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Impact Allies Dinner

Participant Biographies

Howard Fischer: Founder/Gratitude Railroad

As CEO of Basso Capital Management I serve as the PM of our dedicated SPAC fund and oversee operations and marketing. As the Chief Evangelist at Gratitude Railroad I work to grow our community of active impact investors, participate on several advisory committees and assist in the identification and analysis of investment opportunities.


Our mission is to support investors in moving capital from traditional finance to impact investments that create deep social and environmental impact, without compromising financial returns.

We are a community of investors who are inspired and dedicated to solving environmental and social problems through the profitable deployment of financial, intellectual, and human capital.


We operate an alternative investment platform that allocates capital into businesses and investments that generate both authentic impact and superior risk-adjusted financial returns.


Ryan Darnell: Managing Partner/Max Ventures

Max Ventures is an early-stage venture firm based in New York City with a global reach.

We are first-check investors who lead or co-lead rounds and primarily focus on digital health, SaaS, and digital commerce.

We’ve also co-founded 7 venture backed companies and believe our combination of investing and building make us the ideal day zero partners.


Ryan is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Max Ventures. He’s made 50+ seed investments since inception and has also founded 4 VC-backed companies. Ryan also co-founded Evolving E with GGV Capital. Evolving E has become one of the largest digital commerce and consumer internet communities on the east coast.


Chintan Panchal: Founding Partner/RPCK

Co-founder of a specialized law firm with a strong focus on Impact Investing, corporate finance and social enterprise. I work with multiple bottom line investors and entrepreneurs around the world to design and execute commercial and finance structures that drive impact.


Chintan is a Founding Partner at RPCK and head of the firm’s New York office where he focuses on corporate and finance transactions, with an emphasis on impact finance, private investment funds, and family offices.


As a corporate advisor, entrepreneur, and sustainability professional, Chintan brings a unique perspective to his practice, counseling private equity, foundation, family office and growth company clients on corporate merger & acquisition, finance, and dispute resolution matters.


Under Chintan’s direction, RPCK has developed a dedicated impact investing practice, advising both mission-aligned investors and social enterprises. The firm works closely with clients to execute capital investments in both emerging and developed markets that generate social and environmental impact alongside market rate and risk-adjusted financial returns. Drawing upon deep commercial lending, private equity and industry specific experience, RPCK helps clients analyze opportunities and structure transactions that achieve long term, measurable results


With a diversity of experience building impact-focused concepts into commercial transactions, Chintan has become a thought leader on how finance can be harnessed to address social and environmental targets. He has represented clients in many of the leading impact-focused private investment funds and advisors including Imprint Capital, Align Impact and Fresh Source Capital, and family offices such as the Blue Haven Initiative, Zoma Capital, and the Open Society Foundations.


In addition to his corporate practice he has performed pro bono work representing displaced US workers denied retraining benefits under the Workforce Reinvestment Act, and also served as a member of the team representing 11 Yemeni detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Chintan has a law degree from Emory University and is a member of the bar in New York and the District of Columbia.


Julia Paino: Partner/Desert Bloom and Co-Chair of Impact Investing/NEXUS Global

Julia Paino brings experience across operations and investments in purpose driven enterprises with a focus on CPG. Most recently, Julia founded a nationwide food company, Swoffle, and joined as a founding venture partner of NextGen Ventures, She also serves as a senior executive of Paino Organics and is an advisor to several CPG and impact oriented companies. Julia is a mentor and judge for MassChallenge, NECEC, CleanTech Open and MIT. Julia first started her career on assignment with National Geographic where she documented wildlife and photographed the natural landscape from low flying float planes. 


Building A New Future For Food: Desert Bloom is a next-generation food vehicle that invests in and helps build dynamic companies that are re-shaping our food environment to meet consumer aspirations, and support health and environmental regeneration.


Peter McCrea: President/American Impact Capital

Impact Investing and Venture Philanthropy are my primary areas of focus. I am always interested in creative and efficient ways of solving the world’s challenges. I have provided pro bono advisory services to private social impact companies and nonprofit organizations such as MIT Solve, TechSoup, and The Preservation Fund. 


