Leaders from around the world and from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors descended on New York City this week to attend the Clinton Global Initiative.
CGI was begun in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton. The topic for this year's three-day conference was "Designing for Impact. " And some names familiar to the financial advisor community presented.
Ron Cordes, co-chairman of Genworth Financial, moderated a session along with speakers Philippe Cousteau, co-founder of The GlobalEcho Foundation, and Jean Oelwang who heads Richard Branson's foundation, Virgin Unite (read more about her and Virgin Unite in this month's PW).
Cousteau keynoted the Financial Advisor/Private Wealth July impact investing conference in Denver. His foundation is backed by the AdvisorShares GIVE exchange-traded fund, and the CGI appearance makes that investment strategy and product seem all the more unique and timely.
What's really impactful about the GlobalEcho/GIVE effort is that for a relatively small investment investors can gain exposure to investments that have been traditionally reserved for the ultra-wealthy.Take its commitment to provide funding support to the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"The Panzi Hospital is world-renowned for its work on reproductive health and its assistance to survivors of sexual violence in a region where unrest and devastating hardship are factors of daily life," GlobalEcho explains in a statement, adding that it will contribute funds to provide solar panels for the entire hospital, bringing a reliable source of renewable energy to the hospital, which in turn will provide consistent hot water and warm meals for the patients and enhance the ability of the staff to perform life-saving surgeries.
Cousteau says, "The Panzi Hospital's critical work in the Congo represents the spirit of hope and determination that the Foundation seeks to support in our commitment to empowering and improving the lives of women and children around the world." He notes the GlobalEcho Foundation will collaborate with the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels, Suntech Power Holdings, to supply the solar panels and provide the support necessary to integrate the new energy system into Panzi Hospital's facilities. Check out www.panzifoundation.org.
That's just one example of the type of impact investing that got attention at the CGI conference. The world's wealthiest are there to make commitments, one of the cornerstones of CGI. Clinton urges action in the form of monetary commitments to causes from members and attendees. Each year more causes are taken up and more capital is committed.
So far 2,100 "Commitments to Action" have been made since 2005, improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.
Expect this year to be no different. News highlights can be followed at www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.