‘Future of Impact’ requires investment, philanthropy — and business as a force for good

///‘Future of Impact’ requires investment, philanthropy — and business as a force for good

‘Future of Impact’ requires investment, philanthropy — and business as a force for good

The world of impact is large and contains multitudes: people working in diverse fields and organizations, ranging from nonprofits to foundations to impact investing funds, to government agencies to companies and financial institutions.

For the 10th anniversary of Liquidnet For Good, the corporate impact program I run for the global fintech company Liquidnet, we didn’t want to just look back; we wanted to look forward. Bill Gates famously wrote: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”

What will the next ten years of impact look like? How might we generate impact using the tools of philanthropy, investing, and traditional companies? How can we learn from others who are also working to generate impact, yet do so in very different (yet adjacent) organizations and fields?

To explore these questions, Liquidnet hosted a forum June 15 at our NYC offices: The Future of Impact. The 100 guests came from diverse organizations we have partnered with over the years: large banks, grassroots nonprofits, foundations with multi-billion dollar endowments, family offices, technology platforms, government agencies, and public companies, to name a few.

I’ve been fortunate to work with those working to make philanthropy more effective, those working to accelerate the practice of impact investing, and those trying to leverage the vast and largely untapped resources of traditional companies and the capital markets. Through three all-star panels, we explored the current and future states of effective philanthropy, impact investing, and business as a force for good.

Our approach to impact involves not only empowering our employees to make their mark on the world, but also applying our core strengths to social challenges. Please see here for Liquidnet For Good’s Decade of Impact report, which captures the impact we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learned over the past 10 years.

A lot has changed over the past ten years. Consider the state of the world in June 2007, when we launched Liquidnet For Good:

· George W. Bush had 19 months left in his Presidency, Barack Obama was a junior Senator from Illinois, and Donald Trump had just wrapped up hosting season 6 The Apprentice.

· The financial crisis had not yet hit; people would think you were a lunatic if you predicted that Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns, Washington Mutual, and an independent Merrill Lynch would soon no longer exist.

· The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007, though the Apple app store would not exist for another year.

· Many multi-billion dollar companies which have become integral to life in 2017 did not yet exist: Airbnb (2008), Uber (2009), BuzzFeed (2009), Instagram (2010), WhatsApp (2010), and Snapchat (2011)

· The term “Impact Investing” had only just been coined

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