Hi there. My name is Brian Walsh, and I am seeking to understand how we might best finance social good.
I oversee impact for Liquidnet, a New York-based financial technology company which operates a global trading network for more than 800 of the world's top asset managers. In 2007 I launched Liquidnet For Good, which is responsible for applying the company's resources to make a positive impact around the world.
Our first strategy is around employee engagement: providing opportunities for employees to give back locally and globally, in particular through a groundbreaking partnership with the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), an innovative family structure and high school for 500 teenaged orphans in Rwanda. I manage Liquidnet’s relationship with this project, including leading groups of employees from around the world on skills-based volunteer trips to Rwanda.
Liquidnet For Good’s second strategy is around applying the company’s core strengths – improving the capital markets – to two other markets: philanthropy and impact investing. We work with some of the largest foundations in the world to improve how philanthropy is practiced, through both the better sharing of information and through the better listening to feedback from the people philanthropy ultimately seeks to help. I started the Markets for Good initiative (now managed by Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy & Civil Society as part of their Digital Impact work), and Liquidnet was one of the inaugural core funders of the Fund for Shared Insight.
To help improve impact investing, I established the Liquidnet Impact Fund, a donor advised fund, to make early-stage investments in companies helping to grow this emerging field. The first investment was into ImpactAlpha, a startup media company covering the impact investing market. I advise the company and also host the Returns on Investment podcast. The Liquidnet Impact Fund also invests in companies facilitating East Africa's economic development, as well as companies identified through the MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT), an educational program organized by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Bridges Impact+. Over the course of the academic year, nearly 600 graduate students at 25 of the world’s leading business schools learn about impact investing while identifying investment opportunities in companies with compelling financial prospects alongside measurable social and/or environmental impact. I serve on the MIINT’s steering committee.
I also serve on the boards of GlobalGiving, a nonprofit crowdfunding platform that connects everyday donors with thousands of vetted grassroots organizations around the world; CalSo, a Californian nonprofit leveraging French expertise to launch social enterprises which fight social exclusion; and the ASYV. I am an adjunct professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where I teach a graduate seminar called Financing Social Impact. I produce a regular newsletter, All Things Impact, tracking developments and parallels in the fields of socially responsible investing, impact investing, and philanthropy. I graduated from Georgetown and previously provided strategic advice to companies and philanthropic organizations.