Some may think investing has always been only about making money. But until the rise of modern capital’s fetishistic focus upon shareholder primacy, many individual investors and cultures understood that money is fuel for family, community, legacy… life.
Outside the United States, there is a more easily understood integration of culture and capitalism. The importance of art, design, heritage and creativity is not in debate. When we talk about money and meaning, these are the activities, objects, experiences and places that give our lives and our children’s lives meaning.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. America has a roster of “arts sleepers” within the impact investing community just waiting to be activated!
Did you know?
- Clara Miller was a visual arts major in college.
- Fran Seegull worked as a fine art curator before business school.
- Adam Wolfensohn was a composer and filmmaker.
- Patricia Farrar-Rivas had a career as a dancer.
- Will Rosenzweig was a professional mime.
- Jed Emerson has been a rocker since forming his first band in 5th grade.
It is no coincidence–impact investing’s visionaries have come to our work with training and experience in the arts. Creatives are not constrained by what’s in front of them. They don’t think in black and white, but see the blended value they seek to create in the world. They are open to new ideas and comfortable with complexity. They straddle tradition and innovation. Most importantly, artists care about the human condition.
If your interest is piqued, here are three opportunities to explore how impact investing can benefit the creative economy and how the creative economy can push impact investing forward into its next chapter:
1. Listen to a Conversation at SOCAP19
At a time when museums are being challenged to reconsider how the source of their donors’ wealth aligns (or does not align…) with their stated mission and values, impact investing has never been more relevant to cultural institutions. SOCAP is exploring this question with a panel on Thursday, October 24 at 2:45pm at Gallery 308. Titled Saying No to Opioid Money Is Not Enough: Bringing $60 billion of Arts Organization Endowments Off the Sidelines for Impact Investing, this panel includes Maxwell Anderson, President, Souls Grown Deep Foundation; Laura Callanan, Founding Partner, Upstart Co-Lab; Thomas Campbell, Director and CEO, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Philippe Gaboriau, CEO, Fonds de dotation du Musée du Louvre; Ravi Rajan, President, Cal Arts; and is moderated by Justina Lai of Wetherby Asset Management.
2. Read Upstart Co-Lab’s Deep Dives
Upstart Co-Lab has just published three deep dive research papers on Ethical Fashion, Sustainable Food, and Social Impact Media which taken together offer a road map for values-aligned capital looking to invest in creativity. Find them here.
Each deep dive includes:
- an historical overview of seminal moments catalyzing change within these three discrete market segments
- a catalogue of relevant impact areas and metrics to assess performance
- a roster of innovative companies driving impact and investors actively focused in the market segment
- a summary of market dynamics
- an investment thesis for both social and financial return
3. Watch The Purpose of Capital: The Musical
Most fun of all, watch the new music video What If? starring Jackie Emerson (The Hunger Games) which brings singing, dancing, unlimited energy and a sense of humor to the fundamental questions raised in The Purpose of Capital: Elements of Impact, Financial Flows and Natural Being by Jed Emerson.
Let’s Advance Together
In the end, the integration of creativity with commerce and community is same as it ever was—a dynamic practice that can advance the best interests of society and the planet. Creative people solve problems. We need their help to ensure our tools of capital are deployed in alignment with our values and a vision for tackling the dynamic challenges before us.
*Title is a quote from the song “Once In A Lifetime” written by Brian Eno, Christopher Frantz, David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group