ReGen18 was born through an epiphany during a follow-up phone call with a high net worth family office in August of last year. I had tried to interest them in a project I really believed in and was working for, a pine resin project with the Purépecha people in Michoacan that would result in unprecedented indigenous wealth coupled with massive scalable regenerative forestry as a great response to climate change, with a success rate for the trees four times higher than the national average.

This was an exclusively environmentally focused family office, an organization with the mandate to preserve and expand intergenerational wealth handed down from some pioneering entrepreneur to enable third generation family members to live on what he or she had built. That meant it had a mandate to think long term, intergenerationally. But it literally had no way to look at the full value created by Ejido Verde. (Read Ejido Verde summary for a family office)

The response from the family office was, “We love the scalable regenerative forestry. That’s amazing; we have not seen anything like it. But we have no way to factor in indigenous wealth creation. Literally.”

She went on to say they want to track the growth of the trees, if we’d only really told them that, we’d have gotten their money. But they only look at people as an input and a risk. Will they chop down the trees or harm fauna? Is there a reliable labor force?

The value was so clearly linked across wealth creation and environmental impact, where one builds on the other, but they were unable to see the full picture. They could see that extraordinarily effective scalable reforestation was happening, but they were literally not able to see that it worked because the forest was making the people enough money to climb from poverty to the level of a white collar Portuguese family. That holistic systemic change to both the environment and the economy was not something this funder could see.

She could see the trees but even her most philanthropic investment models could only see the trees, not its link to community wealth and health as the thing that makes the forestry so exceptional.

And so I realized the need for sustainability focused investors to be able to meet and understand socially focused investors and collaborate from the siloed telescope perspective each has. We need to build a new space where those two valuable strangers come together and get some depth perception. A place valuable strangers can become unlikely allies. That holistic perspective is regenerative; it’s bringing things back to life and away from a system where capital has too much power.

I saw a need, just like I did with SOCAP, to create a place for these valuable strangers, the environmentally focused do gooder investor and the socially focused do gooder investor, to find a new, common ground. Going back to the old indigenous way, creating a relationship centric economy based on reciprocity in relationships, rather than letting the investors extract most of the value.

Then I found Marc Barasch, who has deep experience in the regenerative economy and culture that I saw a need to coalesce so we said let’s put on a conference. Then Holly Dublin joined and we connected to a whole new range of serious global players.

It’s going to be fun.

Join us May 1-4, 2018, in the heart of the Mission in San Francisco for ReGen18, an event designed to help build a regenerative economy that works for all the people and the planet. Register here.