By Phil DeMuth
There was an entertaining article in this Sunday’s New York TimesStyle Section about a gang of rich kids who got to go on a field trip to the White House to “empower” them and let them schmooze about their charitable projects (possibly now to include the DNC?). My favorite line was a description of 26-year-old zillionaire Zac Russell, who wore a “loosely fitting suit without a necktie that contrasted with the stately White House surroundings.” I recall how President Ronald Reagan refused to take off his suit jacket or loosen his tie in the Oval Office even when he was hot because he did not want to insult the dignity of his surroundings with undue casualness. Fortunately, these trustafarians know how to chillax.
One of the interesting and important recent developments in wealth management has been the emergence of a group of clients committed to investing with impact across their entire portfolios, meaning they seek to deliver measurable positive social or environmental benefits with every dollar they put to work.
This includes high net worth individuals, often from the millennial generation, such as Leisel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons, family foundations like the KL Felicitas Foundation, and philanthropic institutions like the F.B. Heron Foundation.
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Today, about one billion people worldwide are malnourished. The same number lack access to clean water, and over 10% of children receive no education. Yet the world will grow by at least two billion people over the next 30 years–the equivalent of more than 80 new Shanghais. Changes of this scale present us with immense new challenges and equally vast opportunities.
Dan Pallotta, creator of the 3-day breast cancer walk, in his now infamous TED talk, says, “Philanthropy is a world that works for everyone, with no one left out.” In order to make this vision a reality we have a long way to go, first of which should be a reduction in the major gaps that still exist in the social impact ecosystem between entrepreneurs and successful innovators who want to give back to the world, and investors who are willing to support their cause. The only way to truly tackle the world’s growing pains is by closing this gap and finding sustainable solutions to enduring social problems.
For socially responsible investors, the four cardinal sin-dustries used to be tobacco, gambling, alcohol, and weaponry. But these days, the only true taboo is invoking the word “screen.”
The intrepid investigative journalist and author Michael Lewis is burning up the headlines and sparking shouting matches on financial TV programs with his new book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. In it, Lewis addresses the sneaking suspicion that many Americans have about the stock market: that it is rigged, that certain insiders have access to information that lets them get rich at the expense of everyone else. And Lewis’ verdict is: Guilty as Charged.
By Christopher White
Last week marked the 28th birthday of Baby M, the child who was born from the surrogate pregnancy arrangement between Mary Beth Whitehead who was paid to use her eggs and womb and William Stern’s sperm to give birth to a child for Stern and his infertile wife, Elizabeth. After delivery, Whitehead decided that she was too emotionally attached to the child and refused to surrender the child. This soon sparked a legal battle over the custody of the child that gripped the entire country. While the New Jersey Supreme Court ultimately granted custody to Stern, it also ruled paid surrogacy contracts illegal and banned the practice in the state. In 2012 the New Jersey State legislature tried to reverse the ban, but Governor Chris Christie later vetoed the bill citing “the profound change in the traditional beginnings of the family that this bill will enact.”
By Ryan Olson
In 2014, the Index of Economic Freedom, co-published by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, celebrates its 20th anniversary. For two decades, the Index, by cataloguing economic policy developments of the globe, has served as a beacon for people around the world who recognize enhanced economic liberty and individual opportunity as the surest path to greater prosperity.
Americans celebrate innovation, a term that the dictionary says stems from the Latin verb innovare—to “make new.” We all sense that a wave of innovations—mobile internet, robots, artificial intelligence, driverless cars—will transform the way we live and work. Innovators are admired for their game-changing insights that upend old ways of doing business, and create economic opportunities.