Palo Alto Impact Center

About Us

The Palo Alto Impact Center provides professional development for social impact investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate professionals. Our mission is enabling the launch of new social impact organizations that improve the lives of individuals in the Bay Area and globally. We achieve this by growing and connecting the ecosystem of social impact professionals, creating high–impact professional development, and providing access to capital.

Learn more about our point of view here.

Palo Alto Impact Center Point of View

  1. All companies create social impact. — All companies can increase their social impact. We believe the constructive dialogue for a company is on how to increase the impact, not whether or not it's a social impact company.

  2. Local matters. — For social impact companies, leveraging the local resource pool of ideas, people, capital and partners is paramount. Prove local, scale global.

  3. Collaboration is missing. — The ecosystem of social impact includes a wide variety of organization types from the private, public, and social sector- across both large organizations and new start ups- and across all industry sectors. We don't adhere to the "us vs. them" mentality that sometimes prevails. Collaboration across the silos is required to move forward.

  4. Education is an accelerant. — Education to all the key constituents of the social impact ecosystem- entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, etc. - is required to drive more awareness of the trends, successes and mechanics of the field and bring in more participants.

  5. Social impact companies perform above market. — They also perform below market. Like traditional organizations, they perform on all parts of the financial spectrum. There is not an inherent element that makes social impact companies less financially successfully than their peers.

  6. Time is on our side. — While many traditional start-ups are focused on speed to market, social enterprises that appropriately take the "long view" are most concerned with building something impactful and lasting, even if that means not being first.

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Join our Spring Social Impact Demo Day on March 16 @ BootUp. Early Bird tickets here!

services

Open Events

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Panels, keynote presentations, and festivals that grow the ecosystem of social impact professionals.

Executive Development

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Working groups and multi-day training sessions for impact investors, social entrepreneurs, and corporate social impact professionals.

Consulting

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Customized engagements for organizations seeking innovative ways to integrate social entrepreneurship into their business, including our Leader Exchanges.

Events

We create events that support our mission, often in collaboration with other organizations. If you have an idea for an event or topic, please contact us.

Upcoming Events


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    Spring Social Impact Demo Day

    March 16, 2017

    Executive Education Program

    Learn more and reserve your spot here.

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    Scaling Earned Revenue in Non-profits

    April 20, 2017

    Executive Education Program

    Get your ticket today here.

    In partnership with HBS Community Partners.

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    Corporate Social Impact I

    May 20, 2017

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    Impact Investor Roundtable

    June 22, 2017

    The Palo Alto Impact Center is hosting roundtable discussions for impact investors based in Silicon Valley.

    The purpose of the meetings are to help local impact investors learn and network in an informal, peer-to- peer environment. Participants will share their approaches, success stories, and active opportunities with their peers.

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    Summer Social

    July 13, 2017

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    Fall Social Impact Demo Day

    September 21, 2017

    Executive Education Program

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    Corporate Social Impact II

    October 26, 2017

  • Reel Impact Film Festival logo

    Reel Impact Film Festival

    November 16, 2017

Past Events


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    Social Entrepreneurship Leader Exchange

    February 17, 2017, San Francisco, CA

    The Social Entrepreneurship Leader Exchange brings together two dozen senior executives from a global 2000 organization and CEOs of early stage social impact CEOs, all in the same industry, to explore business imperatives of mutual relevance. The fundamental premise of the exchange is that both Global2000 senior executives and start-up social impact CEOs have much to gain by learning and collaborating with each other in a highly customized event.

    View event photos
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    RIFF

    December 1, 2016
    Reel Impact Film Festival

    Missed our 1st annual Reel Impact Film Festival? Watch our inspiring RIFF2016 video here

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    Impact Investing in Silicon Valley

    November 10, 2016
    Executive Education Program

    We are conducting an in-depth study of impact investing in Silicon Valley, please fill out the short survey

    In partnership with SV2 and Gratitude Railroad.

    Missed this event? Watch our Social Impact Demo Day video here.

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    Impact Investor Roundtable

    July 20, 2016, Fremont, CA

    The Palo Alto Impact Center is hosting roundtable discussions for impact investors based in Silicon Valley.

    The purpose of the meetings are to help local impact investors learn and network in an informal, peer-to- peer environment. Participants will share their approaches, success stories, and active opportunities with their peers.

    The first Impact Investor Roundtable was kicked off with a Tesla Factory Tour in Fremont, followed by the roundtable discussion.

    View event photos
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    Social Entrepreneurship Leader Exchange

    June 3, 2016, San Francisco, CA

    The Social Entrepreneurship Leader Exchange happened between 20 cross-functional senior executives from UCB Pharma & 4 social impact company CEOs based in Silicon Valley. Fundamental premise was that both Global2000 senior executives and start up social impact CEOs have much to gain by sharing and learning from each other.

