Upcoming Program


Wealth – both in the hands of individuals, philanthropic institutions, and investors – has reached new heights. At the same time, the world faces unprecedented challenges, from climate change to growing inequality. How can foundations and social investors better channel their people, investments, and partnerships to meet these challenges?

At the latest program in the Philanthropy and Social Investment series, senior foundations staff and social investors will explore the challenges and opportunities to develop and integrate talent, purpose, and profit at the individual, organizational, and broader social investment ecosystem levels in order to exchange best practices, build new networks and foster collaboration for greater social impact.

Over the past decade, levels of wealth have risen among the richest to new levels. Assets in endowments of foundations, philanthropies, and with social investors are also higher than ever. At the same time, the view over the horizon is dimmed by sobering indications of fundamental challenges facing us as a global society in the coming decade. Climate change, growing social and economic inequality, and population health and wellbeing are among the most significant challenges, and are converging at an unchartered pace and timescale.

The next decade will need to be one of significant global transition – away from carbon-based economies, and toward more equitable and fair financial systems, and healthier communities and societies – especially if we are to work together across sectors and geographies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In the face of this, how can foundations and social investors position their approaches to people, partnership, and investments to be more effective? What are the elements of this transition that philanthropy and social investment need to keep in focus? How can the philanthropic sector act as a lever for larger flows of capital from the public and private sector toward aiding this transition and tackling these global challenges? 

For over 70 years, Salzburg Global Seminar has worked with visionary and ethical leaders and changemakers to shape a better world in times of transition and challenge. Developing global networks that bridge divides and creating conditions for improved foresight and innovation lie at the heart of our commitment to expand collaboration and transform systems, in alignment with the SDGs.

Building on Salzburg Global’s multi-year Philanthropy and Social Investment series and the “Developing Talent Across the Continuum of Capital” workshop at the June 2019 AVPN conference in Singapore, this program will bring together 40 senior-level representatives from across the investing and talent management functions at foundations and social investing firms to examine the key issues that could unlock greater effectiveness, collaboration, and greater social impact. 


This program seeks to:

  • Expand the network of influencers across sectors, geographies, and generations for impactful alliances; 
  • Develop and advance breakthrough approaches in talent management, investment, and partnerships to drive more effective practices; and 
  • Facilitate stronger collaboration with a focus on the talent and capital necessary for systems transformation. 

The content is framed around the challenges and opportunities to develop and integrate talent, purpose, and profit at three levels:

  1. The broader social investment ecosystem (“working for a purpose” regardless of sector): addressing the systemic perceptions and power dynamics and asymmetry between and within government, private, and NGO sectors in regions globally, including ease of  mobility; 
  2. The organizational level: developing the kind of culture, management, leadership, and incentives necessary for handling complexity and effective philanthropy and social investment; 
  3. The individual level: addressing recruitment, talent development, talent pipeline, retention, mobility, and professionalization of the philanthropic sector globally.      


The residential program will be in the retreat-like setting of Schloss Leopoldskron, which facilitates trust, networking, and in-depth conversations. The highly interactive program is structured around a mix of thought-provoking presentations, curated conversations, informal interactions, knowledge exchange, and practical group work and innovation prototyping.  

The process seeks to combine theory, policy, and practice across sectoral and geographic silos, opening up new perspectives and intensive learning opportunities. Participants will work in focus groups, allowing for intense explorations of specific aspects of the general themes before returning to the plenary to refine conclusions.


  • By 2030, what is your vision for how philanthropy and social investing can address fundamental challenges of climate change, social and economic inequality, population health, and wellbeing? To achieve the vision, what is the investment strategy? The people strategy? The partnership strategy?  
  • What would need to change for philanthropy and social investing to act as a lever for larger flows of capital from the public and private sectors to develop scalable solutions that are sufficiently capitalized? 
  • What are “elephants in the room” with respect to solutions to these challenges that you have a hard time discussing that could be brought up in the safe, open space of Salzburg? 
  • How much cross-pollination and common language is there currently between different parts of the ecosystem? Are perceptions of risk and “impact” different for social and corporate actors?
  • How do management strengths and weaknesses vary across the ecosystem? What progress are we seeing in donor/funder understanding of organizational needs e.g. to support operating costs?
  • How are cultural and professional perceptions of the social investment ecosystem changing? How sustainable are employment opportunities and salaries? What would it take to get/help the social sector to meaningfully invest in talent development; define the skills needed; and develop structured opportunities for advancement, training, and mobility?


This program will bring together a globally-representative group of 40 participants including:

  • Senior staff of foundations and social investment vehicles (e.g. President/CEO, Executive Director, Vice President, Director); and 
  • Heads of human resource functions (VP of Talent, Human Resources Director).