Miller Center Director of Impact Capital John Kohler

Miller Center Director of Impact Capital John Kohler

Making "Year of Mercy" = Year of Impact for the Poor

SCU's John Kohler is helping the Vatican explore "impact investing."

The Vatican is exploring how the Catholic Church can harness investment practices focused on social good, not just profits.

Santa Clara University’s John Kohler has been tapped by the Vatican to help Pope Francis and others in Rome learn how the Catholic Church can “harness the power of impact capital” to further its social mission.

Impact capital is an investment strategy that considers the positive environmental or social impact – not just the profits – of the company receiving the investment. It is a growing field, attracting funds from philanthropies, corporations, and private investors. The Vatican has been interested in how it can devote time, money or its bully pulpit to impact investing, holding its first conference on the topic in 2014.  The question then and now: How can private capital be catalyzed to lift the poor and vulnerable out of poverty?

That’s where John Kohler comes in.

Kohler, a former venture capitalist with Redleaf Venture Management who is now executive fellow and director of impact capital at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, has extensively studied the field of impact investing. He co-authored a chapter on equity investing in “New Frontiers of Philanthropy” (Oxford Press-2014), and authored a 2011 study, Coordinating Impact Capital: a New Approach to Investing in Small and Growing Businesses, on how 45 top impact investors do what they do. 

From June 26 through June 29, Kohler will join a group of social entrepreneurs and experts for the Vatican’s second conference on impact investing. He will give a talk on the types of investors who invest in social entrepreneurship, and what they expect from the companies they fund based on the stage of the business’s maturity. Other speakers at the conference will be Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services.  

For more details on Kohler’s talk see the Miller Center site.