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WEBINAR The Future of Philanthropy in an Impact Economy: A Fireside Chat with Clara Miller


The October 8, 2018 IPCC Special Report on Global Warming states that “limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” necessitating significant systems change in the private (business), public (government), and social (non-profit) sectors. As emphasized in the Impact Entrepreneur Center/Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors September 2018 Report, Philanthropy Transforming Finance: Building an Impact Economy, there is a clear mandate to move “beyond incremental change to real transformation,” to the building of a new “impact economy” that is regenerative, resilient and circular, and which is distinguished by a business sector anchored to the triple bottom line.

Philanthropies and individual philanthropists can and should play a central role in building an impact economy, at the local/regional, national or global scales, according to the scale of their resources and scope of their charitable mandate. However, only a small number of foundations spend more than their legal minimum of 5% of assets each year on advancing their social missions, and individual philanthropists are generally not aware that they can make use of donor advised funds and other instruments to seed impact businesses. This needs to change.

This virtual fireside chat between Clara Miller, one of the pioneering figures in impact philanthropy, and Impact Entrepreneur's Laurie Lane-Zucker, will address philanthropy's shifting role in society, and the ways in which foundations and philanthropists can most effectively address the urgent, epochal challenges described in the IPCC Special Report and its 10-year timeline for transformational change, and contribute to the building of an impact economy.

Topic areas will include:

  • Philanthropy's historical roots

  • Impediments to philanthropic engagement in impact economy building

  • Successful philanthropic strategies in impact economy building

  • Steps to achieving "all in" — 100% of assets aligned with furthering social mission

  • Integrated finance strategies (blending philanthropic, government and private capital)

  • Philanthropy and the early stage (seed to growth) impact entrepreneur

A Virtual Fireside Chat Between Clara Miller and IEC's Laurie Lane-Zucker

Clara Miller is President Emerita of The F. B. Heron Foundation, having served as its President from 2011 through 2017. Heron is a private foundation that helps people and communities in the U.S. help themselves out of poverty. Prior to assuming the Foundation’s presidency, Miller founded the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and served as President and CEO from 1984 through 2010.

Miller is on the boards of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), StoneCastle Financial Corp., Family Independence Initiative, and the Song Cave. She is an advisory board member of the Alliance for Impact Investing, and is a current advisor to the Impact Management Project, Family Independence Initiative and Open Road Alliance. Miller became a Bridgespan Fellow in 2018. 

Miller was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. Treasury’s first Community Development Advisory Board in 1996 for the then-newly-created Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. She later served as its Chair. She chaired the Opportunity Finance Network board for six years, serving as a board member from 2002 through 2011, and was a member of the Community Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for eight years. In 2010 Miller became a member of the first Nonprofit Advisory Committee of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and served until 2016.

Miller was the inaugural laureate of the Prince’s Prize for Innovative Philanthropy awarded in 2014 by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Tocqueville Foundation-Institute of France. She was named to The NonProfit Times “Power and Influence Top 50” for seven years from 2006 through 2016 and was awarded a Bellagio Residency in 2010 by The Rockefeller Foundation. She was named “Social Innovator of the Year” by the University of New Hampshire in 2017.

Miller speaks and writes extensively about impact investing, nonprofit capitalization and financial practices in the nonprofit sector. She has spoken recently at the Aspen Ideas Festival, SOCAP, Sciences Po, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Yale School of Management, Dartmouth Tuck School, Columbia Business School, Duke Fuqua School of Business and the University of New Hampshire. She has been published in The Huffington Post, Medium, ImpactAlpha, the Atlantic blog, The Financial Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Nonprofit Quarterly and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Laurie Lane-Zucker is founder and CEO of Impact Entrepreneur Center for Social and Environmental Innovation, where he curates the global Impact Entrepreneur Network of entrepreneurs, investors and scholars, produces educational in-person and online programming with the leading individuals and organizations active in impact economy building, and consults with early stage impact companies, investors and educational institutions. He is an award-winning editor and publisher of bestselling, sustainability-oriented books and magazines, including works by Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, Barry Lopez and David James Duncan, and is a prolific writer on entrepreneurship and impact investing. He was the founding executive director of The Orion Society, which publishes the acclaimed Orion Magazine, a journal focused on people, nature, and place, and is the former executive director for the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom, a nonprofit organization focused on cultivating wisdom that informs social transformation and environmental healing. He is also the co-founder of the Place-based Education movement, which laid essential groundwork for place-based impact investing. Lane-Zucker did his undergraduate studies at Middlebury College and Edinburgh University and graduate work at Columbia University and the Bread Load School of English.

This webinar is co-sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors as part of its Scaling Solutions initiative.

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Impact Entrepreneur's Luminarias Webinar Series features reflective conversations with the leading lights in impact investing and entrepreneurship.