My background includes experience in motion pictures, commercial real estate, land planning, micro-finance, conservation, financial services, royalty investment structures, and all areas of philanthropy. 


Originally from California, I spent the first decade of my career as a film editor, documentary cinematographer, still photographer and screenwriter in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Subsequently, I spent eight years in environmental land-planning, designing sustainable land-use plans for public and private landowners. I was a founding member of the American Cinema Awards Foundation, honoring legendary performers in film, television and music such as Clint Eastwood, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, Whitney Houston and Elizabeth Taylor, for the benefit of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. After moving to the northeast, I served as Director of Business Development at LHO Group, a Registered Investment Advisory firm founded by Leif H. Olsen, former Chief Economist at Citibank. For six years, I was a member and Chairman of the Livelihoods Council at Save the Children, focused on food security and financial security through agricultural support and micro-finance.


American Impact Capital Mission: To amplify the impact of philanthropic capital by investing in groundbreaking companies whose values and business goals are aligned with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We understand the worlds of entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and finance, and we bring a for-profit mentality to philanthropy and social impact investing. We Serve:

 • Entrepreneurs • Family Offices • Philanthropists • Public Charities • Private Foundations •Donor Advised Funds • Community Foundations • Financial advisors


Charles Merinoff: CEO/The Charmer Sunbelt Group and Partner/Gratitude Railroad

Charlie Merinoff is a principal founder of Breakthru Beverage Group (BBG), the innovative beverage wholesaler formed by Charmer Sunbelt Group (CSG) and Wirtz Beverage Group on January 1, 2016. He currently serves as Co-Chairman of BBG’s Board of Managers. The operations of the company and its affiliates spans 16 markets throughout North America, and the company represents a portfolio of premier wine, spirits and beer brands totaling more than $6 billion in annual sales.


Scott Pinkus: Investment Partner and Advisory Board Member/Gratitude Railroad

Scott Pinkus is a former partner at Goldman Sachs and currently focuses much of his attention on investing in and advising various new business ventures, while also being involved in a number of not-for-profit activities. His particular interest is in the area of Sustainable and Impact Investing. Scott is on the Senior Advisory Board of the Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley where, among other things, he has been helping to develop the school’s Sustainable and Impact Finance Initiative. He was also the Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Master’s in Financial Engineering program at Haas since the inception of the program in 2001 through 2018. Scott also currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Eugene Lang College at the New School University in New York City and is on the Investment Committee of the University.


Scott retired from Goldman Sachs in 2000, after having been at the firm since 1986 and a partner since 1990. At Goldman Sachs, he focused on developing the quantitative finance capabilities of the firm in various areas, having founded and headed up their Credit Derivative business, the Fixed Income Research Department and before that the Mortgage Securities Research group. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Scott held similar positions at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.


Scott received both an MBA (1981) and a B.S. in Economics (1980) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Jeff Gitterman: Partner at Gitterman Wealth Management, LLC, CEO at Gitterman Asset Management, and Co-host of TheIMPACT and The Great Repricing Shows at

I am passionate about climate change and how the markets can be used to drive capital towards climate-focused strategies and adaptation. At Gitterman Asset Management, we have created investment models for advisors interested in providing their clients with ESG and climate-focused solutions. At Gitterman Wealth Management, we serve high-net worth individuals, college professionals, endowments, and foundations looking to align their capital with purpose.


As co-host of TheIMPACT and The Great Repricing shows at, I highlight issues about ESG and climate-focused topics. I am also the author of Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity and an Associate Producer of the feature documentary film Planetary.


In my spare time, I advocate for autism research through my role on the Board of Directors for the Child Health Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. For more information please visit and


Rob Schultz: Partner/Capricorn Investment Group

Robert Schultz is a Partner of Capricorn Investment Group.  Prior to Capricorn, he was the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Greentech Capital Advisors, an investment bank and asset management firm focused on creating a more efficient and sustainable global infrastructure, which was sold to Nomura in April 2020.   Prior to Greentech, he was a Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Morgan Stanley Fund Services and before that was a Managing Director and Head of Alternative Fund Services, North America for HSBC.  Rob is a Chartered Accountant and received his Bachelor of Commerce, with Honors, from Queen’s University in Canada.  He is currently a Director of Help for Children and on the Advisory Board for Brighter Children.

