This webinar will traverse the territory at the intersection of national culture, polytechnic post-secondary education, and the evolution of the philanthropic and impact sectors. The general premise for this intervention is that the conventional philanthropy/impact model (PIM)** is fundamentally broken. It drives distorted incentives, measures marginal progress rather than meaningful long-term impact, sacrifices coherent theories of change for marginalized “missions,” and is generally failing to effectively address our nation’s most urgent economic, social, and ecological complexities.
In part, the root cause of this breakdown is the failure of the academic sector to provide anything like the most relevant and useful pedagogies and curricula that would catalyze progress in the PIM. The most urgent need at the intersection of the complexities taken on by the PIM, both in the developed world and in emerging economies, is the creation of economic opportunity through innovative delivery of access to capital. Financial agency and dignity and purpose in work can drive solutions to many of the other barriers to social advancement at scale. However, ecological collapse and social dislocation also present fertile ground for productive innovation in this domain.
Using as our premise that the global impact of philanthropy can best be measured in meaningful gains well-being and quality of life, we will wade into the world of public affairs and explore the opportunities to catalyze a new model of giving and investment, one that is disruptive, and inspiring, driven by social finance and impact investing models and principles. We will discuss some brilliantly successful models of progressive philanthropy from Europe, Canada, and Australia. We will then consider and ideate about how these models can inform a rethinking of philanthropy in the U.S.
Relying on case studies and personal experience, we will convene this dialogue with attendees to inform two key opportunity areas: curriculum in the business and policy school contexts to advance the PIM category, and Theory of Change/Measures of Impact to inform programs and reporting.
Participants will learn gain clear, actionable guidance, practical tools, and immediate momentum for the transformation of the PIM model through curriculum and impact measurement innovation.
Background & Overview
Philanthropy requires a careful and intentional rethink. As one of the primary means of renewing the human spirit (something not often enough associated with this field), philanthropy has a vital place in the economic cycle. This is true both from a social as well as an economic standpoint.
Philanthropic gifts, rightly focused and intended, are generative in nature. Without charitable gifts, there would be no economic activity at all. Gifting transactions, from the potlach culture amongst the natives of the Pacific Northwest, to well-structured philanthropy today, have preceded all other forms of economic trade transactions and monetary systems.
In addition to meeting physical needs (which indigenous cultures often did without any monetary systems at all), these economies valued the non-commodity aspects that convention economics dismisses or cannot fathom: socio-centric needs such as caring, learning, imagining, inspiring, and playing.
Yet these are the very things that matter most to us day-to-day. It has been thus left to philanthropy to make whole the fragmented and generally inhuman picture of economics. As John Bloom posits in his brilliant essay Economics and the Presence of Philanthropy,*** “gifting is the most important and productive component of an economic system.”
Philanthropy transforms human energy and intention into new human capacity (education), new insights and breakthroughs (research), and cultural innovation (the arts). These shifts lead directly to economic renewal.
We will explore, call into question, and hopefully come to a deeper understanding of the relationship between principles of action-focused philanthropy, social finance, and those timeless American principles of civic engagement, responsible governance, and the quest for inclusion and equity.
Ed Quevedo directs the Regenerative Design Program within The Foresight+Innovation Lab, a collaborative advisory and creative agency composed of educators, policy innovators, social entrepreneurs, sustainability practitioners, and non-profit leaders working together to build the New Regenerative Economy (NRE). The New Regenerative Economy (NRE) is a fundamental reframing of the conventional consumer economy, grounded on integrity, sufficiency, social justice, and ecological regeneration, rather than consumption, exploitation, and the destruction of ecosystems in the relentless pursuit of profit. As a senior creative and trusted advisor, he has worked internationally and domestically guiding and advising some of the world’s most iconic and highly regarded companies, philanthropies, institutions of higher learning, and civil society organizations. Prior to launching the Lab with his fellow Agents in early 2017, he served as a Research Affiliate at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, where he directed their program in Regenerative Future Economies, and contributed to the Institute’s Peace and Social Justice Lab. Ed has led practice groups in Strategy, Foresight and Innovation, Environmental Law, and Sustainable Development at some of the most respected law firms and creative agencies in North America and around the world, including Pillsbury Winthrop, LLP of San Francisco, WSP Environment & Energy of London, UK, and Reos Partners of Oxford, UK and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Ed has also enjoyed an extensive history of service in higher education. From 2013 to 2016, Ed was Faculty in Sustainable Enterprise at the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business & Public Policy at Mills College, and Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Mills College Center for Socially Responsible Business. Ed also served was on the Faculty at Presidio Graduate School, where he held the chair as Dean of the Faculty. From 2003 through 2010, he was faculty within the Green MBA® Program of the School of Business and Leadership at Dominican University of California. Ed holds the A.B. in Philosophy from UCLA, and the Juris Doctor from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law and the Boalt Hall Program in Jurisprudence and Social Policy. He makes his home in Northern California, where he continues to learn from his children and the local communities he is privileged to serve.
* Copyright 2017, The Foresight+Innovation Lab. The concepts and notions in this essay have been ideated and formed by the The Lab, a Collaborative Advisory and Creative Agency composed of educators, policy innovators, international diplomats, social entrepreneurs, sustainability practitioners, and non-profit leaders working together to build the New Regenerative Economy.
** Broadly speaking, we define the Philanthropic/Impact Model to include symbiotic action by which philanthropies (private, corporate, and public foundations, family offices, etc.) fund impact organizations (non-profits such as Omidyar Network, RSF Social Finance, and philanthropies’ own programs), to take on and make progress against the most complex and intractable ecological, social, and economic problems faced by human society. See, e.g.,, Collective Impact, and Social Impact Markets, both in the Stanford Review of Social Innovation.
*** Bloom, The Genius of Money (2009) Steiner Books.