JLens Hosts First Impact Investing Summit for Jewish Communal Leadership

Some 300 Jewish communal leaders and finance professionals, including a number who traveled from Israel, attended the first Jewish Impact Investing Summit in New York City on Dec. 5, 2017. The event was designed and hosted by JLens, an investor network that explores a Jewish lens on investing and serves as the bridge between the Jewish community and the impact investing movement.

“Historically the values-based investing movement has not included the organized Jewish community,” said Julie Hammerman, JLens’ Executive Director. “The Summit sought to change this by exploring impact investing through a uniquely Jewish lens.”

The summit began with a session entitled “Rabbinic Insights on Investment and Business as a Force for Good” with Rabbis Yitz Greenberg, Julie Schonfeld, and Aaron Panken.

Rabbi Jacob Siegel, JLens’ Director of Engagement, added: “While this summit featured the first ever panel of rabbis on impact investing, Judaism actually has thousands of years of wisdom to navigate the balance between profit and impact.”

The following session, “Introduction to Impact Investing” featured thought leaders Fran Seegull, Sir Ronald Cohen, Jonathan Greenblatt, and Joel Wittenberg. Other sessions focused on shareholder advocacy on social and environmental issues, BDS, multi-faith collaboration, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the impact investing ecosystem in Israel.

Summit partners included the Jewish Federations of North America, UJA Federation of New York, Hadassah, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Funders Network, Federation of Northern New Jersey, and Hazon. Additional Summit partners included the Glazer Foundation, Leichtag Foundation, Morningstar Foundation, EJ Friedman Philanthropies, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation and Schusterman Foundation.