Open Mic: Mobilizing Support For Ukraine (Part 1)
What is the role that impact investors can play in the short, medium and long term as the crisis in Ukraine rapidly grows? On March 18, MIE hosted an Open Mic on the current conflict in Ukraine. During this action-oriented conversation, we were joined by leaders from World Central Kitchen and Refugee Investment Network, who shared strategies and opportunities for impact investors to meet this urgent moment by supporting the social infrastructure — including housing, jobs, and childcare needed in Eastern Europe and countries impacted by the war. See below for highlights and a recording from the conversation and register for a follow up conversation on April 1 at 2-3:30PM ET.
- Chef José Andrés, Founder and Chief Feeding Officer, World Central Kitchen
- Erich Broksas, Chief Operating Officer, World Central Kitchen
- John Kluge, Founder and Managing Director, Refugee Investment Network
Open Mic Highlights
- Explore investment opportunities intentionally and creatively: In addition to critical grants-based work driving the emergency response efforts, impact investors can invest in publicly traded companies that have critical abilities to address short term needs (e.g., a company providing short term immediate housing to those being displaced until longer-term affordable housing is available).
- Use your voice as an investor: Investors can make investment conditional on additional support for displaced communities (e.g., hiring, providing products or services, or expanding the affordable housing pool). For refugees entering a country with no assets or credit history in their new country, impact investors have an opportunity to influence financial institutions in support of refugees, creating a case to respond in innovative ways.
- Know what you own: What are your current holdings and what impact do they have, both positive and negative? Divestment in assets or holdings that can potentially cause harm in Ukraine directly or indirectly is a very viable strategy to reducing harm, noted John Kluge of Refugee Investment Network.
- Embrace rapid adaptation: Foundations and other impact investors must be able to adapt in realtime to the rapidly changing events in Ukraine and countries housing those seeking refuge in order to have the greatest impact. One important way to do this is to listen to those organizations and groups that are closest to the ground or are being directly impacted.
- Support immediate needs while also thinking long term: Housing, food security, resettlement for refugees, healthcare, childcare, employment and entrepreneurship are only some of the areas that will require investment over the long term as well as the short term.