Previous Conferences

Philadelphia: April 2017

At the 2017 Wharton Social Impact Conference in Philadelphia, some 220 attendees explored innovative approaches to using capital for social impact, with panels on mainstreaming impact investing, creating place-based impact, and strategies for impact investing.

Leveraging Wharton’s unique value as the foremost research-led business school, we approached this conference with an “industry-meets-academia” mindset. We sought to highlight the value of translating research to help inform industry practice, and to share how those insights can affect day-to-day business. Read the recap and listen to SiriusXM interviews from the conference floor.

Programming Details

Panel: Mainstreaming Impact Investing

A number of recognizable players have entered the impact investing market—from institutional investors to large financial services firms. In this session, explore how these stakeholders are responding to client demand and integrating impact strategies across investment portfolios. Hear what the research base shows and what influence impact investing may have on investing in the future.


Nick Ashburn

Wharton Social Impact Initiative

Surya Kolluri

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Liesel Pritzker Simmons

Blue Haven Initiative

Chris Geczy

The Wharton School

Panel: Place-Based Impact

More and more people are moving into cities, which is leading businesses, government, and nonprofits to take a critical look at how they can most effectively allocate resources to serve existing residents and new ones.  How can cities enhance the use of data and evidence to improve services? How are foundations expanding their toolset to invest in their communities? What can large corporations do to support local economic development? In this session, we’ll explore these questions and more.


Katherine Klein

Wharton Social Impact Initiative

Simone Brody

What Works Cities Program

Allison Clark

The MacArthur Foundation

Dalila Wilson-Scott


Panel: Impact Investing Strategies

As impact investing grows in popularity, we are seeing increasing sophistication of strategies by asset class and focus area.  On this panel, thought leaders will discuss several of these impact investing strategies, including private equity and the use of a gender lens. We will also hear from Wharton faculty about what research in this space is revealing, and what additional work needs to be done.


Sandi Hunt

Wharton Social Impact Initiative

Jean-Philippe de Schrevel

Bamboo Capital Partners

Suzanne Biegel

Women Effect

David Musto

The Wharton School

San Francisco - Dec 2016

The west coast version of this event was organized in collaboration with students from the Wharton MBA Program for Executives and staff from Wharton Social Impact Initiative.

With a theme of “scaling social impact,” this year’s discussion explored current trends and controversies in the ever-growing social impact space, how the impact community is working collaboratively to build momentum and scale, and what lies ahead for the industry.

Keynote speakers: Daniel Skaff, WG’87, President, Co-CEO and Vice Chairman of Beneficial State Bank, Dr. Freada Kapor Klein, Partner, Kapor Center for Social Impact

Panels included:


View a Storify of the event.

San Francisco - March 2016

In mid-March, the annual conference returned with a powerhouse line-up of experts and panels on entrepreneurship, defining and measuring impact, impact investing, and connectivity and collaboration.

Keynote speaker John Gargani (WG’93), President of Gargani + Company and 2016 President of the American Evaluation Association, launched the conference with reflections on evaluating impact.

Browse a Storify of the event.

Read a recap on the WSII blog.

Philadelphia - Oct 2015

This event’s focus spanned various sectors and pulled from the experience of industry practitioners. Panel topics included discussion on successful models for social entrepreneurship, innovative financing for social impact, and strategic partnerships for corporate social impact.

The day-long event also featured lightning pitches from social entrepreneurs, time for networking, and a special presentation on Wharton’s latest impact investing research.

The Fall 2015 featured keynote speakers were impact investing leader Ron Cordes, of the Cordes Foundation, and long-time entrepreneur Iqbal Quadir, WG’87, Founder and Director Emeritus of the Legatum Center of Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT.