The Sustainable Change Alliance was formed in 2015 by a team of professionals bringing together their financial, educational, leadership, and fund development skills to promote impact investing opportunities in financially successful ventures having positive and sustainable impact (locally, nationally and globally).

Purpose

  • create investor groups
  • promote education
  • benefit community
  • establish models
  • advance the field

The Fund for Second Order Change

The Fund for Second Order Change was formed in August of 2014 to identify and support examples of transformative change.  Unlike first order change, in which there appears to be change but the change goes through a fixed set of alternatives, like the hands of a clock, and returns to where it started, we are interested in second order change.  Second order change happens when enough positive alteration revolutionizes an existing system at an advantageous moment of leverage to the significant betterment of the life course of individuals, society, the environment or the world. It should be irreversible, impacts a sufficient amount of a population or scope of a common process, and stabilizes its resources thereby removing the need of continual funding.  

Through our research, we discovered the field of impact investing which seemed to be the most efficient and beneficial way to reach our goal.  We delved deeply into a number of social impact funds and invested in the three we believed came closest to supporting transformative change in society while providing a healthy balance of risk, return, and impact: Elevar Equity, Core Innovation Capital, and Unitus Impact.  These funds were not restricted to any specific geographic areas or type of need; as long as they met our strict criteria, they were considered.  

We then turned our search to finding examples of second order change taking place in the United States and, particularly, in community.  Finding second order change at the community level turned out to be more challenging than expected.  Most community foundations follow the traditional philanthropic methods of giving without considering financial return.  We discovered that an interest in impact investing was making its way into these foundations, but they were at the very beginning of their investigations and changing the mind-set of the established boards would be slow.  This led us to look for alternative avenues of community support via social entrepreneurship.  We are now focusing our efforts promoting impact investing opportunities in financially successful ventures having positive and sustainable impact (locally, nationally, and globally) but without the requirement that they achieve second order change.  If we are successful in this endeavor, we will ourselves be achieving second order change in the community.  

This gave rise to Sustainable Change Alliance which strives to educate the public about impact investing and will promote and develop impact investing opportunities in the greater Santa Barbara area.  

What is Impact Investing?

Impact investing is capital management in pursuit of appropriate levels of financial return with the simultaneous and intentional creation of measurable social and environmental impacts. According to Vineet Rai of Aavishkaar, "impact investing is the use of capital and knowledge of investing to seed, support and scale businesses that have the potential to have a sustainable impact on people's lives." As Rai continues, "(t)he core belief underlying impact investing is that many of the problems faced by people living at the margins--low-income, economically active poor--can be resolved by using a business approach. Impact investors provide capital to support the spawning of businesses. The enterprises or businesses are expected to be sustainable and create a surplus. Thus the impact will not only be sustainable but potentially grow as well. The argument is that if sustainability, scale of returns, and impact are convincingly developed, it will unlock commercial capital to support impact investing: that has the potential to change the world." [Alliance magazine, Sept. 2015] The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) identifies the core characteristics of impact investing as intentionality, investment with return expectations across a range of asset classes, and impact measurement. [The Impact Investor by Cathy Clark, Jed Emerson and Ben Thornley] Today, there is at least $4.3 trillion in some form of values-based investing with a growth of 30-40% per year and a return anywhere from fixed income rates to higher than venture rates.

We believe sustainability is the key to impact investing. Where traditional philanthropic grant-giving has no expectation of financial return, and so are considered successful if they maintain receipt of continual donations, impact investing does have an expectation of financial return after its initial funding, and is considered successful when the businesses producing positive social change are able to become self-supporting, that is sustainable, without the need of continual funding.

 

Who We Are

Executive Director

Peter Brill serves as Executive Director for Sustainable Change Alliance and The Fund for Second Order Change.  He received his M.D. from U.C.L.A. and became a board certified psychiatrist after his residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He also attended the Wharton School of Business where he became a Senior Fellow. He founded and directed the Center for the Study of Adult Development affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. He consulted to over 150 organizations, founded and ran two national companies, while carrying out a private practice. He is a best-selling author who has appeared numerous times on radio and television, and has also lectured internationally.

Since moving to Santa Barbara he became the Director of the Third Age Foundation where he lectured and led groups and workshops. His latest publication is Finding Your J Spot, Joy in Midlife and Beyond. He also hosted a radio show titled The Third Age. Additionally he has served on several boards in Santa Barbara and is currently a member of Social Venture Partners where he served on the executive committee for 3 years.

 

Project Director

Charlene Garfinkle serves as Project Director for Sustainable Change Alliance and The Fund for Second Order Change.  She holds a Ph.D. in art history from UCSB.  As an independent scholar, she has published and presented lectures in the fields of American and European nineteenth-century art, and taught a variety of courses at SBCC and UCSB.  She was a volunteer with the Association of Historians of American Art for 10 years, seeing them through the process to become a non-profit organization.

Since 2000, Charlene has volunteered with a number of non-profit organizations in Santa Barbara, including PTA at the school, council and district levels and Girl Scouts at the troop, service unit and council levels.  Duties for these non-profits ranged from membership and volunteer support to fundraising and financial reporting to operations and organizational management.  From early 2007 until the end of 2008, she was employed by Third Age Foundation as an administrative assistant.