We hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion on social impact investing on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at the Boston Harbor Hotel. The panelists discussed how the social investing space has evolved from “responsible” to “impactful”, and how investors and asset managers are driving change to broaden and enrich this relatively new opportunity set. Read article


Our distinguished panel of speakers:

Elyse Cherry
CEO Boston Community Venture Fund

Elyse D. Cherry is CEO of Boston Community Capital (BCC) and President of Boston Community Venture Fund, a BCC affiliate which invests in businesses that have the potential to achieve social and financial returns. Cherry helped found BCC in 1984, and has been integrally involved in its growth from a start-up organization to what is, today, a national model for community investment. Under her leadership, BCC has invested more than $650 million in underserved communities, financing affordable housing, jobs and opportunities for low-income people. BCC’s innovative foreclosure relief work was recently highlighted by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as a model for how “local communities are meeting the challenges of tough times in troubled communities.” Elyse is a leader in the community development finance industry and has served as Vice Chair of the Opportunity Finance Network. Elyse is the past Chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassEquality. She has served on the boards of the Community Development Venture Capital Association (CDVCA) and Wall Street Without Walls. Elyse is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Northeastern University School of Law. She started her career as a VISTA Volunteer at the East Tennessee Community Design Center.

Tim Ferguson
CEO Next Street

Tim’s primary focus is on business strategy and management, investment strategy, and investor relations for Next Street. Tim’s career in investment banking has spanned almost three decades, ranging from hands-on management to top-level strategic planning and decision-making. In the process, he has built relationships with a broad base of individuals and businesses nationally and in the Boston area, and has acquired an in-depth knowledge of inner city economics. Most recently, Tim was Senior Managing Director of Putnam Investments. He joined Putnam in 1996, assuming responsibility for $8 billion of international equity. On his watch, the business grew to $70 billion, allowing Putnam to position itself as a major player in the international equity asset class. Tim started his career in the graduate trainee program of Hambros, the English merchant bank. Tim completed his first full Ironman in 2005. He is on the board or the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a trustee of the Institute of Contemporary Art, a director of the Boston Center for Community and Justice, and a director of the Boston Children’s Chorus. He recently joined the founding board of the School of Social Science, Urban Affairs and Public Policy at Northeastern University. Tim holds a B.A. in Politics, Economics and Law from the University of Buckingham.

Tim Smith
Senior Vice President, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, Walden Asset Management

Tim joined Walden in October 2000. Primary responsibilities include overseeing shareholder advocacy, public policy, and spokesperson for Walden on ESG issues. Walden has been a national leader in responsible investing for over 35 years working on issues like the environment, climate change, sweatshops, executive compensation, corporate governance among others. Previously Tim served as Executive Director of ICCR. In May 2010 Tim received the Bavaria Impact Award.

David Wood
Director Hauser Center For Nonprofit Organizations

David Wood is Director of the Institute for Responsible Investment (IRI), a project of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, where he conducts research on responsible investment and its applications. He has led a series of projects over the last five years, exploring emerging issues for social investors such as fixed-income investment, mergers and acquisitions, corporate disclosure, real estate investment, and offshore SME investment. Recent projects at the IRI include the production of a Handbook on Responsible Investment across Asset Classes; the development of a Responsible Property Investing Center; research on the production and dissemination of corporate social reports; and research into investor use of corporate reporting on nonfinancial information.

Prior to his work at Boston College, Wood taught the history of ethics, ethical and economic thought, and human rights theory at Boston University. He holds a Ph.D in History from the Johns Hopkins University.

About Ballentine Partners, LLC
Ballentine Partners is an independent wealth management firm that provides comprehensive investment and financial advice to a select group of wealth families and entrepreneurs. The firm acts as a financial advocate for its clients and does not sell any products or have affiliations with any product sales company. Ballentine Partners has offices in Waltham, MA and Wolfeboro, NH. For more information please visit www.ballentinepartners.com. For more information on the Mill Street division of Ballentine Partners, please visit www.ballentinepartners.com/millstreet.