We had the privilege to speak with Georgette Wong, CEO, Correlation Consulting, and the Creator of Take Action! The Impact Investing Summit, last week and our conversation had so many great elements, we’ve featured her interview in two parts. In case you missed it, check, out the first part here.
1. You have been hosting a curated summit on impact investing for many years. What have you learned from bringing together these brilliant minds that the social sector as a whole should heed?
The Take Action! Impact Investing Summit ran from 2007-2012 and brought together thought leaders in philanthropy (foundations and wealthy individuals), pension plans, corporations and government agencies.
I would encourage folks in the social sector to think of impact investing as complementary to their philanthropic giving. There is a role for both philanthropy and investing; they’re not mutually exclusive.
The right question is, “What is the problem I’m trying to solve, and what’s the right tool to solve it?” Sometimes philanthropy is the best tool, sometimes investing is a better method. And, as I caution folks on the investment side, too, having an open and humble mind helps. In my experience as a staff and board member of nonprofit organizations, we in the social sector have a tendency to believe that we are the “true believers” and the only ones who can hold the purity of social change. I would challenge the social sector to harness business where appropriate. It can provide great acceleration for one’s goals.
2. Can you describe a SIB (social impact bond), PRI (program related investment), or other socially minded investment that is really exciting you?
More jobs need to be created for low-income people in the United States. Luckily, there is a whole spectrum of investments, including HCAP Partners, which is on its fourth fund to enhance job quality in traditional industries.
If one’s more interested in shifting a system, The Working World finances cooperatives. They have made 1000 loans with over 99% repayment. You can learn more about them in Morgan Simon’s book, Real Impact.
3. Impact investing activity has grown exponentially of late. Despite that, what is something you would like to draw more attention to in the space?
There are a lot of new actors in impact investing and we need everybody to help in the way that he or she can. I encourage people to go out of their comfort zones and ask their investment advisors for options, and for the proper amount that should go to impact investing. Look at new investments and put your money to work!
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