Photo: BALLE questions

So Much to Learn, So Many Options for Impact!

Posted on May 22, 2019 by Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation
Earlier this year, I was invited by Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s CEO Roxie Jerde to join her in BALLE’s Foundation Circle Sessions. These three-day gatherings are an immersive experience centered around helping foundations work through the many aspects of impact investing. While I was only able to participate in two of the four immersions, each was rich with expert knowledge and peer sharing.

The BALLE approach is one of respect and inclusion, where each participant and presenter is valued. The ARCs of Learning moved us through an I to We to IT through the lens of culture, strategy, capacity, and opportunity flow — all undergirded with equity.

Many concepts sparked conversations during the circle sessions and continue to resonate:

Flawed Assumptions landscape
  • It’s a Zero Sum Game
  • Resources are scarce [rather it could be the channels]
  • More is better, but at what cost?
  • I have to look out for myself
  • We are separate [rather than we are all inter-connected] 
  • Diversity—who is in the room
  • Inclusion—who is participating
  • Equity—who has the power 
Start by Learning
  • Allow for different perspectives
  • Affirm shared aspirations
  • Check for knowledge versus perceptions
  • What is possible?
  • What are the constraints?
  • Who else cares?
  • Who might bring additional knowledge?
  • What is the upside potential?
  • What is the downside risk? 
Every moment is a point in the journey. As I reflect on mine at BALLE, here are a few takeaways:
  • Be sure to ask, “so what, now what”
  • Think through if your impact investing is transactional or having a societal impact
  • What are the underlying systems that need change?
  • Due diligence and technical assistance are not for the faint of heart
  • Have a sense of urgency—time is a nonrenewable resource
My final takeaway: the relationships built through the BALLE experience will last far longer than the actual time invested.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.