream. We know that such practice does not denigrate financial return and that, over time, attention to these criteria strengthens performance....

• Advisors Forum 2018: Behind Closed Doors: What Investors and Managers Really Think About Deal Flow

June 25, 2018
Confluence Philanthropy’s first annual Advisors Forum brought together 100 attendees at Thomson Reuters in Times Square in June 2018, starting with an afternoon discussion for members only. Opening the event, Confluence CEO, Dana Lanza, shared, “After nearly a decade of supporting foundations and families in aligning mission and values with their financial resources, we have come to realize that Advisors play a critical role in unlocking this capital.  The Advisors Forum is a courageous first effort to connect with you in a new way. If we all ...

• Webinar Reflections: Harassment, Guns & Data Security this Proxy Season

May 22, 2018
Meredith Benton, Whistle Stop Capital
A snowball’s chance in . . . A year ago, it seemed inconceivable that 69% of investors in a gun company would vote in support of its reporting publicly on ‘reputational and financial risks related to gun violence.’  And yet, on May 9, 2018, 69% of gun manufacturer Sturm Ruger’s shareholders supported this step be taken. Investors in a gun company voted to research producing safer guns. How did this incredible show of support for a shift in gun manufacturing practices come about?  And what does it mean for other social-change-focused ...

• A Dinner for Impactful Women

April 25, 2018
This month, Confluence Philanthropy hosted 20 leading women in mission investing for a dinner conversation in Chicago. The gathering was a bit of an experiment and the first event tied to a new Confluence initiative aimed at supporting women in finance. The goal of the conversation was threefold: outline the most effective ways to support women’s leadership in finance, identify ways that women’s leadership can catalyze mission investing, and, most importantly, have fun. The format of the evening event was inspired by an ongoing series ...

• The Investment Gap that Threatens the Planet

February 12, 2018
Addressing climate change requires investment in a wide range of solutions, from scaling existing renewable energy technology to identifying and supporting early stage innovation for the next wave of technological breakthroughs.  However, the current state of climate finance does not reflect this broad-based need, leaving critical gaps in the fight against climate change. To explore these gaps, the Climate Solutions Collaborative hosted a webinar discussion on Monday, February 12th featuring Scott Burger, of PRIME Coalition and Liqian Ma, ...

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