SOCAP15: Themes

In keeping with its eight-year history, SOCAP15 will feature content from across the growing landscape of social capital with a focus on innovative investing and entrepreneurship for impact. Past SOCAP attendees have made it clear that they come to network and collaborate. SOCAP15 will feature expanded opportunities for interaction through participatory sessions. We will devote more programming time for individuals to share inspirational stories and deep practitioner insights in addition to an engaging lineup of panels that stimulate dialogue among various stakeholders.

For the past two years, a significant number of SOCAP sessions have been proposed and selected through SOCAP Open. Submit your session ideas for SOCAP15 and participate in the public voting process to help us convene the content you care about.

Content Themes for SOCAP15:

Impact Investing

theme-impactinvest It’s been a banner year for impact investing and participation across sectors is accelerating the field into the mainstream. At SOCAP, founders, leaders and practitioners convene with others who are just finding their way in this evolving field for the most dynamic conversations in the impact ecosystem. SOCAP15 will dig into the current state of the field and look to the future, from capital innovations in new issue areas and geographies, to the next generation of metrics and measurement and catalytic support for high-impact entrepreneurs.


theme-meaning At a conference that declares money can be a source of positive social change and not just a measure of success, we know that meaning is the foundation for lasting impact. Actions driven by money, hype, or fear are short-lived and success achieved by these motivations is often unfulfilling. Meaning is found in community, faith, shared experience, relationships to people and places, communing with nature, self-reflection and self-expression, and knowing that we are making a difference over the long-term. Beyond inspiration, the Meaning track at SOCAP15 grounds the conversation and strengthens our resolve to create the world we want to live in.


theme-divestinvest University endowments and leading foundations have been responding to the call to divest from fossil fuels and invest in sustainable energy alternatives. Beyond divest/invest as a response to climate change, SOCAP will explore a total portfolio approach to aligning investment assets with personal or institutional objectives. Muni bonds that advance green infrastructure, public equity products that evaluate environmental, social, and governance factors, community banks as a higher impact use of cash, and other new ways of investing in local communities highlight the investment opportunities across asset classes for an impact portfolio aligned with mission and meaning.

Financial Inclusion

theme-financialinclusion The growth of social capital markets requires an inclusive and accessible economy, but 2.5 billion adults globally, and more than 100 million in the United States, do not have access to bank accounts. Learn more about technological advances using smart phones and big data, coupled with a culturally literate, anthropological approach to marginalized communities that enable entirely new, yet also profitable approaches to financial inclusion. By lowering the cost of being poor, these innovative solutions have the potential to make a significant positive impact on the lives of people who are outside the mainstream economy in the U.S. and around the world.

Neighborhood Economics

theme-neighborhood Let’s accelerate the flow of capital into neighborhoods and rural communities, and distribute that capital more equitably in cities. Local investing, creative placemaking, place-based philanthropy, and cross-sector collaboration all play a role in developing a vibrant local ecosystem. Focusing on the assets a community has within it and by combining funding tools in new ways, neighborhood economics means taking back the economy to invest and give in a way that creates community wealth for all.

21st Century Talent

theme-profdev The growing impact economy needs a strong pipeline of talent, from entry level to top executives. Graduates and mid-career changers are clamoring to join this field, but it requires individuals who are fluent in both business and impact; those who support making a difference and making money equally. How can graduate programs and startups better train multilingual leaders, and how can impact businesses develop and support fulfilling career paths for this sector? At SOCAP15 we will engage the community to uncover the gaps, share solutions, and kick-start the next generation of professional development for the impact economy.

Living in the Future

theme-livingfuture “Past performance is not an indicator of future results” is truer than ever in the face of accelerating globalization, climate change, technology, and demographic shifts. By understanding the trends – towards urbanization, sea level rise, decreased eldercare, and more – we can anticipate life in the future and invest to mitigate negative consequences and support resilient, adaptable systems.

Sustainable Supply Chain

theme-sustainable From Fortune 500 companies to seed-stage startups, businesses are making investments to improve the sustainability of their supply chain, resulting in tremendous positive impact and delivering long-term financial benefit. Sustainability measures implemented at multiple points in the design, production, distribution, sales and waste cycle from cradle to grave (or cradle to cradle!) can reduce costs and improve social and environmental outcomes. The scale and leverage of impact investments into sustainable supply chains make it one of the most exciting areas for further innovation.