Let’s say you’re a local millionaire, or a director of a local foundation, or a financial advisor to either of those two people. You look around your city and you see what the rest of us see: a 25 percent poverty rate that hasn’t really budged in decades; a 44 percent Black population, with only 3 percent of Black-owned businesses; the legacy of redlining and discriminatory lending practices and all the other hallmarks of economic inequality.
If you are a civic or generous-minded individual, you probably want to do some good with your money. Maybe donate to charity, build a research facility, or endow a college or university. But if you were to ask ImpactPHL Executive Director Cory Donovan how best to make change with your wealth, he might frame the issue a different way.
“How can they invest their money for a sustainable, inclusive regional economy? How,as investors, can they help people get out of the situations they’re living in? How can we fix poverty in the long run?”
One answer, Donovan will tell you: living wage jobs. One fix: “Stop investing in companies paying their workers a minimum wage; start investing in companies that pay living wages.”
That kind of thinking is at the center of what ImpactPHL has evangelized since 2017, when the nonprofit launched in Philadelphia to present an alternative way to invest money: by putting it to work locally, in funds and businesses that improve the lives of Philadelphians — while also, by the way, making a good profit.
Every single day of every year since ImpactPHL launched in 2017, the mission of the nonprofit has been the same: convincing wealthy investors and foundations to put their money into local businesses and funds that work to create economic growth and equity in Philadelphia.
On May 1 and 2, ImpactPHL will explore how that happens, and what it can mean for a city and the country, at its Total Impact Summit, the group’s annual two-day gathering of investors, financial advisors and fund managers who are interested in, and hopefully practitioners of, social impact investing.
Among the conversations: “Investing for Resilient Economic Growth, Economic Mobility, and the Future of Work;” The Next Generation Has Arrived: How Impact Investing is Being Shaped by New Cohorts’” “Unlocking Billions for Climate Justice: Pairing Philanthropic, Private & Public Investment Dollars to Address Harm & Drive Regeneration’” “Shaping Neighborhoods: Real Estate Investment To Preserve & Serve Communities;” and a fireside chat with Spark Therapeutics’ Jeff Marrazzo.
The event, at Convene CityView, is open to the public, though targeted to high net worth investors and advisors. You can register here.
The term “social impact investing” refers to the increasingly popular practice of aligning financial assets with desired social outcomes. ImpactPHL says social impact investing reached more than $1 trillion in global investments. Philadelphia, in no small part because of Impact PHL, is a centerpiece for social impact investing nationwide, with no fewer than a dozen different funds that allow qualified investors to put their money to good use.
Every single day of every year since ImpactPHL launched in 2017, the mission of the nonprofit has been the same. The goal: Convince wealthy investors and foundations to put their money into local businesses and funds that work to create economic growth and equity in Philadelphia.
Two days of the year ImpactPHL’s focus broadens to include investors from around the country, to learn from each other.
Last year, both came together through an ending panel featuring some local funds and businesses, followed by a reception in which attendees could connect with the leaders of those funds, including Sylvester Mobley’s Plain Sight Capital, De-Carceration Fund, some CDFIs and others.
Over the course of the next several months, Donovan says, he followed along as those connections turned into actual investments. “That’s gratifying — that’s the goal,” he says.
This year, the summit will end with a conversation about local investment opportunities, followed by 60-second teasers from about a dozen Philly-based companies and funds, including Innovate Capital, Trapezium Math and Honeycomb. They will then set up a reception room to make their pitch to the converted crowd of impact-curious investors.
“We’re trying to take the next step towards what local impact looks like,” Donovan says. “We’re bringing thought leaders to the city who can help us advance our mission — and also maybe bringing capital to Philadelphia.”
And that, after all, is the real reason ImpactPHL exists.
ImpactPHL’s Total Impact Summit 2023: Investing for People, Planet, and Place takes place May 1 and 2, from 8am to 6pm each day, at Convene CityView, 30 S. 17th Street. Register at the above link to attend.
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