Vatican Impact Investing Conference 2014

2014 Conference Archive

For your convenience, we have provided materials and resources from our 2014 Conference titled: Investing for the Poor: How Impact Investing Can Serve the Common Good in Light of Evangelii Gaudium.


Pope Francis has called on the world to find ways to use money to serve people. IMPACT INVESTING—investments made with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside financial return—holds great promise as a tool to serve the poor. By unlocking significant amounts of private capital to complement public resources and charitable donations, impact investing presents the opportunity to utilize market-based solutions to foster social justice and to help solve global challenges such as sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, accessible healthcare, clean energy, and financial services for the poor.

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP), Catholic Relief Services, and the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame convened a two-day Impact Investing symposium at The Vatican on June 16-17, 2014. The "Investing for the Poor" conference was an opportunity to learn core concepts of impact investing, to discuss how it aligns with Church mission, and to discern how the Church might use or promote impact investing to serve the poor.

His Holiness Pope Francis delivered the following Welcome Message at the 2014 Conference.

Welcome message

Clementine Hall Monday, 16 June 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I offer you a warm welcome and I express my gratitude and appreciation for your Conference, which offers an important contribution to the search for timely and realistic strategies to ensure greater social equality. I thank Cardinal Turkson for his kind introduction. A sense of solidarity with the poor and with the marginalized has led you to reflect on impact investing as one emerging form of responsible investment. Representatives of the Roman Curia have joined you in these days of study aimed at assessing innovative forms of investment which can benefit local communities and the environment, as well as providing a reasonable return.

Impact investors are those who are conscious of the existence of serious unjust situations, instances of profound social inequality and unacceptable conditions of poverty affecting communities and entire peoples. These investors turn to financial institutes which will use their resources to promote the economic and social development of these groups through investment funds aimed at satisfying basic needs associated with agriculture, access to water, adequate housing and reasonable prices, as well as with primary health care and educational services. Investments of this sort are meant to have positive social repercussions on local communities, such as the creation of jobs, access to energy, training and increased agricultural productivity. The financial return for investors tends to be more moderate than in other types of investment.

The logic underlying these innovative forms of intervention is one which "acknowledges the ultimate connection between profit and solidarity, the virtuous circle existing between profit and gift … Christians are called to rediscover, experience and proclaim to all this precious and primordial unity between profit and solidarity. How much the contemporary world needs to rediscover this beautiful truth!" (Preface to the book of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Povera per i poveri. La missione della Chiesa ["Poor for the Poor." The Mission of the Church]). We are truly in need of this! It is important that ethics once again play its due part in the world of finance and that markets serve the interests of peoples and the common good of humanity. It is increasingly intolerable that financial markets are shaping the destiny of peoples rather than serving their needs, or that the few derive immense wealth from financial speculation while the many are deeply burdened by the consequences.

Advances in technology have increased the speed of financial transactions, but in the long run this is significant only to the extent that it better serves the common good. In this regard, speculation on food prices is a scandal which seriously compromises access to food on the part of the poorest members of our human family. It is urgent that governments throughout the world commit themselves to developing an international framework capable of promoting a market of high impact investments, and thus to combating an economy which excludes and discards. On this day when the Church celebrates the memorial of Saints Quiricus and Giulitta, a son and mother who, in the persecution under Diocletian, left all their possessions behind into order to accept martyrdom for the name of Christ, I join you in asking the Lord to help us never to forget the transience of earthly goods and to renew our commitment to serve the common good with love and with preference for the most poor and vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. With great affection I bless you and your work. Thank you.


Day 1

Opening Prayer, Remarks and Introduction: Cardinal Peter Turkson, Carolyn Woo, Roger Huang

Core Concepts and Framework for Analysis: Dr. Filipe Santos

Serving the Poor and Vulnerable – Investing in Action (Panel Discussion)

Future Potential: Sir Ronald Cohen

Impact Investing and Catholic Social Teaching: Fr. Seamus Finn

Public and Private Partnerships: Building the Ecosystem (Panel Discussion)

Plenary Discussion: Relevance, Challenges, and Open Questions

Day 2

Morning Prayer and Reflections on First Day: Fr. Michael Czerny and Dr. Carolyn Woo

Impact Investing in the Light of Evangelii Gaudium: Sr. Helen J. Alford

Sectoral Needs and Opportunities (Panel Discussion)