Rob Schultz is a Partner at Capricorn Investment Group.  One of the largest mission-aligned firms in the world, Capricorn Investment Group was born from a belief that sustainable investment practices can enhance risk-adjusted returns. Underlying this investment approach is a deep desire to demonstrate the huge investment potential that resides in breakthrough commercial solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. With offices in New York City and Palo Alto, the firm has grown to manage more than $10 billion in multi-asset class portfolios for families, foundations and institutional investors.


Amy King: Chief Executive Officer/Pallet Shelter

Amy King is the Founder and CEO of Pallet Shelters, the Leader in Rapid-Response Shelter Villages, based in Everett, Washington.  Pallet is social purpose company on a mission to build equal opportunity access to housing and employment. For the more than half a million people facing homelessness across the United States, our durable, portable, and affordable shelters are a stepping stone out of personal crisis and into a life of stability — because a home changes everything.


Sharon Schneider: Founder and Principal/Integrated Capital Strategies 

Sharon Schneider is an entrepreneur, impact investor, philanthropy expert and strategy consultant to the next generation of social impact founders and family offices. She is Founder and Principal at Integrated Capital Strategies which specializes in setting up and working with hybrid impact organizations that use a range of tools to accomplish their social mission, from grants and investments to advocacy and even operating businesses.


Sharon works with Blue Room Investments, a Denver-based start up private investment company whose mission is to change the world through best-in-class investing. We believe that diversity of thought + background positions us at the cutting edge of understanding investment opportunities and the world in a new and innovative way.


Alfonso Medina: CEO/Madelon Group

Alfonso Medina was born in Longview, Texas in 1983.

After having designed one of the first ground-up co-living buildings in the world, he co-founded Madelon, a startup focused on the future of housing, where he currently serves as CEO. He is currently Chairman and CEO of Ikigai Holdings, a real estate holding company that encompasses Co-CEO BlokableDevelopment, Construction and Architecture companies in New York City, Mexico City and Tijuana. 


Madelon Group, a housing company that streamlines the development process for modern, urban living spaces, in partnership with private investment company Blue Room Investing, today announced an affordable housing partnership and its latest housing project located in the bustling Santa Fe Arts District in Denver, Colorado. Part of their long-term initiative to combat the U.S. housing crisis, this venture is the first ground-up housing project that utilized Madelon Group’s REDtech platform, an innovative real estate development platform designed to facilitate a seamless start-to-finish approach to multifamily prefabricated and modular development.


Aaron Holm: Co-CEO/Blokable

Aaron’s background is building businesses that transform industries and in 2016, he launched Blokable. Aaron has founded and led businesses and product teams, notably spearheading Amazon’s first two physical retail businesses, Amazon Go and Amazon Books. At Amazon, Aaron saw first-hand the opportunity to apply advanced technology, supply chain and logistics to enable innovative and integrated business models in the built environment. Prior to his time at Amazon, Aaron, among other projects, co-founded Mylio, a software startup that protected and organized large libraries of personal photographs and memories. Mylio has raised over $55M from technology industry leaders including Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Marc Benioff and others. He also co-founded Industrial Color, a global leader in digital media Software as a Service, where he built a world-class team and digital media infrastructure that serviced customers like NBC, Warner Bros, Victoria’s Secret, Sony Pictures, Gap/Old Navy, CBS and Publicis. Aaron was CTO and head of the software business.


Industrial Color sold in successive private equity transactions for over $100M. Aaron has put his deep experience applying advanced technology to transform traditional industries to work at Blokable. He understands the complications inherent to the development of physical space and the opportunity to create the technology and logistics platform necessary to enable Blokable’s Housing Development-as-a-Service model.

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