NYU Wagner and Law Professors Recognized for their Collaboration in Impact Finance

Graduate education in impact finance, like socially mindful investment itself, is growing.

Amid broad academic interest in the field in schools of business, law, and policy, the annual Impact and Sustainable Finance Consortium at Northwestern University awarded its first-ever prize for cross-disciplinary collaboration in sustainable finance to Professor Scott Taitel of NYU Wagner and Professor Deborah Burand of NYU Law.

The June convening represented more than 155 faculty members from 65 universities and 17 countries. Taitel was invited to make two presentations – one on Impact Finance Frameworks & Models in the Classroom, and one along with Burand on Cases That Bring Impact Finance to Life. The latter featured a case study that Taitel and Burand conducted on Habitat for Humanity’s MicroBuild Impact Investment Fund. The MicroBuild Fund aims to increase the availability of housing microfinance products for the poor. The case study series is aimed for use in classrooms across law, policy, and business/finance disciplines and in jurisdictions in North America and Africa starting September 2019.

The award recognized Taitel and Burand’s collaboration with Kenya’s Strathmore University business and law schools and Strathmore faculty member Edward Mungai on extending their MicroBuild Fund case – a collaboration crossing two continents, two universities, and four different schools. Supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the prize covers the cost of webinar and multimedia production related to the collaboration, while substantially highlighting NYU Wagner and NYU Law as leaders in multidisciplinary and multicultural case production in the impact finance field.

At NYU Wagner, Taitel leads an interdisciplinary course of NYU Wagner and NYU Stern students in the development of a student-operated Impact Investment Fund. He also directs the school’s MPA specialization in Social Innovation & Investment Initiative, a central hub and incubator in the field of social finance, bringing together policymakers, philanthropists, finance professionals, nonprofits and foundations to collaboratively strengthen the field.

Deborah Burand is the Director of NYU Law’s International Transactions Clinic and Co-director of the Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship. A former general counsel to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the development finance institution of the United States, Burand writes and lectures on issues related to: impact investing; social finance innovations such as social impact bonds; social entrepreneurship; international finance; microfinance and microfranchise; and developing sustainable businesses at the base of the economic pyramid.