HISTORY OF WALDEN ASSET MANAGEMENT/SRI: Foundations Focus on Increasing Social Impact, December 1995
SOCIAL TOPICS (Archive): HISTORY OF WALDEN ASSET MANAGEMENT/SRI
Foundations Focus on Increasing Social Impact
Published, December 1995
In a time of increasing social need and economic challenge, how can donors leverage their dollars for greater social impact? Sixteen speakers tackled this question at USTC's October 20th conference on “Expanding the Impact/Extending the Bottom Line,” sponsored in partnership with Grants Management Associates.
A capacity audience from funding organizations nationwide gathered on our twelfth floor for the one-day conference to share a broad range of techniques for leveraging philanthropic resources.
Morning sessions were devoted to innovative philanthropy: developing permanent new sources of funding, helping grantees become self-sufficient and making direct, program-related investments in projects that generate both financial and social returns. In the afternoon, panelists explored socially responsive investing as a means of putting invested assets to work toward organizational goals through selectively screened investing and proactive ownership of companies.
A reception at The Old State House, a Boston historic landmark, capped the day’s program and featured remarks by Sarah Melendez, president of the Indepedent Sector. A client conference on economic development followed on Saturday. (See USTC Client Conference Explores Alternative Models of Development, March 1996)
The following are quotes from Friday conference panelists.
“We believe very much in doing. And so our rule of thumb is do and plan, don’t plan and do. And part of our experience (in the Comprehensive Community Revitalization Project in New York’s South Bronx) was to help things happen very quickly so people could see visible signs of change in their communities.”
— Ed Skloot, Executive Director, Surdna Foundation
“We’ve begun over the years to develop the notion that a certain percentage of what we would ... ‘give away’ should be in some way incorporated into the function of our business so that we can create business relationships with organizations on a long-term basis so that they begin to develop some ability to earn income on a sustained basis.”
— Alan Parker, Director of Investor Relations and Special Projects, Ben & Jerry’s
“The proper objective of foundations is to prime the pump, not to act as a permanent reservoir.”
— George B. Shaw, Esq., Trustee of the Jessie B. Cox Trust, quoting Raymond Fosdick of the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation
“The challenge for institutions is to provide relevant services to (surrounding) communities. Is a hospital that can cure the Shah of Iran missing its obligation to serve its community when it can’t do anything about low birth rates in Dorchester?”
— DeWitt Jones, Exec. Director, Boston Community Loan Fund
“The foundation as investor can be serving its stated purposes every bit as much as the foundation as grantmaker.”
— Donald Collat, Professor, Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration
“The role of the board member (of a charitable organization)... is to manage the assets of the organization to fulfill its purposes. The purposes don’t change between investment decisions and program decisions.”
— W.B. McKeown, Esq., Counsel to Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler
“Professional managers subject to social screens seem to be able to do as well as the best, as poorly as the worst, and on average the same as professional managers who are not subject to social screens. Therefore the conclusion is ... that yes, it is completely prudent to apply most of the social screens that are conventionally applied to your investment portfolios.”
— Robert Zevin, Economist, United States Trust Company
“Sometimes you raise your voice just because it is right, even though it will not bear fruit for 10 or 15 years.”
— Timothy Smith, Executive Director, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
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