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A New Twist: What’s the Latest Breakthrough in Philanthropy?

Thursday, July 27, 2017 -
11:30am to 1:30pm PDT
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
555 University Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94301
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Please note that this program is at capacity.  Please email to be added to our waitlist.

The Peninsula Philanthropy Network is pleased to invite you to learn from practitioners forging new approaches in philanthropy. Innovations continue to rock many aspects of professional life in the Bay Area. In the field of giving, tech-based innovations ripple through traditional practices of philanthropy, building on the region’s long history of creating and testing bold new ideas in technology, the social sector and arts and culture.

Until recently, philanthropists looking to make change turned to charitable contributions and foundation grantmaking. Today, philanthropy borrows an array of approaches from other sectors.

Our presenting philanthropy practitioners will share their experience applying innovations from other sectors and talk about the results using a Pecha Kucha framework. 

The approaches they’ve adapted for positive social impact include:

  • Use of impact investing
  • Application of human-centered design principles to philanthropy
  • New relationships with a larger pool of organizations.

As practitioners, we increasingly seek out opportunities to hear and deeply understand community needs, generate and test innovative ideas to meet those needs, and implement solutions that work. Funders are engaging an increasingly wide range of partners, including nonprofits, academic organizations, social enterprises, design studios and startups to find promising solutions.

Join us for an interactive learning lab that will immerse you in the concepts and methods of impact investing and human-centered design.  Our panel  will share their approaches, the structure of their investments and the results.

Target Audience & Registration

Please note that this program is at capacity.  Please email to be added to our waitlist.

This program is open to NCG members. Advance registration is required, in order to clear the list of participants with the venue's security system. 


Lauren Booker Allen, Senior Manager of Impact Investing. Omidyar Network

Lauren leads impact investing industry development efforts at Omidyar Network. She manages investments, strategic partnerships, and thought leadership initiatives that drive the firm’s field-building and engagement objectives, frequently advising HNWIs, family offices, and foundations on impact investing. 

Prior to joining Omidyar Network in 2012, Lauren spent five years at Goldman Sachs, most recently on the healthcare investment banking team. Previously, she was an associate in the global compliance division, covering the firm's private equity business, after beginning her career in the training and communications group, supporting firm-wide regulatory and reputational risk management efforts. Lauren’s diverse financial services background is coupled with a deep interest in the intersection of business and global economic development; she has completed studies and project work in China, Malaysia, South Africa, and the Dominican Republic.

Lauren earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was elected her section’s leadership and values representative and co-president of the African American Student Union. She received a BA in American and urban studies from Yale University. At Yale, Lauren co-founded Sphere Magazine, an innovative multi-medium platform focused on global citizenship awareness, and served as an urban fellow. Lauren is the Vice Chair of the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) Pacific Northwest Regional Scholar Advisory Committee and an alumni mentor of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).

Liz Diebold, Principal of Impacting Investing and Social Entrepreneurship at Skoll Foundation

Liz is a Principal at the Skoll Foundation, where she identifies and leads timely, strategic investments in Awardees with whom we see extraordinary potential for large scale and lasting change in the world. She also serves as a collaborative advisor to grantees and multiple external partners.

Liz has significant experience in the broad areas of investment and finance in developing markets - from digital financial inclusion to fund structuring and facilitating supply chain investments with small local firms and large multinational corporations - and deep agriculture sector knowledge. She is passionate about growing markets and empowering economically disenfranchised people around the world with choice to pursue a range of economic livelihoods. Prior to joining Skoll, Liz held positions with USAID, World Economic Forum, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, OPIC, and as a development consultant.

Liz is a Midwesterner at heart (KCMO!) and a globalist in spirit who never ceases to be moved by human kindness.

Lakshmi Karan, Executive Director, Genentech Foundation and Head, Corporate Charitable Giving, Genentech Inc.

Lakshmi guides the vision and direction to ensure overall alignment and success in Genentech’s philanthropy. She manages two entities – private foundation and corporate giving - that operate under distinct governance and management structures at Genentech.

Prior to joining Genentech Lakshmi served as Director of Global Strategy at Riders for Health, a high-impact social enterprise that develops sustainable and cost effective transportation in sub-Saharan Africa as a means to health access, and Director of Impact Assessment at the Skoll Foundation.  She is on the Board of the Northern California Grantmakers and a mentor at GSBI, Santa Clara University.

Lakshmi holds a PhD in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, A Masters in Computer Science and Systems Management from the National Institute of Information Technology, and a B.Sc. in Mathematics from Madras University.

Jean Shia, Head of Portfolio & Investment, Autodesk Foundation 

Jean Shia is the Head of Portfolio and Investment at the Autodesk Foundation where she oversees a portfolio of organizations using design for positive social and environmental impact. Jean has over 15 years of experience working across the public and private sectors in social entrepreneurship, economic development, finance and strategic operations.

Prior to joining Autodesk, Jean was the VP of Business Operations at Driptech, a for-profit social enterprise focused on improving smallholder livelihoods through low cost irrigation technologies. She also worked for three years in the investment and development team of a US$100 million real estate fund, Avant Housing. She started her career as a Community Development Fellow at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development working to revitalize neighborhoods across New York City. 

Jean received an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Urban Studies from Cornell University.  

Bert Feuss, Senior Vice President, Investments, Silicon Valley Community Foundation (Moderator) 

Bert Feuss is responsible for oversight and administration of Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s $6.5 billion of investment and charitable trust assets. Bert and his staff work closely with the foundation’s investment committee, advisors and investment managers to invest and protect assets across numerous portfolios including endowments, commingled pools, separately managed donor advised funds, supporting organizations, charitable trusts and gifted assets. 

In addition to portfolio oversight, Bert is a resource to individual and corporate donors, wealth advisors and nonprofit clients in developing investment strategy, spending and investment policy, and the use of impact investing strategies to optimize financial return and social impact.

Bert served as director of professional services for Peninsula Community Foundation from 2004 to 2006, where he was responsible for asset development through professional advisors and facilitated complex gifts and transactions for donors and their professional advisors. 

Prior to joining the community foundation, Bert served 16 years at Franklin Templeton Investments as a senior vice president, where he was Series 7 and 24 licensed, and responsible for market analysis, product development and investment performance reporting.

Bert holds a master's in business administration from Golden Gate University and a bachelor's degree from University of California at Davis in agricultural science and management. He is a volunteer advisor for the U.C. Davis Foundation Finance and Investment Committee, a past board member of the Northern California Planned Giving Council, and volunteers as a conservation easement monitor for Peninsula Open Space Trust. 

Bert lives in San Francisco with his wife and two sons. He’s an avid hiker, biker, backpacker and kayaker.