Here in my shop, 2016 was a year of learning, speaking and partnering thanks to friends & colleagues like you.
Teaching the Next Generation Nothing keeps you on your toes like a room of MBA millennials. My course, Investing for Environmental and Social Impact, is now in its 6th run at NYU Stern and continues to be a huge source of inspiration for my practice. This year’s student projects spanned women’s health, fossil fuel divestment for university endowments, creating a market for runoff water credits, economic development programs for new immigrants and just transition energy projects in coal country. Best of luck to these students and their promising futures.
My other academic work included 1-day seminars at the NYU Center for Global Affairs and philanthropy training for private bankers visiting from China. In November, Jackie VanderBrug, dropped by to share her new book, Gender Lens Investing. This spring, Professor Richard Levich and I will be launching a new experiential learning seminar at Stern where students will work with family offices and investment firms to take on impact investing challenges.
Social Justice Investing at Jessie Smith Noyes Outside of the classroom, I continued my deep involvement with the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation as the Finance Committee Chair. In October, we issued an open call for letters of interest to work with Noyes as an investment advisor while also seeking to use crowd-research to better understand the intersection of impact investing and social justice. We received 35 responses reflecting a great amount of thought and energy on equality, diversity and inclusion, equal access, health, human rights and education as well as innovative community ownership structures. Stay tuned for our research report on Social Justice Investing later this year.
Back at my desk, I stayed busy leading conversations in a variety of forums, including a webinar with Confluence Philanthropy to share best practices when searching for impact investment advisors. These discussions continue to shape and sharpen my own work helping asset owners to find the best partners. I also had the opportunity to speak about diversity within impact investing at High Water Women's Investing for Impact Symposium, Diversity and Impact Investing: The Aspirational Gap, and at Bloomberg's 2016 Power of Difference Summit. These important topics are certainly touching more of our collective work, and I'm excited to be a part of the conversations.
ESG and Impact Investing Border Crossings As ESG investors from the public markets increasingly mix and mingle with the private markets impact investing crowd, I see a growing interest in building and measuring social and environmental impact across asset classes and strategies. In December, I visited with Global X’s NYC team and did a radio interview webinar to share my view of the field and suggest some tools for financial advisors. In a related op-ed, William Burckart and I wrote about the growth of the ESG Impact sector as mom-and-pop ESG shops are facing consolidation. Staying current on the latest industry dynamics continues to inform my customized research projects and impact fund advisory practice.
Closing out the year, it was great fun to take the podium in The Great Debate: ESG Ratings & Rankings for Funds and Managers at Responsible Investing Americas Conference.
"Growth and Comfort Do Not Co-Exist" In 2017, let’s dig deeper into how capital can drive positive change. I hope to stay edgy without getting cranky, inspired instead of complacent and reflective while moving forward. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with my 2016 project partners, Scott Budde, William Burckart, Sarah Cleveland, Stephanie Gripne, Christopher Lopez, Michelle Mengel, Gregory Pettit and Melinda Tuan, and look forward to finding more opportunities for all of us to push good ideas forward together in 2017.