As a fifth-generation investment executive, Robert Smith created ICV to connect hard-to-reach Family Offices and leading Fund Investors in a collaborative and safe environment to evaluate opportunities that create a social impact beyond a financial return.
At ICV Napa Valley 2014, our first event, we delivered diverse content to family offices who are allocating their capital across asset classes; carefully examining the interconnected risks that may disrupt a well-thought-out portfolio designed for future generations; and, improving the wellbeing of humankind through their philanthropy.
We noted tremendous, measurable value creation in people’s personal and professional lives through convening. Our events were transformative. Participants were partnering in businesses, investing in each other, learning about opportunities across industries, averting risk, and establishing meaningful connections. In this purpose-driven environment, we were able to connect capital and opportunities, in addition to heads and hearts. We hosted 46 people in Scottsdale, Arizona, 116 people in Montauk, New York, and 127 people in Napa Valley, California. We have built a community.
At ICV Manhattan 2015, our fifth event and first major city event, we saw a 15-fold increase in attendance (255 approved investors out of 396 applicants) since our humble beginnings in Napa Valley. By word-of-mouth, we attracted top institutional investors and more than 130 single family offices, managing over $1 trillion in combined assets. The investor to company ratio was 5:1, without service providers and sponsors. Our 49 presenters included some of the top asset managers in the world by strategy and industry, the largest institutional allocators, New York Times bestselling authors, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the former president of the United Nations General Assembly.
In 2016, we diversified the content of our events to appeal to ultra wealthy individuals who do not typically attend investor conferences. We introduced Nobel Peace Laureates, civil society leaders, distinguished economists and futurists who spoke about threats facing humanity, far beyond the interconnected risks that could disrupt a well-thought-out portfolio designed for future generations. By stimulating a critical mass of investor attendees, we stimulated companies to align their strategies and operations with sustainable development and take actions that advance societal goals.
Recognizing that we could convene individuals capable of advancing not only sustainable development, but charitable giving at significant levels, we introduced art and music to our events to connect heads and hearts. At ICV Cambridge 2016., we raised the level of consciousness and understanding of participants that even the smallest donation to a nonprofit organization can have a profound effect on many.
During the Cambridge event, Aaron Niederhelman, Co-Founder of the EAF Agrarian Fund, moderated the panel Meat the Future? Fulfilling demand for 9 Billion People by 2050. Aaron also heard from Sierra Preveza, named by the Today Show as the Kindest Kid in America and the Sprout Network’s Chief Kindness Officer.
Sierra is a survivor of kidney cancer who was diagnosed at the age of 6. A Wilms’ tumor stage 2, the size of a grapefruit, grew rapidly inside of Sierra. She was very fortunate; she underwent surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital and the tumor was removed. A year after her experience and strong recovery, Sierra decided she wanted to give to other kids with cancer and founded Childhood Cancer Kids, a non-profit organization that seeks to increase childhood cancer awareness and provide resources to and elevate the spirits of children with cancer.
“ICV is a field of dreams. It is where you go to realize the dream you didn’t know you had.”
– Robert Smith, Founder of ICV
After hearing Sierra’s story that day, Aaron made Sierra’s dream come true: She would call out “play ball!” at Fenway Park. Children received hats, t-shirts and pins in recognition of Children Cancer Awareness Month.
On the observance of the International Day of Peace, ICV hosted a special gathering that marked the first time that three Nobel Peace Laureates directly engaged investors and philanthropists and their first contribution in New York since the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates obtained consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
At ICV Presents: An Evening with Three Heroic Women, Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman shared their experiences and insights in meeting personal and global challenges and policies for a more peaceful, secure and sustainable world.
Other participants seated at the 32-person dinner table included Jonathan Granoff and Amir Dossal, UN Representatives of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and representatives of Family Offices and Fund Investors with access to more than $100 billion in investment capital.
At ICV Manhattan 2016: Imagine, a first-of-its-kind event, we convened more than 100 family offices and fund investors managing more than $2 trillion in combined assets. We featured over 70 speakers, including leading industry-focused institutional investors, chief executives, ambassadors, civil society leaders, distinguished economists, New York Times bestselling authors, famous artists, a Nobel Peace Laureate and a 27-piece orchestra. CNBC covered the event.
In 2017, we built partnerships to leverage the collective assets, technologies, skills and resources of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to improve social impact.
At ICV Washington, D.C. 2017 we bridged the gap between political and financial worlds to drive development. Speakers included the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the former CEO of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., and representatives from the United Nations, USAID and the World Bank.
At ICV Philadelphia 2017, we hosted the first large-scale healthcare investor conference at an academic medical center. ICV Philadelphia at Jefferson brought together family offices, fund investors, key opinion leaders, researchers and CEOs of select healthcare companies to mobilize capital towards treatments capable of curing a myriad of illnesses, thus helping people to live longer, with less pain, and profoundly improve countless lives. CBS covered the event.
