Below are some of the experiences of Social Impact Fund recipients. May they inspire your next social impact project.

Quantifying Social Impact: My Experience at the Intersection of Media and Impact

By: Aanchal Kawatra

An international student in the US, I came to Berkeley Haas with a goal to join the Media and Entertainment Industry. With a background in Media and a passion for Non-profit work, I wondered what a role at the intersection of these two industries would look like. And Ro*co Films International was just that!

Ro*co is a leading distributor of documentaries with content focusing on global social and environmental challenges. It was a delight working with the wonderful team which has 90-95% women and really opened my eyes to what that could look like.

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My Summer in Social Impact Design as a Gobee Group Fellow

By Caroline Gezon, Haas MBA/MPH 2020

As a MBA/MPH “dualie,” I came to Haas with a mission to scale the use of behavioral design to improve global health delivery. Unlike private enterprise where a user-centered approach is widely accepted as critical to commercial success, in the social sector world, strategies are more policy-oriented. Unfortunately, design and user experience is often an afterthought, which then often leads to program failure. A small group of organizations including Gobee Group are shifting the tide by bringing users to the forefront of solution design and global health delivery.

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Venturing into Venture Philanthropy: My Summer with Draper Richards Kaplan

 By Jordan Lee, Haas MBA 2020 

I spent my summer with the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a venture philanthropy firm that supports early-stage, high impact social enterprises. DRK provides $300,000 in unrestricted capital to its portfolio companies over three years and, additionally, provides ongoing support by joining the board of directors and partnering with leadership to build organizational capacity and scale impact. DRK is a generalist firm, meaning they are both sector and issue agnostic; they invest in organizations that work across domestic and international education, food & agriculture, and social justice (to name a few). Over the summer, I supported three portfolio organizations and shadowed ongoing diligence.

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Finding My Path at Mayo Clinic

by Patrick Crocker, Haas MBA 2020

The human heart is a magnificent organ. It pumps upwards of 2,000 gallons of blood every day, with just a slight pause between beats as its only rest. If we are lucky, our hearts will beat over three billion times during our lives, and will never stop until we have taken our last breath. To reach the heart, a surgeon must make a vertical incision from just below the neck to the bottom of the sternum, and then use a surgical saw to cut through the breastplate before spreading the ribcage apart to expose the pericardium, which is a tough fibrous sac that envelops and protects the heart underneath. The heartbeat can be seen through the pericardium as a slight, regular bulge, and, once exposed, provides direct evidence of life through motion. The heart glistens and rolls with a strange autonomy, only pausing and shuddering briefly when touched by the surgeon’s or physician assistant’s hand. The surgeon gave me a tour of the anatomy as I peered down from the anesthesiologists position just behind the patient’s head, explaining how to tell the vena cava from the aorta and how blood flows from the left atrium and ventricle through the lungs and back through the right atrium and ventricle before being pumped out to the body through the pulmonary artery.

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Impact Investing and Women’s Economic Empowerment at SEAF

by Pang Sittakaradej, Haas MBA 2020

Thanks to Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF), I was able to spend my summer at Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF), a social impact private equity firm investing in underserved small and medium enterprises (SMEs) around the world. Working at the headquarters in Washington, D.C. gave me insight into how SEAF generates development impact by providing growth capital and business assistance to businesses in emerging markets that, although they contribute significantly to job creation and the local economy, lack of access to appropriate financing. With SEAF’s strong global presence, I was able to visualize and experience the whole investment process and gain an in-depth understanding of the overall impact investing sector.

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A Summer in Southeast Asia with Patamar Capital

by Katharine Hawthorne, Haas MBA 2020

I spent my MBA summer internship with Patamar Capital, a venture capital firm investing in businesses serving mass market consumers in South and Southeast Asia. As these economies undergo rapid economic development, opportunities exist to invest for social impact alongside financial return. Working out of the firm’s Indonesia office gave me insight into how Patamar integrates gender and economic benefit analysis into investment decisions.

Indonesia is experiencing a profound transformation. When I arrived in Jakarta, I was immediately struck by the collision between new and old — sleek high-rise developments abutting traditional warungs, fiber optic internet contrasting crawling macet (traffic), and the dubious honor of the worst air pollution in the world in an island nation with stunning natural beauty. What does it mean to invest for impact in this context?

fiber optic billboard in Indonesia

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Working towards Financial Inclusion

by Cristina Paulsen Nieto, Haas MBA 2020

Thanks to funding from the Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF), I was fortunate enough to work with Accion, a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. During the time I spent with Accion, I had the opportunity to be part of the Global Investment Team, a diverse team with its members located in NY, Washington D.C., Boston, Lima (Peru) and New Delhi (India). It was a group of professionals that brought to the table not only vast experience in the financial markets they covered but also a rich cultural background to share with the team.

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Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

by Lauren Grimanis, Haas MBA 2020

I spent my summer at the intersection of corporations, investments, and sustainability. How is all that possible?! At the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), SASB has developed a set of financially material sustainability standards to help businesses identify, manage, and report on issues that matter most to their investors. These deeply researched and evidence backed standards help investors make more informed decisions on key sustainability topics specific to sector and industry. Most distinctively, SASB standards are financially material which means that topics have been proven to affect the financial position of the industry.

interns having fun

Over the nine weeks, with two fellow interns tasked with three collaborative projects, I dug deep into the 981 SASB standards across 11 sectors and 77 industries. Our heaviest lift project was performing a global gap analysis of the standards, trying to understand the magnitude and depth that the standards would need to be altered in order to be internationally applicable. There has been heightened interest across the globe for consistent ESG (environment, social, and governance) guidelines and so ensuring that the standards can be globally applicable was an organizational priority for the year. Many of the standards utilize international guidelines through the UN or ISO, however, certain sectors and industries have very specific country regulations or structures. For example, the healthcare system across countries vary greatly, therefore, this sector would need more analysis and research to understand how it could be applied around the world.

Just before starting my internship, I was in India with Haas’s International Business Development Program. My team was paired with a large apparel company to create their 2025 sustainability map. I spent the spring semester plus three weeks in-country understanding the challenges of implementing sustainability plans in large corporations. Unsurprisingly, one of the largest challenges that sustainability generally faces is the business case, especially with short-term incentive and performance structures in place in large corporations. This flowed seamlessly into my internship at SASB because SASB provides the business case for sustainability! They show how specific environmental, social, and governance issues can and will affect a company’s financial position and ultimately how they thrive and survive.

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Helping Small Business Farmers in the Philippines

by Daniel Diaz, Haas MBA 2020

I spent my summer in Mindanao, the southernmost and second largest island of the Philippines. Despite recent growth, at a GDP per capita of ~$3100, Filipino income is still roughly a quarter of the world average (World Bank 2018). Mindanao in particular is challenged by poverty, with ~30% of families unable to meet basic food and housing needs — areas in Western Mindanao above 50% (Philippines Statistics Authority 2018). Agriculture is the economic foundation of the island. And “without progress in this region” “to raise agricultural productivity and improve farm-to-market connectivity,” the World Bank finds it “hard to see how the country can achieve sustained and inclusive growth (Philippines Economic Update October 2017).”

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