09/16/2016 12:41 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

SOCAP16: Changing the World Through Impact Investing


Rob Daly via Getty Images

Globally-conscious investors, corporations, and innovators are convening in San Francisco this week to expand a community of change. SOCAP16 (Social Capital Markets) commences its annual conference today to continue a tradition of building "connections and conversations at the intersection of money and meaning."

I'll be there to join the "If we don't want gentrification we need to...!" panel to discuss the challenges of uprooting long-established communities and replacing them with shiny, new Starbucks, galleries and megaplexes. Other panels include "Impactful Matchmaking" (no, it's not speed dating, but how investment advisors can introduce impact investing to their clients), "The Importance of Home: How Can We Do Anything without an Affordable Place to Live?" and "Finance as an Instrument of Hope: Investing in Refugees."

The event began in 2008 to address investment strategies affecting social, environmental, and philanthropic issues. Since then, SOCAP has established itself as a global platform in the discussion and implementation of impact investing, a movement to place capital in businesses and corporations that spark positive societal and environmental progress. Through interactive panels and events, SOCAP conferences have cultivated a network of investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and leaders who seek economic inclusivity and global change.

This year's event will focus on themes including neighborhood economics, inclusive entrepreneurship, and clean energy for all. Speakers will discuss the benefits of meaningful human interaction in the exchange of capital, support of business ventures regardless of race, age, class or gender, and the opportunity for a 100% clean energy future.

Amy Cortese of Locavesting will moderate the "If we don't want gentrification we need to...!" panel. Other participants include Rodney Foxworth of Invested Impact, Konda Mason of Impact Hub Oakland, and Scott Sporte of Capital Impact Partners. I will share how my company, American Homeowner Preservation, crowdfunds the purchase of nonperforming mortgages at big discounts and then provides sustainable solutions to keep struggling families in their homes. Retaining homeowners can strengthen communities and make them more resilient to the ill effects of gentrification.

To continue the dialogue year round, SOCAP 365 hosts events in San Francisco, Berkeley, New York City, and Washington, D.C. These smaller exchanges allow investors and entrepreneurs to connect locally. SOCAP 365 is part of the organization's co-operator, Mission Hub. Owning and operating four "Impact Hub" locations, Mission Hub provides versatile venues and communities where organizations or individuals can host high impact events.

How we invest our money will impact the future of our planet and humankind. If we place capital in companies that aim to preserve our welfare, investment can become a tool for positive social change. SOCAP's community of sustainably minded individuals and organizations supports the impact investing movement and the success of innovative businesses. At SOCAP16, thousands of justice-seekers will strive to make money meaningful and "amplify ideas that inspire and the calls to action that ignite passion."