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Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship hosts insider’s roundtable on evolution of social innovation

10/30/2014

Panelists explore importance of partnerships in the emerging field of impact investing, identify best practices for achieving social impact

NEW YORK, October 29, 2014 —The Helene & Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University hosted a panel discussion on social innovation and impact investing. Titled “True Partnerships: Best Practices in Collaborations for Social Impact,” the event featured executives from Impact America, an impact investment fund and the Center’s current Social Enterprise in Residence.

Speakers included Kesha Cash, Partner and Director of Investments, Impact America; Clarissa Middleton, Associate, Impact America; Rebecca Tekula, PhD, Executive Director, Helene and Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Assistant Professor of Public Administration, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace University; and Archana Shah, Associate Director, Helene and Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

“Education programs that encourage thoughtful exploration of social impact are at the core of our mission at the Wilson Center,” said Rebecca Tekula, PhD, the Center’s Executive Director.  “We are proud of our work with Impact America and enjoyed this enlightening discussion with the social enterprise, education, and student communities.”

“Our motivation for hosting this particular event was to raise awareness amongst the audience, many of whom are students, about the changing dynamic between non-profits and funders. The evening’s discussion gave us insights into how good and effective partnerships in the social impact arena are created and maintained today.” said Archana Shah, Associate Director of the Center.

“Impact America is enthusiastic about our partnership with the Wilson Center and this opportunity to highlight the growing area of impact investments and social finance,” said Kesha Cash, Partner and Director of Investments, Impact America.

Impact Investing is a revolutionary new, increasingly popular investment strategy for fostering social innovation and environmental change on a scale and at a rate not possible in the past. Traditionally, social problems have been addressed by non-profit organizations funded though “charitable giving”. Impact investing offers the potential to marshal an exponentially larger pool of capital that is invested in innovative solutions to persistent problems in our society. The Wilson Center panel provided an inside perspective of this emerging investment platform and featured executives from Impact America, one of the newest, most promising players in the industry.

Panelists discussed the importance of key partnerships in developing new ventures and programs, and highlighted how innovative organizational leaders today are approaching collaborations across sectors for high impact outcomes.

Pace’s Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship provides scholarly research, academic programs, advisory services, and educational forums to encourage excellence and enhance the risk-taking spirit of nonprofits and social enterprises. This is the second year that the Center has spearheaded this program.

About Impact America

Impact America is an early-stage GIIRS rated equity firm that invests $250K - $2M in high growth companies generating real financial returns while improving the well-being of underserved communities and creating quality jobs in America. Impact America is committed to Maximizing Opportunity through its innovative collaborative ecosystem approach to supporting best-in-class, diverse entrepreneurs directly improving the quality of life in underserved communities through scaling businesses focused on Health & Wellbeing, Education, Essential Services and, Financial Security.

About the Helene and Grant Wilson Center

Pace University’s Helene & Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship was created in 2005 to serve the nonprofit and social enterprise community and Pace University. Devoted to honing the risk-taking spirit and managerial skills of nonprofit organizations and social ventures, the Center was launched with a pledge from Helene and Grant Wilson, Boston-area entrepreneurs and philanthropists whose philanthropic endeavors convinced them that entrepreneurial management can help social ventures increase their impact. Visit www.pace.edu/wilsoncenter

Contact:

Bill Caldwell, Pace University; wcaldwell@pace.edu, (212) 346-1597

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