    Partners: DukeCE and UCB Pharma

    View event photos
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    Social Impact CEO Panel

    April 13, 2016
    Co-produced with The Wharton Club of Northern California
    Hosted by Cooley

    Panel
    Nicki Boyd, CEO, Versame Philipp Stauffer, CEO, Onor and Founder FyrFly Ventures Christine Su, CEO, Pasturemap Lynzi Ziegenhagen, CEO, Schoolzilla (Moderator) Scott Saslow, Founder, Palo Alto Impact Center

    View event photos

If you are interested in attending these events, please contact us

Impact

The Palo Alto Impact Center has been adding immense value to our efforts of creating a global social impact. The Impact center is acting as a catalyst in making connections with those who deeply care about social entrepreneurship including industry professionals and investors, they provide a much needed service and our entire field of social entrepreneurship will be positively impacted by their efforts

Sachin Chaudhry, Founder / CEO, Trustcircle

We had a highly engaging assignment working with two dozen top executives of a large global pharmaceutical client. As part of an educational program we introduced them to the Palo Alto Impact Center. The Center brought innovative elements to the program design with representatives from their strong network of social impact professionals in Silicon Valley. The result was a high impact learning experience for the executives including the creation of highly beneficial lasting relationships. Scott and Angie are highly collaborative and professional in their approach and a pleasure to work with.

Adam Pacifico, Managing Director, Duke Corporate Education

Reflecting on my Leader Exchange experience: it is sometimes hard for us as a non-profit to interface with a big company. But due to a fantastic program design and facilitation by The Palo Alto Impact Center and the DukeCE, it didn't take long and were exploring ways to push our collaborative mission forward to improve health in the hardest to reach communities, and to really implement social impact and change by working together. UCB Pharma leaders and I came up with 5-6 ideas in three different countries where we both work that interact with their CSR departments, but also their core business. This wouldn't have happened without the Leader Exchange and we are very grateful to have been part of it. It was a welcomed surprise to receive financial support to help us further our mission, and a clear sign of support for our work.

Josh Nesbit, Co-Founder / CEO, Medic Mobile

The Impact Center played a crucial role in the success of UCB's Senior Leadership Development Program. The custom designed Social Impact Leader Exchange, access to hand-picked social entrepreneurs in the healthcare field of Silicon Valley and the high quality content helped our leaders think strategically and broaden their value creation.

Christian Lefevre, Talent Solutions Partner, UCB

Meeting Scott Saslow and getting connected with the Palo Alto Impact Center was a turning point in our seed fundraising process. Through their events, I got connected with a network of impact investors which ultimately comprised the majority of funding in my seed round. Most importantly, they were high integrity, seasoned executives who shared my values. We were aligned on tackling long-term global challenges instead of chasing unicorns. What a breath of fresh air in Silicon Valley!
Beyond the dollars, these investors are supporting me with their networks, experience, and impact-driven rigor to build the kind of social venture I want to build. This is exactly the support I needed, from the kind of people I needed. Every company in the Valley claims to want to make the world a better place, but the ecosystem in the Valley is stacked towards building and supporting one kind of startup - unicorns. The social ventures that actually make impact a core part of their mission often get overlooked, dismissed, or contorted to fit their models to the Valley. The ecosystem of impact entrepreneurs and funders that Scott is building through the Palo Alto Impact Center is long overdue in the Bay Area.

Christina Su, Founder / CEO, Pasturemap

The Impact Center delivered new professional connections and stimulating conversation - both of which have continued long after I attended an Impact Investor Roundtable Discussion. Silicon Valley needs more exposure to impact investing and vice versa.

Ted Levinson, Founder / CEO, Beneficial Returns

Team

  • Scott Saslow

    Scott Saslow, Founder
    Founder The Institute of Executive Development, Underdog
    Impact Investor, Not-for-Profit Board Chair NFTE
    Microsoft, Siebel Systems internal start-ups
    Harvard Business School, Northwestern University

  • Angelina Mertens

    Angelina Mertens, Head of Programming
    Tesla, CCF, Wilhelm-Oberle Foundation, KH Freiburg & University of Freiburg, FLACSO / Chulalongkorn

  • Alexandra Winter-Hoelzl

    Alexandra Winter-Hoelzl, Consulting Data Analyst
    University of Freiburg, IAF Freiburg

  • Becca Shepherd

    Becca Shepherd, Community Advisor
    Palo Alto native & Duke University MBA

  • Paula Saslow

    Paula Saslow, Reel Impact Film Festival Creative Director
    UC Berkeley PhD, MFA Film Directing

  • Paula Saslow

    Livia Campos de Menezes & Bruno Giusti Pereira, Social Media Coordinators
    Livia is an MFA Candidate in Creative Producing, at UNC School of the Arts.
    Bruno is an MBA Candidate at Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business.

  • Catherine Crystal Foster

    Catherine Crystal Foster, Advisor
    Executive Director of the Westly Foundation: supporting children and youth at risk, and awarding the Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California

  • Dan Kalafatas

    Dan Kalafatas, Advisor
    Founder and Chairman of 3 Degrees Inc., a renewable energy and carbon offset provider

  • Keely Stevenson

    Keely Stevenson, Advisor
    Co-Founder and CEO of Weal Life - making it easier to care for each other, Young Global Leader, and Oxford Business Advisory Council Member

  • Pankaj Shah

    Pankaj Shah, Advisor
    Palo Alto based investor and serial entrepreneur

  • Rajiv Parikh

    Rajiv Parikh, Advisor
    President of Position2, Palo Alto based serial entrepreneur

  • Rajiv Parikh

    Ted Levinson, Advisor
    Founder and CEO of Beneficial Returns, an impact investing debt fund supporting the growth of leading social enterprises in emerging markets.