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Societal Impact Financing Initiative (SciFi)

The Societal Impact Financing Initiative (SciFi) at ESMT Berlin emerged from the Dialog Neues Geben, an informal exchange between wealth owners, impact investing and philanthropy experts. SciFi seeks to contribute to making progress on financing major societal transformations.

A particular focus lies on harnessing the catalytic potential of private capital for the common good. Starting from the DACH region, SciFi aims to advance giving, impact investing and mission-oriented public-private partnerships in Europe and beyond. Specifically, SciFi prioritizes two major societal transformations:

  • Education: Enabling potential of all

  • Sustainability: Achieving CO2 reduction targets fairly.

Tailored financing tools and cross-sector coalitions are needed to pilot and scale innovative approaches. SciFi brings together a variety of stakeholders for this purpose: impact entrepreneurs, wealth owners, foundations, and, where needed, business and politics. In particular, it aims at promoting the strategic and pooled use of resources: what is the specific role of private capital to advance transformations? What do optimal financing structures look like? How can endowments be managed in an impact-oriented way?

SciFi is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

Blended Finance

Expert forum on March 27, 2023: Blended finance for climate and energy investments

Berlin, Chatham House Rules

Our expert forum brings together different stakeholders to reflect how to jointly mobilize more capital to tackle the climate crisis:

  • European Banks and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs)
  • Institutional investors and asset managers
  • Large foundations and family offices interested in climate finance. 

For more information, visit our page.

Suggested pre-reads


© Convergence


Podcast: Financing Impact

Financing Impact Logo

Financing Impact is a podcast about funding and scaling societal innovation. This podcast is brought to you by SciFi, the Societal Impact Financing Initiative at ESMT Berlin. See detailed episode overview & key takeaways.


See key takeways and links related to each episode:

  • # 1 Dormant assets - with Stephen Muers and Antonis Schwarz
  • # 2 Funding social businesses - with Aunnie Patton Power and Julia Winkler
  • # 3 Power dynamics in funding - with Marta Zaccagini and Ben Wrobel
  • # 4 Systems thinking for climate finance - with Dominic Hofstetter and Kirsten Dunlop
  • # 5 Fostering social innovation - with Gorgi Krlev and Dominik Domnik
  • # 6 Deep impact investing - with Charly Kleissner
  • # 7 Impact investing in public markets - with Krisztina Tora and Eric Rice
  • #8 Impact investing in EdTech - with Marie-Christine Levet and John Soleanicov
Endowment Management

Roundtable on endowment management

Roundtable Stiftungsvermögen

Past event (2022), in German

Hybride Veranstaltung am 9.02.2022 mit 3 Panels zu:

  1. Rendite in Zeiten des Nullzinses
  2. ESG / nachhaltiges Investieren
  3. Impact Investing

Übersicht der Panelisten und Panelistinnen und Aufzeichnung der Panels.


From left to right: Dieter Lehmann (VolkswagenStiftung), Ulrich Müller (Joachim Herz Stiftung), Sissi Hajtmanek (Journalist and Moderator), Georg Garlichs (ESMT Berlin), Anja Mikus (KENFO), Bernhard Knappe (Wilhelm Sander Stifung)


Olga Almqvist

Senior Manager, Societal Impact Financing Initiative (SciFi)

Lars Hartenstein

Non-Executive Chairperson

SciFi on the road

The SciFi team will be participating in the following conferences this year:

  • Deutscher Stiftungstag, May 11th, Berlin
  • Jahrestagung der DeGEval, September 13th - 15th, Magdeburg
    • presenting on impact measurement of social innovation
  • Noah Conference, December 13th - 14th, Zurich
    • participating in panel discussion on how more funding can be unlocked for nature conservation and philanthropy

If you're there and would like to have a chat, do holler!