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How Blockchain Can Help Advance Social Good

Markets Giving Compass


'Giving Compass’ Take: • The inaugural Blockchain Revolution Global conference showcases how blockchain technology has helped progress social good in various ways.  • How are philanthropists that are unfamiliar with this technology, learning more about the impact of blockchain on the broader social sector? • Here are the risks and opportunities for blockchain philanthropy.Toronto has been at the forefront of the blockchain effort, with the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) (@blockchainRI) founded there in 2017.And Toronto celebrated their first official Blockchain Week April 22-28.The founders of BRI, Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, are also the authors of the breakout book, “Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.” So, Toronto made sense for the inaugural Blockchain Revolution Global (#BRG2019) conference, with more than 150 speakers holding over 60 sessions focusing on ten pillars of possibility in the blockchain space.The event’s technical host, MCI Canada, used a unique setup that facilitated being able to hear many more speakers, tracks, and sessions in two days than a traditional conference could allow.Using headsets for breakout sessions, a 360-degree hexagonal stage setup meant that keynotes could be viewed and heard by all from any side as speakers shifted, and then the stage was set for 5 concurrent speakers or panels on each side of the center.There were countless examples of wins in the social good space, and here just are a few more: 70% of land rights globally are currently unenforceable; putting property records on an unalterable blockchain provides documentation that cannot be burned, lost, or seized Clean energy can be both produced and consumed by everyday people directly to and from each other, making them prosumers, and creating more streamlined and efficient clean energy 1.2 Billion people globally do not have an identity; blockchain allows an immutable record of one’s identity to be kept, which is critical for refugees and others without proof they exist This was a fascinating conference, and the possibilities for positive social impact using blockchain and AI in the nonprofit/NGO and social enterprise space are already real, and growing.Read the full article about blockchain and social impact by Amy Neumann at Beth’s Blog. . The post How Blockchain Can Help Advance Social Good appeared first on Giving Compass .'

How to Transition Your Investment Portfolio to Align With Your Mission

Markets Giving Compass


'Giving Compass’ Take: • Hummayun Javed and Gabrielle Morgan share steps for foundations that want to transition investment portfolios to be in line with their mission.  • How can your organization begin to make this shift?What stakeholders will you need to engage to ensure that this transition is successful?  • Learn more about philanthropy’s role in impact investing .  Let’s begin with the most important lessons about getting ready for an impact portfolio: 1.Market-rate returns are possible for all types of investors.That said, it won’t happen overnight. 2.Impact investing is still investing.There are no guarantees in traditional investing, nor are there in impact investing.You still have to weigh the risks of any impact investment as critically as you would a traditional investment. 3.Don’t wait for perfect measurement.Many of the endowments and foundations we studied expressed frustration with the lack of comparability and uniformity among existing impact measurement tools.Don’t let this hold you back—choose a metric and get on with it! 4.Collaborate and leverage the industry.Throughout our research, one theme remained constant: Transitioning a portfolio to impact requires a wide range of expertise.Good news: There is no need to go it alone. 5.Be ready for a spike in engagement.Conversations about moving toward impact investing will change routine interactions with boards, investment committees, beneficiaries, trustees, and other stakeholders.Be prepared to get—and keep—all of them behind the transition.There are meaningful steps you can take within your organization to kickstart your impact investing journey: 1.Figure out what you own.Start by asking a simple question: What are we invested in? 2.Put it in writing.No matter how broad or specific, add your intentions to transition to impact investments in official documents, such as the investment policy statement. 3.Make your intentions public to keep you accountable.  4.Leverage your liquid investments.Yes, private market investments make for the most compelling impact investment stories.But the fastest—and still significant in terms of impact—changes are made in the liquid part of a portfolio.To smarten up the industry’s efforts, newcomers and old hands should take these case-study-inspiring steps: 1.Change others, not just yourselves.Impact investors should use their influence with service providers—such as wealth management firms, asset managers, pension funds, or 401(k) providers—to change their practices in ways that spread the concepts of impact investing even further. 2.Elevate more social issues.Most of the case studies we reviewed focused on a small number of impact themes, most notably climate change. 3.Share the journey, not just the results.Impact investors need to talk about more than portfolio returns. 4.Zoom out.Many of the cases we studied focused too closely on the individual or organization instead of the investments or lessons.Read the full article about how to transition your investment portfolio  by Hummayun Javed and Gabrielle Morgan at Stanford Social Innovation Review. . The post How to Transition Your Investment Portfolio to Align With Your Mission appeared first on Giving Compass .'