Blending Philanthropy and Impact Investments in a Faith- Inspired Model: Dr. Mirza Jahani

For-Profit and Non-Profit Collaboration: Matt Bannick and Sal Giambanco

Vatican Bank Perspectives: Ernest von Freyberg

Emergence of Investing for Good: Terry Mollner

Outlook of Catholic Institutional Investors (Panel Discussion)

Outlook of Catholic Investment Funds: Andreas Widmer

Moving Forward: Plenary Discussion

Closing Remarks: His Eminence, Peter K. A. Cardinal Turkson


Click on the link next to the icon to expand and contract the details of that day's schedule or download the full agenda.

June 16 – Day 1: Focus on Education and Awareness

7:30 – 8:45 Breakfast
8:45 - 8:50 Morning Prayer
8:50 - 9:10 Welcome and Opening Remarks
His Eminence Peter K. A. Cardinal Turkson
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
9:10 – 9:25 Introduction
Dr. Carolyn Woo
President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services

Dean Roger Huang
Martin J. Gillen Dean for the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame
9:25 – 10:10 Core Concepts and Framework for Analysis
Dr. Filipe Santos
Academic Director, INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Initiative
10:10 – 10:25 Bus Boarding for Transfer to St. Peter’s Basilica
10:55 – 10:45 Transfer to St. Peter’s Basilica
10:45 – 11:15 Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica
11:15 – 11:45 Transition to audience
11:45 – 12:15 Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis
12:30 – 12:50 Return to Hotel il Cantico
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
2:00 – 3:00 Serving the Poor and Vulnerable – Investing in Action (Panel Discussion)
Dr. Patricia Dinneen (Moderator)
Chair, Impact Investing Council, Emerging Markets Private Equity Association

Healthcare and Education in Brazil
Marcus Regueira
Managing Director, FIR Capital

Smallholder Businesses in Nicaragua
John Kohler
Director, Impact Capital, Santa Clara University

Microinsurance in Southeast Asia
Michael Fernandes
Partner, LeapFrog Investments
3:00 – 3:45 Future Potential
Sir Ronald Cohen
Chair of the G8 Social Impact Investing Task Force
3:45 – 4:05 Coffee Break
4:05 – 4:45 Impact Investing and Catholic Social Teaching
Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI
Vice Chair of the Board, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
4:45 – 5:30 Public and Private Partnerships: Building the Ecosystem (Panel Discussion)
Margie Sullivan (Moderator)
Chief Operations Officer and Chief of Staff, U.S. Agency for International Development

Dr. Rajiv Shah
Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

John Rogers
Executive Vice President, Chief of Staff, and Secretary to the Board, Goldman Sachs

Tom Steyer
Founder, NextGen Climate
5:30 – 6:15 Plenary Discussion: Relevance, Challenges, and Open Questions
6:30 – 7:30 Reception
7:30 – 9:00 Dinner

June 17 – Day 2: Focus on How Impact Investing Works and Potential Next Steps

7:30 – 8:45 Breakfast
8:55 - 9:00 Morning Prayer
Fr. Michael Czerny S.J.
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
9:00 - 9:20 Reflections on First Day
Dr. Carolyn Woo
President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services
9:20 – 10:00 Impact Investing in the Light of Evangelii Gaudium
Sr. Helen J. Alford, O.P.
Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum)
10:00 – 10:20 Coffee Break
10:20 – 11:20 Sectoral Needs and Opportunities (Panel Discussion)
Sean Callahan (Moderator)
Chief Operating Officer, Catholic Relief Services

Agriculture Livelihoods in Latin America
Shaun Ferris
Director of Agriculture Programming, Catholic Relief Services

Healthcare in Africa
Tom McPartland
CEO, ELMA Philanthropies Services

Water in India
Paul Polak
Founder and CEO of Windhorse International
11:20 – 12:00 Blending Philanthropy and Impact Investments in a Faith-Based Model
Dr. Mirza Jahani
CEO, Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A.
12:00 – 12:30 For-Profit and Non-Profit Collaboration
Terry Mollner
Board Member, Calvert Family of Socially Responsible Investment Funds
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:35 – 2:00 Emergence of Investing for Good
Terry Mollner
Board Member, Calvert Family of Socially Responsible Investment Funds
2:00 – 2:30 Vatican Bank Perspectives
Ernest von Freyberg
President, Institute for Works of Religion, The Holy See
2:30 – 3:10 Outlook of Catholic Institutional Investors (Panel Discussion)
Mark Palmer (Moderator) Chief Financial Officer, Catholic Relief Services

