On Thursday, April 23rd, Cynthia Muller from Arabella Advisors came to MIIS to speak on the impact investment sector from the lens of working with Foundations in investing their money in impact. Cynthia started off her presentation talking about the history of the impact investment sector and then launched into the role of Foundations in impacting investing. “In practice this sector (impact investing) has been around for the past 45 years.” But recently there has been a shift in how Foundations in particular have been starting to put more attention towards impact investing. Cynthia explained that a lot of people recently have started to co-opt the term ‘impact investor’ but without really understanding what it means – so with Foundations Arabella Advisors really focuses on explaining what impact investment really is and how Foundations can play a part.
“People are starting to really move into this space and figure things out – and that’s kind of the big question mark: how do you do this in an efficient way? How do you do this in a way where all of your consultants and advisors are on board? And I think that’s been the most challenging aspect of doing this work.” This obstacle of having financial advisors that are willing to try impact investing with a foundation’s money is not a minor one – according to Cynthia, a lot to foundations lean heavily on the advice that their financial advisors give them and, especially for smaller foundations, they can be very cautious and nervous when it comes to impact investing. But with more and more organizations like Arabella Advisors coming in to coach foundations on how to best use their money for impact, we should be seeing more players in the sector in the next few years.