In episode 27 of the Investing in Impact podcast, we speak with Daniel Blake and Joellen Nicholson, Managing Directors of University Impact, on using Donor Advised Funds (DAF) to innovate and scale impact investing.
University Impact (UI) is a nonprofit that invests in companies and nonprofits solving social and environmental problems. Investments are focused on funding the most promising social ventures.
UI’s goal is to create the next generation of social impact leaders and provide capital to social ventures solving social and environmental problems. UI does this by providing undergraduate and graduate students with an immersive, hands-on learning experience in impact investing and philanthropy.
The associates learn to perform rigorous due diligence and measure social impact through debt and equity investments. Students can then use their experiences to do social good throughout the entirety of their careers. UI hosts the unique Triple Donor Advised Fund and helps you create the most impact with your investments.
What are Donor Advised Funds (DAF)?
Donor Advised Funds (DAF) are giving vehicles that allows donors to make a charitable contribution with an immediate tax deduction. Donors are able to recommend grants and impact investments from their DAF to organizations solving social and environmental problems. Donors can contribute to their DAF and recommend grants and investments as frequently as they would like.
Daniel Blake – Daniel’s background is in building and scaling startups. He started his first company, EcoScraps, in 2010 and sold it to a Fortune 1,000 company (Scott’s Miracle Gro) after 4 years. He has been on the board for two companies that have sold to publicly traded companies.
Daniel’s companies have created marketing campaigns that have driven millions of engagements in a matter of weeks, creating stories that garnered national (cover story for Inc., Forbes, stories on Discovery Channel, etc.), and have led to deals with groups including: the US State Dept., United Nations World Food Programme, Amazon, Google, some of the world’s largest food companies etc. Daniel has done business with Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Amazon etc. His products have sold approx. $100 million in retail sales.
Joellen Nicholson – Joellen has over 18 years experience building shared value partnerships across sectors focused on inclusive value chains. She has led marketing programs, partnerships, plus sustainability, and social impact initiatives with leading brands like the Gap, Disney and Macy’s. As the Director of Programs at the nonprofit Nest, she supported business growth and social compliance for over 100 global MSMEs, with on-the-ground projects in India, Guatemala, Haiti, and Namibia. She also launched Nest’s Maker’s United program in Birmingham, AL, a multi-stakeholder initiative that galvanized local, regional, and national resources to support the entrepreneurship and small business development for an inclusive US-based maker’s ecosystem.
In addition, Joellen co-founded basik 855, a social venture that developed a new co-creation model with Cambodian artisans. As an advisor to start-ups and NGO’s, Joellen consults on business models and program strategies that incorporate social impact and sustainability. Joellen is a pro-bono advisor to Animaná | Hechos x Nosotros, a non-profit NGO with UN consultative status, that is advancing sustainable fashion in LATAM and inclusion of MSMEs. Joellen holds an MSt in Social Innovation from the University of Cambridge and a BA in Supply Chain Management and Marketing from Michigan State University.
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