Today, we leverage our convening power to connect change makers with investors who by virtue and wealth advance corporate responsibility, capitalize businesses at significant levels, and influence systemic change. We are mobilizing trillions of dollars to find solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), we hosted ICV Investing in the Global Goals, a historic five-part event, where we convened Family Offices, Fund Investors, Heads of State and Government, Foreign Ministers and CEOs of the Private Sector for one urgent purpose: to realize the $12 trillion opportunity that is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
On September 15, the observance of the International Day of Peace, we hosted the ICV Global Youth Summit 2017 at the United Nations, where we convened senior UN leaders, Heads of State, and the next generation of social entrepreneurs and philanthropists to educate and inspire all ages to think more creatively about their role as global citizens.
On September 17, we hosted ICV Presents: An Evening with Jane Goodall, where the world-renowned conservationist, humanitarian, and United Nations Messenger of Peace, discussed her hope for the natural world in challenging times. The next year, Dr. Jane Goodall join ICV as an Honorary Advisor.
Also on September 17, ICV joined Global Citizen, The Riverside Church and Lululemon Athletica for Breaking the Silence: Beyond the Dream, an intergenerational, interfaith program that called on people from all walks of life to RISE UP and speak out on the injustices facing the world. Just as Martin Luther King, Jr. did at The Riverside Church 50 years ago, Breaking the Silence delivered a universal call to action to “love thy neighbor.”
On September 19 at the Movement Makers Summit, ICV and Global Citizen, two leaders in campaigning and organizing around the Sustainable Development Goals, convened the best minds in movement building to equip change-makers, marketers and everyday citizens with the tools they need to understand, learn from, and build sustainable and impactful movements.
On September 20, ICV hosted one of its most impactful events to date: ICV Investing in African Health Systems. At a closed-door meeting, we brought together the Ministers of Health of five African countries, heads of UN agencies, philanthropists, institutional investors and innovators to create sustainable health systems for Africa.
In 2017, we focused our community on opportunities in Asia. At ICV Delegation Visit Japan 2017, we introduced U.S. and European biopharmaceutical companies to investors, potential partners and government officials located in Tokyo and Yokohama.
After hearing the personal story of Jeff Amershadian, a successful investment banker who raised over $150 million for various companies, then departed from Wall Street after he made a promise to his dying sister that he would dedicate his life to funding research for people with all terminal conditions, ICV announced two events to convene family offices around golf, innovation and philanthropy. In November 2017, we hosted ICV St. Augustine: PGA Pro-Am Tournament & Pediatric Innovation Forum.
In January 2018, we hosted ICV Scottsdale: PGA Pro-Am & Cancer Research Forum, where Dr. Karen Knudsen, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, one of six women in the United States to serve as director of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center, presented the ICV Group Cancer Breakthroughs Fund as a vehicle to direct donated capital to proof-of-concept studies that typically go unfunded through traditional government and industry sources.
At ICV San Francisco 2018 at the University of California San Francisco, we hosted a series of presentations where change-makers and forward-thinking leaders shared their ideas and evaluated opportunities to solve some of the most complex challenges in human health. Investors and philanthropists
On the margins of the 142nd Session of the World Health Organization Executive Board, we hosted our first event in Europe, in collaboration with UNAIDS, Johnson & Johnson, and the Global Health Diplomacy. At ICV Geneva 2018, we developed innovative partnerships between governments, investment firms and the private sector to catalyze blended investment in innovations and drive transformational aid for development.
For centuries, the Kogi, a secretive people living high on the rugged slopes of a mountain in Colombia, had remained out of contact until it become clear to the Elders that “Younger Brother’ has created potential existential threats for all: climate change. In partnership with UNESCO, Center for Earth Ethics, Forum 21 Institute, The Oracle Institute and The McCollum Foundation, ICV presented the Original Caretakers Ceremonial Visit to restore and rebalance Sacred Sites in North America. A once-in-a-lifetime journey with the Kogi Mamos and Otomi Shamans, we traveled to Virginia, Colorado and California to deliver an urgent message to Younger Brother.
During UNGA, we were empowered to take an innovative approach from outside the nonprofit sector, and launched nonprofit and for-profit businesses to catalyze blended investment and innovation for impact.
Led by a team of investment professionals who bring decades of experience in the areas of sourcing, analyzing, structuring, and financing impactful, mission-driven businesses, we launched Catalytic Philanthropy to aggregate private and institutional donated capital for a diverse range of projects that can create systemic change. We use all possible tools and donor resources available to solve the most pressing problems that no one nonprofit can solve alone.
In 2018, ICV Group, Inc. was granted status as a tax-exempt public charity as defined by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sections 501(c)(3). We launched 10 catalytic projects are led by changemakers who have the character, courage and commitment to solving the world’s greatest challenges.