Steve Schott
CapTrust Advisors

Jimmy Ryan
Merrill Lynch/Bank of America
3:15 – 3:30 Coffee Break
3:30 – 4:00 Outlook of Catholic Investment Funds
Andreas Widmer Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at The Catholic University of America and President of The Carpenter's Fund
4:00 –5:10 Small Group Discussions: Models and Partners for Future Action
5:10 – 5:40 Moving Forward: Plenary Discussion
5:40 – 6:00 Closing Remarks
Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
7:00 – 8:00 Reception
8:00 – 9:30 Dinner

June 18 – Day 3: Optional Day

Optional Activities:

10:00 – 12:00 Tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel (RSVP required)
1:00 Informal Side Meetings (Individually arranged)


News & Resources

Statement from Carolyn Woo on the release of Impact Investing: The Invisible Heart of Markets by the Social Impact Investment Taskforce of the G8 on the September 15, 2014

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) commends Sir Ronald Cohen and the Social Impact Investment Taskforce of the G8 on the September 15, 2014 release of their report Impact Investing: The Invisible Heart of Markets. The report makes a significant contribution to the evolving field of Impact Investment and demonstrates how the Taskforce has effectively forged a new map for collaboration among government leaders, investors, and those working for solutions that will serve the world’s most marginalized, poor, and vulnerable members of society. This report and the dialogue leading up to its release articulates a very clear and constructive way forward, and facilitates the adoption of market-based financial tools that can help lift millions of aspiring workers out of poverty and contribute to economic development of local communities around the world.

Catholic Relief Services sees the tremendous potential for Impact Investment to increase the impact, scale, and sustainability of work that we, other Catholic agencies, and our partners are doing in both urban and remote locations around the globe. As Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said, "when businesses and market economies function properly and focus on serving the common good, they contribute greatly to the material and even the spiritual well-being of society.”

We look forward to working in collaboration with members of the G8 Taskforce, governments, foundations, universities, and investors to identify, refine, and implement Impact Investing models around the world that improve the financial and social wellbeing of people who are poor and marginalized.

Please click here to download Impact Investing: The Invisible Heart of Markets.

Please click here for Cardinal Peter Turkson’s statement on the release of Social Impact Investment Taskforce report.


Briefing Note — Summer 2014

Dr. Patricia Dinneen, Chair, Impact Investing Council, Emerging Markets Private Equity Association and Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services

Download the "Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World", in addition to other resources and information in relation to the "Investing for the Poor" conference.

Additional Resources:

  1. "Impact Investing 101": Resources for Newcomers
  2. The Power of Impact Investing by Judith Rodin, May 6, 2014 – excellent overview of core impact investing concepts
  3. Unpacking the Impact in Impact Investing by Paul Brest and Kelly Born, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall 2013
  4. Impact Investments, An Emerging Asset Class by J.P. Morgan Global Research Team, 29 November 2010 - very comprehensive and lengthy but Executive Summary is extremely valuable tutorial
  5. A Portfolio Approach to Impact Investing, A Practical Guide to Building, Analyzing and Managing a Portfolio of Impact Investments, by J.P. Morgan Global Social Finance Research Team, 1 October 2012 - lots of useful case studies
  6. A Primer on Impact Investing by Credit Suisse Global Research Private Banking Team in Zurich, 1 January 2013 - useful background
  7. Insight into the Impact Investing Market, An in-depth analysis of investor perspectives on over 2200 transactions by J.P. Morgan Social Finance Research Team, 14 December 2011 - fascinating to sample the wide range of transactions
  8. Glossary of Terms for Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing by Filipe Santos and Christine Driscoll Goulay at INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship - extremely useful guide to the universe of related terms
  9. Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C.K. Prahalad, 2004
  10. The Next 4 Billion, World Resources Institute and IFC, 2007
  11. Poor Economics, A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, 2011
  12. Impact Investing, Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference, by Antony Bugg-Levine and Jed Emerson, 2012
  13. The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for the Three Billion New Customers, Paul Polak and Mal Warwick. BK Publishers. 2013
  14. The Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA) website.

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