Impact Investing Discussion Series is a Powerful Tool for Alumni


We often hear from Wharton and Penn alumni that they’ve heard of impact investing, but they aren’t quite sure what it is – let alone know how to engage in it themselves.

In October, Wharton Social Impact Initiative kicked off a collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation called “The Capital for Social Impact Series.”

Just like our many offerings for students on campus, the series is serving as an introductory course for our alumni. Our goal is to explore how impact investing and other innovative finance tools can be used to make a positive social and environmental impact on the world.


With the help of Lifelong Learning, WSII presented the first event in the series in Palo Alto, followed by another gathering in Miami. In addition to those, we will be heading to London, Hong Kong, and New York in the first half of 2015.

These instructive talks look at how the field is evolving.

Expert panelists – including Wharton professors, investment managers, and seasoned practitioners – share concrete examples of impact investing in action, and how it applies to different cultures and economies. We’re also examining ideas from the new book, “The Power of Impact Investing: Putting Markets to Work for Profit and Global Good,” co-authored by Margot Brandenburg and Dr. Judith Rodin, a former University of Pennsylvania president.

The conversations are grounded in the emerging evidence base for impact investing by introducing some of our early findings from our data collection and research efforts in impact investing private equity. By doing so, we’re fostering a more substantive and robust conversation about the potential – and also the remaining challenges – for the field.


Brett Haber, WG ’01, who attended the Miami event in November, noted, “There’s a fair amount of talk in South Florida about an increase in private equity and venture capital investing in general. Consequently, there’s a unique opportunity to shape how and in what people from the region invest.’”

We have been responsive to the overwhelmingly positive and growing student demand for impact investing, but we want to make sure that our resources are not only for current students, but also for the generations of alumni who preceded them.

In the spring, we’ll announce the next dates and locations for the tour. To receive more information, subscribe to our newsletter for impact investing news and updates.


NickHeadshotNick Ashburn is the Director of Special Projects for Wharton Social Impact Initiative’s Impact Investing Initiative, where he directs impact investment activities including training programs, partnerships and outreach, and research projects.