Letter from Tal Ronen, YK Center President and Co-Founder

Dear Friends,

We refer you to the courageous words of our friend, economist Jeff Sachs:

“Six of the G7 countries worked overtime last week to bring Trump around on climate change, but Trump resisted. European and Japanese leaders are accustomed to treating the US as an ally on key issues. With Trump in power, it is a habit they are rethinking…

These are not the priorities shared by most Americans – not even close. A majority wants to tax the rich, maintain health coverage, stop America’s wars, and fight global warming. According to recent polling data, Americans overwhelmingly want to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement, which Trump has pledged to leave. Trump and his cronies are fighting public opinion, not representing it…

Trump’s policies serve the corporate interests that pay the campaign bills and effectively run the US government. What Trump signifies is the culmination of a long-term process whereby powerful corporate lobbies have bought their way to power. Today, companies like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, Continental Energy, and other mega-polluting companies no longer need to lobby; Trump has handed them the keys to the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Energy Department.”

Thank you Jeff, for never failing to speak truth to power. We invite you to read the full article here and strongly recommend you subscribe to Prof. Sachs’ own newsletter for continued updates from the front line. We look forward to working with Prof. Sachs in addressing fundamental environmental and social issues facing the world due to climate change.

You’ll remember from our last newsletter that, in January, we embarked upon our African Mission in Rwanda at the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) to introduce our TransFormNation™ Initiative—a development accelerator program designed to rapidly transform the mechanics of national conversations to achieve quick alignment and to progress rapidly to the implementation of impactful solutions.

Armed with powerful lessons learned in Rwanda, our Spring developed as it should, filled with the birth of new relationships and new possibilities. We have been working diligently to identify the most potent opportunities to accelerate Africa along the path from the billions to the trillions. The solution to directing the necessary deluge of private capital into impact investments in Africa lies in addressing risk. If risks to investors can be mitigated—through private/public partnerships, innovative financial tools, and other methods of creating fertile soil for big capital investment—then the capital will come.

To this end, we have been collaborating with powerful established players to de-risk infrastructure projects in Africa around the critical nexus of Water, Energy & Food: Regions20, Blue Marble Microinsurance (a consortium of 8 of the world’s largest insurance companies), and the Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute, to name just a few. More on this shortly as our first pilot projects on the ground in Africa develop.

You may also remember that, in December, we launched our West Asian & Middle Eastern Mission in at the Globes Business Conference in Israel, where we established an Israel SDG Task Force. This triggered an invitation to participate in the Impact Investment Summit in Armenia in March, where we laid the groundwork for an Armenia SDG Task Force in collaboration with the UNDP and other critical stakeholders. Armenia is ready, willing and able to take on a leadership role in its region, igniting a race to total achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We look forward to collaborating in further development of their 2030 roadmap by 2020 through the TransFormNation™ Initiative.

Back in the U.S., Beverly Hills to be exact, we forged forward in our commitment to produce powerful, creative convenings that encourage meaningful collaboration and alignment with the Global Goals. In close partnership with Lifestyles Magazine, the premier print platform for higher philanthropy, YK Center hosted the inaugural steering committee gathering of Meaningful Influencers, a new platform convening an intimate group of influencers, thought leaders and changemakers in philanthropy and impact investment.

Out of this extraordinary immersive collaborative experience, new opportunities were conceived to work better together in establishing higher philanthropy’s catalytic role as igniters in the social innovation and impact investment funding curve. Ignited by our debrief, follow up events in Chicago, New York and San Francisco are in the works for Q3 and Q4. (Official announcements to come shortly.)

Immediately following this gathering, we continued our work to accelerate the B2T conversation down the street for the rest of the week at the 20th Milken Global summit, an incredible convening of thousands of the world’s most influential changemakers from the business, finance, government, NGO and philanthropic sectors. We were joined by representatives of our network of subject matter experts (whom we’re honored  to acknowledge here), and engaged with many new partners that share a common (uncommon, in fact) vision.

The seeds planted in the Fall have indeed sprouted in the Spring as planned, and are already bearing delicious fruit. But, as always, we at YK Center invite you to accelerate the cycle of Seed-to-Harvest even further. As we approach the longest, and hottest days of the year, please enjoy the warmth of the new season and celebrate the Solstice with us by sprinting into Summer committed to more action with greater impact.

As always, in service of a united humanity,

Tal Ronen
President & Co-Founder, YK Center