12 Projects to Save the World
The Cancer Breakthroughs Fund, a partnership between ICV and Jefferson, was created to invest in proof-of-concept studies that typically go unfunded through traditional government and industry sources, fuel early-stage investigators in cancer research, and support the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians who hope to write the final chapters of the story that puts cancer into the history books. We are proud to work with Dr. Karen Knudsen, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Association of American Cancer Institutes’ President-Elect, who is one of the top researchers of prostate cancer in the world.
The Cancer Breakthroughs Fund can also allocate to the ICV Cancer Impact Grants to fuel the research of HDFCCC’s most promising and innovative physician-scientists. Each quarter, Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS – President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professor in Oncology— and the HDFCCC review panel, will select one Impact Grant winner. All ICV members will be kept abreast of the latest findings and breakthroughs made possible by the Fund and the projects of the grant recipients.
The Every Breath Counts Fund is a private-public partnership of some of the biggest names in development that formed the Every Breath Counts Coalition, where ICV shall bring visibility to the burden of pneumonia, the leading killer of children under 5. ICV is working closely with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to serve the most vulnerable population, Nigeria, by catalyzing investment in innovations and breakthrough technologies.
The Give Freedom Fund is designed for wealthy individuals who wish to advance the well-being of humankind but who may not have the time to diligence organizations or who consider their allocations too large for the capacity of early-stage organizations. ICV has carefully selected early and mid-stage nonprofit organizations — focused on ending modern slavery, human trafficking with an emphasis on sex trafficking, and violence against women and children — for a portfolio structured within a donor-advised fund. ICV conducts extensive due diligence on the organizations, gaining transparency which we, in turn, provide to our donors along with measurable results.
The Inner and Outer Peace Fund is designed to advance human potential and effect positive change for humankind. Through Educate Hearts and Minds, we will create synergistic programs between the west and the east to foster benevolent human beings. The initial focus of the Fund will be to allocate capital to educational organizations in low-income communities.
In our overly stimulated and chaotic world, A Modern Day Sacred Space helps us find authentic presence in a culture of busyness. This groundbreaking and iconographic meditation orb reinvents the concept of sacred space, with purposefully built installations that reduce stress and restore mind body balance. We will host Spiritual Retreats for investors, philanthropists, entreprenuers and change makers in comfortable and inspirational settings: To do good outside, we must go inside.
New Era World Model will build economically empowered, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable communities while maintaining their cultural dignity and natural identity. The NEW model engages community leaders and works from the bottom up, then to the top down to create a sustainable system that the community wants.
The Next Pandemic Fund seeks to transform the model of vaccines through the innovation of biodiversity. We will fund technologies that understand how one species connects with the next (i.e. redox biochemistry and cellular communication). 10% of the fund will be dedicated to the training and support of farmers in the transition to regeneration, as we believe that the first line of defense against the next pandemic is healthy immunity in soil and water systems.
The Omnis Fund, a partnership between ICV and the Omnis Institute, was created to support critical research focused on solutions to the health disparities in both refugee camps and urban refugee communities.
Preventing Nuclear War Fund supports two campaigns to help global citizens understand the enormity of worldwide climate disruption caused by a limited, regional nuclear war and to shift nuclear weapons budgets and investments to better purposes. Back from the Brink will employ a strategy to help global citizens understand the enormity of worldwide climate disruption caused by a limited, regional nuclear war; the great and increasing danger that nuclear weapons will be used; and, the reality that nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to our health, safety, and security. Move the Nuclear Weapons Money will employ a strategy to shift nuclear weapons budgets and investments to better purposes, such as economic development, ending poverty, protecting the climate, supporting renewable energy, creating jobs, and providing adequate healthcare, housing and education for all.
Water is a Human Right will advance the efforts of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, the world’s first initiative that is engaging the planet’s many faiths as allies in efforts to create a world where every human being has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene.
The Waves are the Oceans Fund focuses on coral restoration, marine life conservation and preventing and reducing ocean pollution.
In June 2018, ICV launched its first investment fund, the ICV Venture Engineering Fund I, LLC to invest in privately-held emerging life science companies: transformative technology platforms that have proven, scalable, platform technologies that will transform large markets and enable multiple deals and fast exits.
In 2020, we plan to launch The Afya Fund to transfer the value of recent developments in medical technology from western sources to emerging markets, with a focus on strengthening African health systems.
Today, we are conscious of the needs of people in all corners of the world and we are aware of the condition of the planet. From this awareness has emerged a new kind of collaboration between governments, corporations, investors, philanthropists, civil society leaders, and academia to address the social and environmental challenges we face.
More than ever before, the brightest minds are leveraging their collective resources and shared aspirations to build businesses that will reshape traditional industries and achieve greater good for humankind. This is the time when institutional investors and philanthropists must redefine their overall strategies to be more impact-oriented.
Over the next 20 years, the world’s wealthiest are expected to transfer more than $30 trillion to their children and grandchildren. With the inheritance of unprecedented wealth comes enormous responsibility. This vibrant next generation will answer the call by focusing on social impact as key to their investment decisions.