Monday, February 12, 2007 • Noon to 2:00 p.m.
Hudson Institute • Betsy and Walter Stern Conference Center • 1015 15th Street, NW • Suite 600
Several weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times published a two-part series on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, suggesting that the effects of some of its corporate investments are at direct odds with its grantmaking. This raises a question that has long roiled the philanthropy world: should foundations practice "social investing," by screening their investments to insure they’re aligned with their missions? No, argued American Enterprise Institute Adjunct Fellow JON ENTINE in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial: "The dark secret of 'social investing' is that it is neither art nor science: It's image and impulse. It reflects perceptions, not performance."
On the contrary, blogger and foundation adviser LUCY BERNHOLZ insists: "What Entine calls image, impulse and perceptions, I call values. If you are going to invest in public companies - which it's safe to say Foundations are going to do - thinking through how they align with your values, where they compromise, where you compromise for portfolio balance, etc. - is appropriate." ALLISON FINE, Demos Senior Fellow and author of Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, agrees with Bernholz: "Given the Foundation’s resources and ability to hire anyone from anywhere with the necessary expertise to review their investments, it is mind boggling to believe that finding socially conscious companies to invest in - to at least avoid companies that are specifically and actively counteracting their grantmaking efforts, would be too difficult or distracting for them." (For more, click here to visit Allison Fine's blog, A. Fine Blog.)
The issue of the Gates Foundation's view of social investing is thus well-joined, and on Monday, February 12, Hudson Institute's Bradley Center will pursue it further in a panel discussion with the above-named authors and scholars: American Enterprise Institute Adjunct Fellow JON ENTINE, LUCY BERNHOLZ of Philanthropy 2173, and Demos Senior Fellow ALLISON FINE. The Bradley Center's WILLIAM SCHAMBRA will moderate the discussion. Lunch will be served. Please join us!
It is exciting to see the convergence of online discussion and face to face convenings. Congrats to Lucy and Allison on their recognition as thought leaders in this important discussion. As a suggestion to Bill Schambra, you might check out Tactical Philanthropy for a view of social investing that is practical, rather than political, from Sean Stannard-Stockton, a professional money manager.