Donors practicing venture philanthropy see their gifts as investments and draw on the analytical rigor of the for-profit world to assess the nonprofit organizations they support. It has become increasingly popular as businesses show more concern for social good, traditional funding sources have shrunk, and donors demand more impact from their giving. To explore the trends and what they mean for giving, SSIR‘s publisher Michael Voss speaks with Jim Bildner, CEO of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and Julia Reed, managing director of relationship management with Schwab Charitable. The full transcript of the episode can be read below.
[MICHAEL GORDON VOSS] Welcome to Giving with Impact, an original podcast series from Stanford Social Innovation Review, developed with the support of Schwab Charitable. I’m your host, Michael Gordon Voss, publisher of SSIR. In this series, we hope to create a collaborative space for leading voices from across the philanthropic ecosystem to engage in both aspirational and practical conversations around relevant topics at the heart of achieving more effective philanthropy.
Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen significant shifts in philanthropy’s approach to addressing some of society’s biggest problems and the growing popularity of market-based or market-inspired solutions to these challenges. At the same time, ideas like shared value, the notion of businesses favoring social good over a pure economic gain, or impact-investing have become more common, due in part to declining funding from traditional sources, including federal funding, and donors’ growing demand for more impact from their charitable dollars. Philanthropy and private equity used to be very distant worlds. Today, the idea of venture philanthropy has become more widespread. But how does venture philanthropy work and how does it relate to traditional forms of grant-making? And short of starting their own foundation, how can donors take a venture philanthropy approach?
To begin to explore this subject, we’re joined today by two speakers who possess a wealth of experience in the fields of philanthropy and investing.
Jim Bildner is CEO of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a global venture philanthropy firm supporting early stage, high-impact social enterprises. Jim is a nationally recognized lecturer, panelist, and speaker on subjects of non-profit organizations, social enterprise, capitalization, and the institutional role of philanthropy in solving complex societal issues. Jim is an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a senior research fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University.
Julia Reed is Managing Director, Relationship Management with Schwab Charitable. Julia serves the registered independent advisor and family office community on the West Coast, and has provided charitable planning, consultation and resources to wealth management professionals and their clients for more than a decade. Julia has extensive subject matter knowledge on all aspects of effective philanthropy, including complex assets, legacy planning, and social impact strategy. Julia has spent more than 20 years in the financial services industry working on two security exchanges and in private wealth management.
Jim, Julia, thank you both for joining me today as we explore the world of venture philanthropy. Let’s get started.