Carol has established a life’s work as a social entrepreneur and philanthropist. Over fifteen years, she has placed $67 million in organizations, individuals and businesses working toward sustainable economic development and social and environmental justice in British Columbia and Canada. After a decade of anonymity, Carol, the founder of Renewal, co-created Play BIG, an initiative to encourage others with wealth to activate their resources for social change. She now co-hosts Play BIG gatherings with Marian Moore and speaks publicly across North America to promote innovative and immediate reallocation of capital to leverage systemic change. Carol is an active member of The Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF), Hollyhock, and the Threshold Foundation, Investors’ Circle, Social Venture Network, and the Wealth & Giving Forum. She received the inaugural 2006 BC Women Award from The Minerva Foundation and in 2007 was deeply honoured to be appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, In 2008 she was awarded a doctorate in Humane Letters from St. Lawrence University.
Marian designs and facilitates conferences, and is currently focused on Play BIG and the philanthropic and social investment community. She is a coach and consultant to people with large capital reserves, seeking to more fully align who they are with how they invest and donate their money. Prior to Play BIG, Marian acted as conference design facilitator for Threshold Foundation, of which she has been a member for twenty years and for Momentum, an event for donors and activists hosted by Tides Foundation, Threshold Foundation, Women Donors Network, and Resource Generation. In the nineties, as co-founder of the national non-profit, Concerts for the Environment, Marian co-produced multi-act stadium and arena concert events featuring such artists as Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Queen Latifah, and REM. The concerts were designed to bring public attention to environmental issues through multi-media, cross-marketed education campaigns. Marian is a songwriter and singer and lives with her children in Minneapolis.
Joel Solomon is Chairman for Renewal2 and President and CEO of Renewal. Joel was instrumental in the development of Renewal Partners and the Endswell Foundation and has led them since their inception in 1994. Renewal Partners has invested in over 75 companies that share its commitment to socially responsible growth. Renewal2 is a continuation of Renewal's work, a $35 million impact investment fund focused on funding businesses in the organic food, green building and green consumer product sectors. Additionally, Joel brings his experience into other capital pools and advisory roles including Vancity, a $15 billion community credit union with over 400,000 members and as Entrepreneur in Residence at RSF Social Finance.
Prior to founding Renewal, Joel spent ten years building businesses in Nashville’s decayed urban core where he co-founded Village Real Estate, CORE development, the Bongo Java chain of coffee houses and roasters and 32 West Corp. (a chain of three independent restaurants). Joel is a founding member of Social Venture Network (SVN), Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), and Tides Canada. He is Board Chair of Tides Foundation (US), and Hollyhock Foundation and sits on numerous other Renewal investees’ boards such as Happy Planet Foods and Strategic Communications and on Renewal2 investee boards of Alter Eco Americas and Spud.
Melissa L. Bradley, CEO, Tides
Melissa L. Bradley has a strong track record of creative and innovative leadership and a background as a social entrepreneur. Prior to Tides, Melissa founded and served as managing director of New Capitalist, an organization that leverages human, financial and social capital to create economically profitable and sustainable individuals, businesses, and communities. In this role, she facilitated over $20 million in venture capital transactions for seed stage companies. Melissa is the founder and former President of Reentry Strategies Institute – the only national criminal justice intermediary explicitly focused on reentry. She founded The Entrepreneurial Development Institute, an international, non-governmental organization, serving youth and their families; and she founded Positive Impact – a collaborative initiative to promote diverse voices and visions within independent media. She has served as a Senior Adviser to the Center for American Progress, as a regular consultant to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on Family Economic Security and Civic Engagement, and as a Senior Strategist for Green For All. Her prior work experience also includes serving as Vice President at UBS in the Private Client Group and as a Financial Regulatory Affairs Fellow with the US Department of Treasury.
