Mission Forward! MIE's 2018 National Conference

Produced every other year, the Mission Investors Exchange conference is one of the most anticipated events for impact investors in philanthropy, offering an action-focused, collaborative, and personal space to renew and build partnerships, experience on-the-ground impact investments, share investment opportunities, meet leading voices in the field, and shape the future of the impact investing movement. The 2018 conference focused on bold innovations in the field and the unique leadership role of philanthropy in the impact investing marketplace. Issues of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion will be critical topics woven throughout the conference. The conference covered the topics below. 

Going Big

What does it look like to grow foundation impact investing programs in ambitious, still-unimagined, and courageous ways, no matter what your resources are? Sessions explored how foundations are pushing the boundaries of scale, including investing from the endowment and 100% for mission.

Driving Innovation

How are foundations demonstrating leadership in this space, putting catalytic ideas into practice? Sessions featured new investment products, platforms, and tools, and developing philanthropy’s vision for the future of our global financial markets.

Building Partnerships

How can we rapidly mobilize, collaborate, and partner—both within and beyond philanthropy—based on a common vision and an inclusive, community-led approach? We highlighted unique and effective partnership models, such as place-based collaborative investing, sector-focused impact investment funds, Pay for Success initiatives, and other cross-sector opportunities to coordinate capital to make exponential impact.

Championing Equity & Impact

How do we relentlessly raise the bar for equity and impact, and what stands in our way? And how can philanthropy play an intentional leadership role in ensuring that equity and impact are at the heart of the impact investing movement? Sessions examined the ways in which philanthropy sets high standards for the field and keeps the ‘impact’ in impact investing.   




  • Julia Stasch, President, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation


Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible! If you are interested in sponsoring this pre-eminent event for foundations and their partners, please contact Monique Aiken at [email protected].






Danville Regional Foundation
PATH Foundation
Richmond Memorial Health Foundation
Robins Foundation


Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors


Arabella Advisors
Cambridge Associates
Gary Community Investments
Institute for Sustainable Investing at Morgan Stanley
RBC Global Asset Management (U.S.) Inc.


Brown Advisory
Community Capital Management
Inter-American Development Bank
U.S. Trust - Bank of America Private Wealth Management


Adler & Colvin
Bader Philanthropies
The Patricia Kind Family Foundation
LOCUS Impact Investing
U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management
Walden Boston Trust


  • Cliff Barber, Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Bruce Boyd, Arabella Advisors
  • Allison Clark, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Linda Darragh, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University
  • Christina Hachikian, Booth Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago
  • Calvin Holmes, Chicago Community Loan Fund
  • Grace Hou, Woods Fund Chicago
  • Rudolfo Medina, Second Federal/Self Help Credit Union
  • Joel Moore, Merrill Lynch 
  • Irene Pritzker, IDP Foundation
  • Matt Reilein, O'Brien Staley Partners
  • Kurt Summers, City of Chicago
  • Will Towns, Benefit Chicago
  • Tom Trinley, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
  • Kristin Carlson Vogen, Chicago Community Trust
  • Eric Weinheimer, Forefront
  • Jessica Droste Yagan, Impact Engine/Yagan Family Foundation



  • Rukaiyah Adams, Meyer Memorial Trust
  • Mark Constantine, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation
  • Kimberlee R. Cornett, The Kresge Foundation
  • Christine Looney, Ford Foundation
  • Cynthia Muller, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Rehana Nathoo, Spectrum Impact
  • Kevin Peterson, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
  • Susan Phinney Silver, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Joohee Rand, Santa Fe Community Foundation
  • Debra Schwartz, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Shuaib A. Siddiqui, Surdna Foundation
  • Richard Woo, The Russell Family Foundation

Who Could Attend?

Foundations of all sizes are encouraged to participate. True to our conference’s roots as a peer-driven, collaborative experience led by and for foundations, we keep conferences small, with content designed to advance the impact investing practices of our core foundation members.
Our impact investing ecosystem is made up of a diverse set of organizations, including investees, asset managers, investment advisors, intermediaries, and other affiliate organizations who are critical to effectively activating philanthropic capital. As such, we made available up to 3 tickets for each of our affiliate member organizations. There were also a limited number of tickets available for foundations who were not members of Mission Investors Exchange at the time of the conference. If you are interested in attending MIE conferences but are not an MIE member or a foundation, please contact Nhadine Leung.

What Was the Refund Policy?

Individuals who needed to cancel were encouraged to transfer their registration to another eligible MIE member. Please email substitution requests to [email protected] until 4/20/2018. All substitutions after this date were processed on-site. The deadline for cancellation refunds was 4/20/2018. All cancellations were subject to a $150.00 fee. After 4/20/2018, no refunds were issued. Cancellations requests MUST be submitted in writing.

What is Mission Investors Exchange?

Mission Investors Exchange is the leading impact investing network for foundations. With over 200 members, we provide resources, inspiration, and connections to help our members increase the scale and impact of their impact investing practice. Members come to Mission Investors Exchange and each other for best practices, new investment opportunities, deal partnerships, and innovations in impact investing around the world. Whether through our National Conference or more intimate convenings and communications, we are here to help our members advance their practice. Other programs and services include Mission Investing Institutes, topical webinars, case studies, deal information, newsletters, and an online Member Portal for members. Learn more about how to join at missioninvestors.org.

Schedule, At a Glance

Learn more about the conference here.

