Social Finance Academy

Program Overview

The appetite for social finance is growing across Canada. Impact funds and green bonds are two of the many new and innovative ideas gaining momentum in the marketplace, and inspiring organizations and consumers to think differently about their investments.

The Social Finance Academy hosted by the Centre for Social Impact at Smith School of Business at Queen's University is an intensive immersion into the world of social finance and its implications for maximizing social benefits while achieving financial results.

By attending this unique program, you will:

  • Gain an understanding of the factors which drive investment across critical demand side sectors
  • Learn how to integrate impact investing tools within your organization to transform outcomes and investment models
  • Achieve measurable financial outcomes and valuable social impacts
  • Become part of a growing global community of professionals in the field of social finance


  • 3020, 200 Front St W.
  • Corporate and individual rate: $1,995+HST
  • Non-profit and public sector rate: $995+HST

This course can be applied to your Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals.

Ceren Kolsarici

"The launch of the Social Finance Academy is an opportunity to build on the recent growth and momentum of Canada’s social finance market. As we look to the future, this kind of practical education rooted in best practices will deepen our collective knowledge in the area of social finance and involve more leaders from foundations and the broader philanthropic sector in the exciting world of impact investing."

Ian Bird
President, Community Foundations of Canada

Program Content

  • Understand decision-making frameworks used by organizations and Boards of Directors when designing a social finance strategy
  • Build a social finance strategy and identify next steps for your specific context
  • Using a systems approach to understand the context in which governments, foundations, private asset managers, and communities are utilizing social finance approaches to advance economic returns and public benefits
  • Develop a critical perspective of our current private and public systems and how social finance disrupts traditional forms of mobilizing capital for public good
  • Gain a critical perspective on the ethical considerations across the social finance spectrum
  • Learn about complexity theory and how to identify a complex problem
  • Learn how to navigate differing stakeholder perspectives and achieve results that advance common goals
  • Understand current options for investment through available funds, products, and platforms
  • Learn from leading practitioners who are creating social finance products
  • Gain an understanding of the different strategies used in impact investing such as program and mission related investments, catalytic capital, and direct investing

Social finance often involves cross sector collaborations to achieve shared social and financial goals. In this session you will work with leading professionals involved in developing social finance solutions in the following areas:

  • Learn how a not-for-profit organization, the Centre for Social Innovation, developed a community bond to structure an investment for two buildings
  • Learn how leading Canadian foundations have aligned their charitable mission to their investment strategy and the due diligence for making a direct investment
  • Learn how public policy levers can be used to collaborate with new partners using investments and contributions to advance change
  • Dive deep into outcomes finance, an approach used by governments, community and private investors to scale and replicate preventative interventions that address social issues within communities
  • Learn how to assess if outcomes finance is the right approach for your initiative
  • Understand how to establish the right partners, develop contracts and build assessment frameworks
  • Learn how social procurement works and how governments and organizations are using social procurement to achieve multiple objectives
  • Learn how to advance social procurement policies
  • Understand risk and liability within social procurement contracts
  • Introduction to current impact measurement practices across this rapidly developing field
  • Understand the current landscape of impact measurement tools in use today, such as the B Impact Assessment used globally to assess the impact for workers, community, and the environment
  • An orientation to how fund managers use the Global Impact Investing Rating System
  • By taking a case study approach or using your specific initiative, you will work with your peers and Smith Faculty to complete your outline for a social finance strategy

Benefits of Participation


  • Network and learn from expert faculty and practitioners
  • Join a rapidly growing global community of social finance professionals
  • Develop practical skills for application in the social finance sector
  • Learn critical tools for assessment of responsible, sustainable and impact investments
  • Understand how to accelerate social impact while earning a financial return


  • Develop knowledge of social finance products and services
  • Learn key decision-making frameworks for guiding impact investment decisions
  • Understand the marketplace including its opportunities and obstacles
  • Inspire an agile culture, supportive of innovation
  • Build and execute cross-sector alliances
  • Gain tools to measure and assess impact investments


Wayne Chu

Wayne Chu
Program Lead, AnchorTO
City of Toronto

Jory Cohen

Jory Cohen
Director of Social Finance and Investment
Inspirit Foundation

Dr. Tina Dacin

Dr. Tina Dacin
Stephen J.R. Smith Chaired Professor of Strategy & Organizational Behavior and Director
Centre for Social Impact, Smith School of Business

Adam Jagelewski

Adam Jagelewski
MaRS Centre for Impact Investing

Karine Jaouich

Karine Jaouich
Chief Operating Officer
Centre for Social Innovation

Trish Nixon

Trish Nixon
Chief Impact Investing Officer
CoPower Inc.

Joanna Reynolds

Joanna Reynolds
Associate Director,
Centre for Social Impact, Smith School of Business

Joyce Sou

Joyce Sou
Executive Director
B Lab Canada

Norm Tasevski

Norm Tasevski
Co-Founder and Partner
Purpose Capital

Bill Young

Bill Young
Founder and President
Social Capital Partners