MIE 2024 Notes from the Field


The 2024 Mission Investor’s Exchange national conference brought together over 700 impact investors, asset owners, foundations, and partners at the nexus of impact investing. The conference was built around four key themes, reflecting discussions at the forefront of impact investing and the unique role played by foundations and their partners, with a focus on driving impact through collaboration and innovation.


The themes addressed how impact investors can invest in the climate while building stronger communities, using 100% of endowments for impact, enhancing partnerships to leverage public and private capital, and incorporating equity into investing. Each theme addresses critical aspects of the evolving roles of asset owners and investors, and the central role impact investing plays in providing solutions.


One of our conference highlights was a panel discussion featuring industry experts—including Sonen’s Head of Foundations and Endowments, Allison Parker—exploring the importance of community foundations, Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs), and other philanthropic asset pools in advancing place-based impact investing strategies. While praising community foundations for increasing their carve-outs for impact investing and facilitating DAFs in making such investments, Allison stressed the need to move beyond these steps. She urged community foundations to align their overall portfolios with their missions, stating, “Increasingly, Next Gen donors will find community foundations irrelevant if their endowments and investment portfolios are not fully aligned with their mission. Engaged and satisfied donors lead to increased giving, which means more resources for the people and places served by community foundations.”


Sonen Capital’s dinner event, themed around investing with a racial equity lens, provided a platform for thought-provoking conversations on what multi-layered support from the financial sector could look like. Simone Balch, Sonen’s Chief Growth Officer, emphasized the imperative of addressing inequalities in capital allocation stating that “In the world of private equity, only 1% of capital goes to women- and minority-run firms combined,” and citing data that highlights the benefits of diverse perspectives and decision-makers in driving investment performance. Industry leaders like former Cal Wellness President and CEO, Judy Belk and Jobs for the Future, climate investor and Managing Director, Taj Eldridge echoed the call for equitable investment practices and the importance of investment alignment of outcomes with the communities where investments are being made.


The dinner was held at Alta Adam’s restaurant in Los Angeles, led by chefs Keith Corbin and Daniel Patterson. Chef Keith’s distinct interpretation of soul food draws the connection between traditional West African food and California cuisine. This inspiring the cuisine, California Soul, uses local produce and healthier ingredients to put his own spin on the food he grew up cooking with his grandmother. The wines were by Adams Wine Shop, which focuses on wine produced by women and BIPOC from all over the world.


Throughout the conference, MIE explored ideas from leaders representing a range of sectors on how innovation and collaboration can tackle interconnected and systemic challenges in society and the environment. Complex issues require specific, targeted solutions that leverage new ideas and encourage collaboration. As Rebecca Foster of San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund said, “Our problems are intersectional, so our solutions have to be intersectional.” This year MIE was a reminder that we need innovative and tailored investment solutions to address the world’s most pressing challenges. It was inspiring to connect with so many thoughtful individuals and organizations in panels, meetings, and side conversations who are re-imagining how investment capital can create lasting change.

Modal Example