SUNDAY, MAY 13TH, 2018
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm Registration Opens
Monday, May 14th, 2018
7:30 am - 7:00 pm Registration Continues
10:00 am - 12:45 pm and 10:00 am - 3:00pm

Beyond the Walls Short Sessions (Offsite)
- Using Creative Finance to Strengthen Organizational Capacity
- Social Innovation through Technology Solutions

Beyond the Walls Long Sessions (Offsite)
- Revitalization Strategies That Work
- Combining Strategies for Healthier Communities
- Securing Access to Fair Finance
- Journeys in Conservation and Climate Investing (Including behind the scenes tour of The Field Museum)

10:30 am - 2:30 pm Trustees Forum (Pre-Registration Required)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Introduction to Impact Investing
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Structured Networking Roundtables
- Finance and Investments Professionals
- Legal Counsel
- Community Foundations
2:45 pm - 3:15 pm Orientation for First Time Attendees
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm Kickoff Plenary: Impact Investing—A Philanthropic Imperative?
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Welcome Reception
7:00 pm Experience Chicago: Dining with Colleagues
Tuesday, May 15th, 2018
7:00 am - 6:00 pm Networking Center
7:00 am - 6:00 pm Registration Continues
7:00 am - 6:00 pm Investment Gallery Opens for Viewing
7:30 am - 8:45 am Networking Breakfast
9:00 am - 10:30 am Concurrent Sessions 
- Climate Imperatives: Unlocking Capital for Sustainable Land Use
- Impact Measurement and Management: Today's Tools and Trends
- Investing in Community Health—Alongside Communities
- Investment Opportunity Forum: Food Ecosystems
- Where do you Fit?: Understanding Unconscious Bias
10:30 am - 10:45 am Break
10:45 am - 12:00 pm Concurrent Sessions 
- Adventures in Venture: Lessons from the Field
- Impact Investing in Emerging Economies
- Pay for Success to Scale Impact
- Public Markets: Approaches for Impact
- Rural investing: Understanding 'Impact' and Developing Tailored Strategies
12:15 pm - 2:15 pm Lunch Plenary: The Power of Catalytic Capital—Foundation Leadership in Action
2:15 pm - 2:30 pm Break
2:30 pm 3:30 pm Concurrent Sessions 
- Innovative Partnerships to Promote Equity and Impact in Communities
- Innovative Uses of Guarantees to Catalyze Investments
- Strategies for Identifying Advisors and Managers (Foundation Investors Only)
- The Future of Work: Investing in Tomorrow's Job Market
- U.S. Policy: Stepping Up and Stepping Out
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm  Break
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Mini Plenaries 
- Celebrating 50 Years of PRIs and What Comes Next
- Private Capital for Public Good?
- Tearing Down Walls 2.0: Thorny Topics for Foundations in Impact Investing
5:30 pm - 6:00 pm Refresh and Recharge
6:00 pm 8:00 pm Chicago Skyline Reception Presented by Northern Trust
Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
7:00 am – 2:00 pm Networking Center
7:00 am - 2:00 pm Registration Continues
7:00 am - 2:00 pm Investment Gallery Open for Viewing
7:45 am - 8:45 am Networking Breakfast
9:00 am - 11:30 am Deep Dive Concurrent Sessions 
- How to Make Lemonade: Pivots and Lessons Learned
- Investment Opportunity Forum: Gender Lens Investing
- Learning Through Journeys in Mission Related Investing
- Place-Based Impact Investing: Collaborating for Greater Impact
9:00 am - 10:00 am Concurrent Sessions 
- Investing in the Creative Economy
- Investing in Education: Innovative Models and Collaborations
10:15 am - 11:15 am Concurrent Sessions 
- Advanced Methods in Impact Measurement
- Leveraging Shareholder Voice
11:30 am - 11:45 am Break
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Capstone Lunch Plenary: Mission Forward! Championing Equity and Impact in Practice and in Place
2:30 pm - 5:00 pm Post Conference Gatherings
- Community Foundation Gathering
- Women as Impact investors Gathering

Produced every other year, the Mission Investors Exchange National Conference is one of the most anticipated events for impact investors in philanthropy, offering an action-focused, collaborative, and personal space to renew and build partnerships, experience on-the-ground impact investments, share investment opportunities, meet leading voices in the field, and shape the future of the impact investing movement. The 2018 Conference focused on bold innovations in the field and the unique leadership role of philanthropy in the impact investing marketplace. Issues of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion were critical topics woven throughout the Conference. 

May 2018 Conference Welcome Letter

In the last year, our social, environmental, and political landscapes have changed in dramatic ways, resulting in new calls for the philanthropic community to reduce inequality and injustice in the world. Foundations are increasingly heeding these calls by using impact investments to align more of their assets to mission, including from their endowments. Now is the time for foundations to be even bolder, take greater risks, and build more innovative partnerships that can amplify impact and help create more inclusive and equitable communities.
These are the key themes driving Mission Forward! Over the next three days, we will focus on the unique leadership role foundations must play in the broader impact investing marketplace. We will hear from all of you about your ambitious strategies to drive greater equity and impact, from place–based collaborative investing to going 100% for mission. And, together, we will deepen our efforts to keep the ‘impact’ in impact investing as the field continues to grow.
Unlike many other events, the MIE National Conference is a peer–led effort, designed by and for our members and attendees. We hope you leave Chicago inspired to reimagine what is possible, better connected to your MIE partners, and ready to take bolder steps with your impact investing work. Thank you for being a part of this growing community. And a special thanks to our local host committee in Chicago, our national sounding board, and the Conference sponsors who have worked with us every step of the way.
Warm regards,
Matt Onek, President & CEO, Mission Investors Exchange
Julia Stasch, President, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Conference Co-Chair
Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation and Conference Co-Chair

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