Welcome to the first newsletter of a project I'm working on called All Things Impact. Each week I'll share four interesting links I've come across. Generally, these will touch on the spectrum of impact: effective philanthropy, impact investing (in the private markets), responsible investing (in the public markets) and a wildcard topic.
Without further ado, here we go:
1. Effective Philanthropy: Nothing New Under the Sun?
In this interview on the Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington speaks with the founders and editors of the excellent History of Philanthropy blog, where Stanley Katz reflects that it is “hard to separate rhetoric from reality in the current environment of philanthropic hype. From my perspective, the current boasting that all is new in philanthropy (see the recent New York Times “Giving” section), is pretty uninformed (naïve?).”
2. Impact Investing: IRS Gives Green Light to Foundation Investments for Impact
In this ImpactAlpha article, Dennis Price covers the recent guidance from the IRS which might help unlock some of the $650 billion in assets held in the endowments of U.S.-based private foundations. “Mission-related investments, or MRIs, are different from program-related investments, or PRIs. The latter, which come from foundations’ grant-making budgets, have been allowed since 1969 and have been used to make below-market guarantees, loans, and equity investments targeting social and environmental impact. PRIs, unlike MRIs, count toward foundations’ annual payout of approximately 5 percent of their total assets.”
Price goes on to quote Paula Goldman of the Omidyar Network: “This is extremely good news for foundations that are eager to more fully leverage their endowments to advance social change. The implications are significant: foundations can carve out a piece – or even all – of their endowments for mission-driven investments.” (Disclosure: my company, Liquidnet, is an investor in ImpactAlpha through the Liquidnet Impact Fund, a donor advised fund at ImpactAssets.)
3. Responsible Investing: Is It Meaningful to Talk About the Ownership of Companies?
So asks John Kay in this recent post. “So who does own a company? The answer is that no one does, any more than anyone owns the river Thames, the National Gallery, the streets of London, or the air we breathe. There are many different kinds of claims, contracts and obligations in modern economies, and only occasionally are these well described by the term ownership.”
4. Wildcard: Artificial intelligence - ‘Homo sapiens will be split into a handful of gods and the rest of us’
“I think our best hope going forward is figuring out how to live in an economy of radical abundance, where machines do all the work, and we basically play.” In The Guardian, Charles Arthur looks at the likely effects of a robot revolution. “[T]echnology is leading to a rarification of leading-edge employment, where fewer and fewer people have the necessary skills to work in the frontline of its advances. ‘In the 1980s, 8.2% of the US workforce were employed in new technologies introduced in that decade…By the 1990s, it was 4.2%. For the 2000s, our estimate is that it’s just 0.5%.’”
That's it for this week! Please send me any compelling links you discover in your own journeys across the web (even things like this gif of a chameleon trying to catch bubbles).
Until next week!