Blockchain Techonology Innovation and Relevance in Philanthropy

Markets Giving Compass


'Giving Compass’ Take: • Cordell Carter II, writing for Medium, explains how blockchain start-up called injii can help advance the philanthropic sector.  • How can cross-sector collaboration (technology and philanthropy) can engage with social problem-solving?How will introducing blockchain into philanthropy disrupt traditional systems?  • Read about how blockchain is being used for social good.Thanks to a combination of factors, the philanthropic sector (also known as the social sector — which includes traditional 501c3 organizations, corporate social responsibility initiatives, social entrepreneurs, B-Corps, inter alia) is booming.I have witnessed the sector grow really fast and have two observations: firstly, mergers and acquisitions as a growth strategy is under-used in the philanthropic sector (reading between the lines here, there is too much redundancy which confuses investors) and secondly, in spite of our worthy objectives, leaders in this sector are expected to be every bit as innovative as leaders in other sectors — so we must continue to learn in order stay ahead of the game.This is where a new blockchain start-up called injii comes into play.Justin Paul, the founder, blended his love of music and tech to create a coin-based platform that reduces the costs of fundraising by connecting content creators with their favorite charities.Injii is about to the change the game for the philanthropic sector and I am excited about this new avenue of fundraising.I invite you all to join me in leveraging this tool because our causes are too important for any of us Type-A leaders to hog it all for ourselves.Though I do have first right of refusal to MeLyn’s performance on the Injii platform…not kidding.Read the full article about blockchain technology  by Cordell Carter II at Medium.  . The post Blockchain Techonology Innovation and Relevance in Philanthropy appeared first on Giving Compass .'

Tips for Mission-Aligned Investment Opportunities

Markets Giving Compass


'Giving Compass’ Take: • Mission-aligned investment opportunities can come in the form of funding community development financial institutions and investing in local social enterprises.  • How is mission-aligned investment altering the current landscape of philanthropy and the broader sector?What are the benefits?Potential hurdles?  • Read about foundations that are participating in mission-aligned investing.On average, like most private foundations, Exponent Philanthropy members give away approximately 5% of their assets each year.But what about the other 95% that are invested in return-generating financial instruments?Where does that cash “sleep” at night?In the local community where it can benefit people and places?Or on Wall Street?These days, impact investing or mission-aligned investing are hot topics, but to many it is not always clear how to get started.We suggest taking a look at mission-aligned investment opportunities in your own backyard: investing in CDFIs and supporting a local social enterprise.CDFIs are private financial institutions with a 100% impact focus.They finance affordable housing, small businesses, and a range of community facilities—from schools, to health clinics, to arts venues.The Barra Foundation discovered a great onramp to local investing in a loan fund managed by Philadelphia’s Reinvestment Fund, an Aeris-rated CDFI.Individual and institutional investors like Barra loan money to Reinvestment Fund, which in turn uses those dollars to finance socially and environmentally responsible development projects that benefit low-income communities.What about investing directly into a social enterprise?In some cases, a pilot or test can be a great way to get started with mission investing while limiting your risk exposure.For example, a program-related investment (PRI) or recoverable grant can help orient investment decisionmakers to a new way of thinking about deploying financial resources.Some foundations have taken a first step by making a low-interest loan to a nonprofit or other entity they already know well.Mission-aligned investing often does not happen overnight.It requires some staff and board education.Barra staff began to learn through resources like Mission Investors Exchange and from like-minded foundations.Read the full article about ways for philanthropists to invest by Kristina Wahl and Paige Chapel at Exponent Philanthropy. . The post Tips for Mission-Aligned Investment Opportunities appeared first on Giving Compass .'