A Look at MIE’s 2022 National Conference Themes
For nearly 20 years, the philanthropy and impact investing communities have come together at Mission Investors Exchange’s National Conference. Our biennial gathering is highly anticipated as an opportunity to connect and collaborate, learn and be inspired, and build the impact investing movement. That’s why I’m thrilled that we will once again gather together this year from December 5-7, in Baltimore. After nearly two years of interacting virtually, I am so excited to sit down in person with old and new friends, as we welcome MIE members and other foundations and partners to our action-focused network.
As a conference led for and by foundations, choosing this year’s programming themes was a straightforward effort: We listened to our members and focused on what they are actively prioritizing in their work. For the next few months, we will be busy planning compelling conference sessions, workshops, and local site visits that explore the unique leadership role of philanthropy in impact investing across four key themes:
- All In for Equity
- Climate and Environmental Justice
- Community Resilience
- Future of Impact Investing
We will examine how these themes intersect with one another, highlighting innovative ideas and leaders in the field, including those from our host city of Baltimore. To give you a sense of what to expect at this year’s conference, I wanted to share how we’re approaching each of these important themes.
All In for Equity. First, this is a crucial moment to be having challenging discussions about equity within our sector. MIE strives to support our members in centering equity, through our programs, resource libraries, and more. There is much to overcome as we work to tackle systemic injustices and deeply entrenched inequities, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other factors. Philanthropy can—and must—play a vital role in forging a more equitable future. At the conference, we’ll highlight how foundations are using more of their resources and assets to advance equity, through their staffing, operations, investments, and partnerships.
Climate and Environmental Justice. In 2022, it’s unimaginable to ignore the urgency of climate and environmental justice. We’re all seeing the well-documented rise in temperatures and air pollution as well as the pervasiveness of droughts, wildfires, floods, and other disasters—and how this threatens our access to food, water, clean air, health, and shelter. The climate crisis is deeply intertwined with many other social problems we face today and into the future. It’s been heartening to see the different ways foundations are using their investment resources to address these challenges, from new ESG and net zero commitments to strategies confronting the disproportionate burden on marginalized communities.
Community Resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the vulnerabilities and injustices in our society, as seen in disparities in public health, housing and homelessness, education, and food security. At the same time, we have seen how communities have rallied together to design and act on new solutions, and to build greater resiliency for what lies ahead. During the conference, we will explore the ways foundations are using their investment capital to support communities and extend their impact, through place-based investing, catalytic capital, and beyond. We’ll look at a range of community-building and investing strategies that will strengthen our collective efforts to build more vibrant, equitable, and resilient communities.
Future of Impact Investing. We will close our conference by considering the future of impact investing, as we re-imagine new approaches to deploying capital for meaningful impact in our changing world. As new stakeholders have stepped up to join the movement, impact investing has become increasingly mainstream. But there’s a risk of shallow engagement and of co-option of the field. At the conference, we’ll explore the vital role of philanthropy in keeping “impact” at the heart of the impact investing movement. We’ll hear from leaders who are bridging the "traditional" and "impact" investing worlds, and redefining the impact that philanthropy—and all investors—can have with their investment capital.
These are complex themes, and we are eager to dig into them in December. But our conference is more than a moment in time; it’s part of a larger continuum of conversations that will ignite action and spark the continued evolution of our movement. With everything we do at MIE, we are guided by the principles of centering impact and of focusing on the opportunity—and responsibility—of foundations to use all the tools in their toolkits to advance impact. I look forward to bringing together the MIE community, rolling up our sleeves, and working on solutions to the pressing challenges of our time. See you in Baltimore!