By Henry Berman, ASF
I recently sat down with Melissa Bradley, CEO of Tides, to hear her perspective on hybrid models of philanthropy and the future of social impact investing. At Tides, Melissa is leading the way to help others understand, in her words, “all of the new ways to do good,” including program-related investments, equity investments, and more.
During our conversation, I asked Melissa about venture capitalism and the risks of investing in social changes that may require long gestation periods. Where can small foundations come in? What about the individual philanthropist who is seeking to make a social impact but isn’t a “big capital” kind of investor?
On this matter, Melissa said:
“I think for philanthropists who are interested in impact investing, I think it’s important to understand that, on this long continuum, philanthropy still is just the beginning of any kind of major capital infusion. So we should not conclude or assume that philanthropists are going to be the next wave of venture capitalists. But I do think it’s important to recognize that there are indeed those small pots of money, the risk capital, that can really provide scale and allow others to come in after us. So it really becomes: How can I be catalytic through a grant or an investment that will allow others to have confidence and faith to come in and really take that to the next level?”
Listen to the complete interview in our latest free podcast, The Future of Investing. And let us hear what you think.
Henry Berman became ASF’s CEO in 2011, previously serving as acting CEO, board member, and committee member. Through his experience as a foundation co-trustee and ASF member since 2003, he brings a firsthand understanding of the needs of ASF members to his role. Berman’s early career included positions as an independent communications consultant and director, writer, and producer of film, video, and multimedia programs for education, motivation, and fundraising.