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Total Impact Summit 2024 Reflections


Four seated individuals on a panel

Principal Teresa Araco Rodgers (seated second from right) on a panel discussion at the Total Impact Summit


By Teresa Araco Rodgers


The Total Impact Summit 2024 took place on May 1 and 2 in Philadelphia.  Hosted by Impact PHL, in partnership with SOCAP Global, the Summit welcomed hundreds of people interested in aligning their investments with their values to create a world that is inclusive, sustainable, and resilient for all. Here are some of my reflections on the two days now that I have had the chance to think about what I learned, the people I met, and how I was inspired to contribute to a future economy that cultivates well-being for people, communities, local places, and our planet.

 

A quote attributed to Robert Arnott, “In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.” set the tone for the Summit, which offered a novel framework to open new ground for all of us to help develop connective pathways to create new methods for impact. Impact PHL provided a solid overview of the Summit, so this blog focuses on two aspects that have remained with me for deeper reflection.

 

First, I was impressed by the inclusivity and intentionality of the event. I noticed a diverse group of attendees, with staff and board members of foundations and endowments present, and an increase in attendance by family office and private client investment advisors. The different perspectives led to in-depth discussions about investing in local communities and the importance of developing our infrastructure. The speakers and participants shared their varied experiences aligning financial assets with values and investing in places they care about. Speakers also offered a different and broader definition of wealth – one that considers the dignity of people, the vibrancy of communities, and the freedom of future generations. This seemed to resonate with participants, and I was particularly inspired by this more inclusive definition and how it will continue to guide and shape our collective work.

 

Of particular importance to the philanthropy sector was a discussion about the difference between general operating support and enterprise capital grants. This difference contrasts equity capital and revenue, with equity capital enhancing organizational capacity and revenue (earned or contributed) supporting day-to-day operations. In other words, general operating grants usually focus on the income statement to provide revenue for funding operations related to program delivery and services. On the other hand, enterprise capital strengthens the balance sheet and the overall net asset position by providing funds for investment wherever the organization needs it.

 

The transformation of intention takes collective systems change to find our next steps, commitments, and actions to invest in a world that is lifting people, planet, and place together. I am already looking forward to next year’s Summit and seeing where we are reaching the future economy we envision!

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