Motion: This house believes you can maximize social returns by maximizing financial returns. Two voices for, two voices against.
The Economist's Matthew Bishop leads the debate.
As President and CEO of the Calvert Social Investment Foundation (Calvert Foundation), Shari has distinguished herself as a leader in the emerging Community Investment industry, where she presently managers over $200 million in community investment assets raised from over 2000 private investors. Shari brings more than 20 years experience, spanning micro-credit and innovative approaches to finance.
Prior to joining the Calvert Foundation, she worked for the International Finance Corporation and held private sector positions at Citibank and Salomon Brothers. She was one of the pioneers in the micro-credit field, working in more than a dozen countries around the globe.
Shari currently serves on the Board of the Neighborhood Funders Group and Community Wealth Ventures and remains active in the Social Investment Forum. She is the author of numerous articles related to international micro-finance and community investment. She holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School and an MA in Latin American Studies from UCLA.
Matthew Bishop is the U.S. business editor and New York bureau chief of The Economist. His new book, The Road from Ruin: How to Renew Capitalism and Put America Back on Top, with Michael Green, was published by Crown in February 2010. Philanthrocapitalism, his previous book (also with Mr. Green) was on the global revolution under way in philanthropy. Mr. Bishop is also the author of Essential Economics, The Economist's official layperson's guide to economics.
Elizabeth is actively involved in supporting rapid growth and commercialization in the Microfinance industry, which provides small loans to the world's poor allowing them to start businesses and build their own way out of poverty. She is the Chairman of the Board of Unitus, a leading Microfinance accelerator. She is also a co-founder and Board member of Unitus' for-profit sister company, Unitus Investment Group, and the founder and CEO of the Dignity Fund, a debt fund for Microfinance.
Prior to becoming Chair of Unitus, Elizabeth served as the President and CEO of CML Global Capital, a diversified international investment firm. Prior to joining CML, Elizabeth was one of the earliest employees of Yahoo!, where she helped formulate Yahoo!'s initial shopping, online Finance and commerce strategy. She is an active member of the Young President's Organization (YPO) serving as the Chair of the Board of the Pacific Region, and as a founder of the YPO initiative, Social Enterprise Networks.
Steve is the founder and managing director of Self-Help's California Office. Self-Help is one of the nation's leading Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) committed to creating and protecting ownership and economic opportunity for people of color, women, rural residents, and low-wealth families and communities.
After working for Self-Help shortly after its founding (1984-85) and serving on its board for most of the next 20 years, Steve rejoined Self-Help in 2006 to launch its Oakland office which, among other things, is now leading an effort to develop and launch an innovative credit union micro-branch model designed specifically to serve low income communities.
Steve spent much of his career in the private/financial sector, including 15 years with McCown De Leeuw & Co., a middle market leveraged buyout firm based in Menlo Park, CA, His experience prior to that includes consulting with Bain & Company and investment banking with Morgan Stanley. Steve earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in economics and mathematics from Yale University.
Alvaro Rodriguez of Ignia Partners LLC debates that for a social investment to be successful it "must have the promise of a profit return eventually." Rodriguez says "profit is a means to an end," and "not the result of the equation."
Elizabeth Funk of Unitus gives the example of a microfinance program that is using profit to help bring reconciliation in Rwanda. "By working together with the carrot of economic stability, the carrot of feeding their children...that profit is the driver."