Mark Finser, Chair of the Board, RSF
Mark Finser was a founding member of the group that revitalized RSF in 1984. As President & CEO of RSF, Mark grew the organization’s assets to over $120M by 2007, when he transitioned to his current role as Chair of the Board of RSF. Mark brings communities of philanthropists and socially responsible investors together to further RSF’s mission: to transform the way we work with money. Mark is a sought-after speaker in the U.S. and abroad on all aspects of the emerging social-finance arena. He is an active member of the social finance community, serving as a founding board member and now Chairman of New Resource Bank. He was also a member of the founding board of B Lab. Mark is an advisor to the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). He also serves as an Advisor to PCGA which now manages TBL Capital, the company he founded. His interests include biodynamic agriculture, integrative medicine, and meditation. He lives in Mill Valley, California, with his wife, Heidi, and their two children, Benjamin and Yohanna.
Sheherazade Hiriji, Vice President, Client Services, Tides Canada
Sheherazade joined Tides Canada in September 2010. She qualified as a Solicitor in England, and as Barrister and Solicitor in British Columbia. She has worked in the philanthropic sector for 22 years. At the Ontario Trillium Foundation, she served as Acting CEO, Vice-President of Grants, and Director of Learning and Evaluation. As the founding Executive Director of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, she transformed a corporate charitable impulse into a national strategy to support women’s shelters and violence prevention. Since 2004, Sheherazade has worked with individuals, private and public foundations, corporations and government funders through Hirji + White Consulting. The practice focused on deliberative philanthropy, strategic program development, connecting donors to issues, and program evaluation. Sheherazade has served on the board of Wellesley Institute and the Ismaili Council for Canada. She Co-Chaired the Council on Foundations 2004 Conference Toronto Host Committee, and was Founding Co-Chair of the Toronto Association of Corporate Grantmakers. She currently serves on the National Committee of Aga Khan Foundation Canada and on the Board of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
Kristin is an educator, activist, entrepreneur and conscious investor. She began her career as a bilingual elementary school teacher, and then co-founded a Charter school in Oakland (North Oakland Community Charter School http://www.noccs.org) and served on the founding board of George Mark Children’s House (http://www.gmch.org), the first free-standing children’s hospice in the United States. Interested in innovative solutions to leverage resources for social change, Kristin entered the space of impact investing while serving as a board member for various not-for-profit organizations and foundations. She serves on the board of directors for the Mosaic Project (http://www.mosaicproject.org), the Nicholson Foundation, Playworks (www.playworks.org) and CAFWA (www.cafwa.org). Later, when her family sold their investing business, and started a foundation, she helped move the foundation assets to being 100% mission aligned. Since then, Kristin started the Nia Community Fund (www.niacommunity.org) concentrating on conscious investing in Oakland. She is also a co-founder of Hub Oakland (www.huboakland.net) and serves as a peer coach urging friends and colleagues to investigate their holdings to ensure their investments are aligned with their personal and organizational values. in 2012, Kristin joined the faculty of PlayBig. Kristin earned her BA and teaching credentials at Tufts University. She holds an MA in Research in Bilingual Education from Stanford University and a PhD in Urban Education from UC Berkeley. She lives inPiedmont with her 2 boys and 4 chickens.
Don Shaffer, President and CEO, RSF Social Finance
Don Shaffer is President & CEO of RSF Social Finance. Prior to joining RSF, Don served as Executive Director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), developing it into an alliance of over 15,000 independently owned businesses across the U.S. and Canada. He has also served as Interim Executive Director of Investors’ Circle, a network of angel investors, professional venture capitalists, foundations, family offices, and others who invest private capital into companies addressing social and environmental issues. Don’s experience includes over 15 years in senior management positions building social mission companies, including Comet Skateboards, a designer and manufacturer of premium skateboarding products committed to local and sustainable business practices. He has served and led sales, marketing, business-development, and general-operations teams in the education and software sectors. Don serves as a Board Member of Comet Skateboards, BALLE, and Social Venture Network. He participates in an advisory capacity with Entrepreneurship@Cornell, B Lab, and Slow Money. He also co-chairs the Roots of Change Business Leaders Council. Don graduated with a degree in American History from Cornell University and lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, Jennifer, and their children Sabine and Samuel.