Linda Mack of Mack International moderated a panel at the Opal Group’s Impact Investing Forum held in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 1-3, 2019

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Linda Mack of Mack International was invited to moderate a panel entitled “Driving Impact Through Donor Advised Funds” during Opal Group’s Impact Investing Forum held in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 1-3, 2019

The “holy grail” is the investor who uses the same impact lens across their taxable and foundation portfolios...the question...for what portfolio is it the best fit?

Linda Mack of Mack International recently moderated a panel at the OPAL Group’s Impact Investing Forum held in West Palm Beach at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. The summit was attended by Family Office leaders, Private Wealth enterprises, Asset Allocators and Consultants interested in or experts on impact investing. Managing change, challenges, risks and opportunities while making a difference were the main subjects of the three-day meeting framing the conference.

Linda’s session was entitled, “Driving Impact Through Donor Advised Funds: Community Foundations as Catalysts for Impact Investing”. Panelists included Stephanie Gripne, Founder and Executive Director, Impact Finance Center; Shawn Castellanos, National Senior Vice President, Mission Advancement, The American Heart Association (AHA); and, Caren Croland Yanis, Principal, Croland Consulting. The panel focused on sharing their perspectives on the advantages, trade-offs and trends in donor advised funds, community foundations and private foundations. “The panel was spectacular. Not only did they have great knowledge and expertise about the topic…each were strong, strategic business people,” said Linda.    

In searching for a CIO for an impact-oriented family office, Mack International looks for someone with strong investment experience and a proven track record of success. “We find a number of people who are wonderfully passionate about impact investing but lack the investment expertise and track record to get the necessary returns,” said Linda. Part of the panel discussion focused on training younger generations who are committed to making a difference but need technical training to be successful investors. “It’s about impact and returns…they cannot be viewed as mutually exclusive. The “holy grail” is the investor who uses the same impact lens across their taxable and foundation portfolios – it simply becomes a question—for what portfolio is it the best fit?” The point was made that people can have the same expectations on impact investing across the board, it is just a question of the nature of the investment. “Sometimes the measure of success is simply to judge its viability before betting on the horse,” said Linda “The value system remains the same across the whole system regardless where it is “housed” or positioned.”

The panel explored different vehicles and ways to structure grants and investments to optimize impact through donor advised funds, community foundations and private foundations. There are pros and cons in each including governance, policy and transparency. Trends point to more people being increasingly and actively involved in the whole process. Linda explained. “Savvy investors will hold you accountable. They have performance expectations.” The panel commented that the level of sophistication in these areas is increasing significantly. In one example, an investment was made contingent upon the recipient making certain changes to improve their governance and policies. “The point was you can have an impact on both the recipient and the investment, thereby improving the whole ecosystem.” Other stories exemplified values-based planning and different ways to structure investments to maximize and leverage the value by using a combination of vehicles. In one example, the investment refinanced an 8% mortgage with a 1% loan to the community foundation, maximizing the investment and creating a “win-win” for all parties. “Communicating in depth with the recipient prior to making a contribution, grant or donation can help optimize the most effective way to structure the investment.”

The panel gave the audience some great ideas on how to bring a business approach to the whole process and how philanthropists and investors can effectively maximize the ‘impact of impact’.”

About Mack International
Mack International is the premier, boutique retained executive search and strategic management/human capital consulting firm serving national and international clients in the family office, family business enterprise and the wealth and investment management industries on national and international basis. Founded in 2002, the firm has achieved an exceptional track record of success as evidenced by its unmatched industry expertise, in-depth market knowledge and unparalleled track record of success. Founder and President, Linda C. Mack has established proprietary methodologies such as the Mack 360© and is credited for having coined the term “expert generalist” in the industry

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