Pioneers Post

UK should follow Obama's lead with venture philanthropy fund

16 February 2010
Stephen Dawson, the Impetus Trust's co-founder

Stephen Dawson, the Impetus Trust's co-founder, said the Uk government should commit to an equivalent of the US's $50m social innovation fund

The UK government should take inspiration from Obama's administration and establish its own £50m social innovation fund to boost venture philanthropists' work combating social problems.

This is according to venture philanthropy organisation the Impetus Trust, which has issued a response to The Philanthrocapitalist Manifesto, written by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green.

The Impetus Trust's response said the manifesto was 'a bold start at generating ideas for encouraging an environment of more giving, more social investment and better philanthropy'.

The response added that Impetus would like to see a UK equivalent of the US's fledgeling $50m social innovation fund. The $50m will be channelled through philanthropic organisations which will match the funding and pass it on to 'high impact, result oriented non profits', which had a good track record in tackling social problems.

Stephen Dawson, the Impetus Trust's co-founder, said he would like to see the UK government commit £50m or £100m to such a fund. He suggested that Impetus had the expertise to become one of the intermediary philanthropic organisations which channelled the funding in the UK.

He said: 'This idea chimes with the themes of all the major parties. With a constraint on public spending it's going to be all about delivering more for less. They want to experiment with new models that combine the best of public sector, third sector and private sector.'




So, when tracking the performance progressing of venture philanthropy funds, you’re trying to say that we can simply track the program something like dollars - philanthropic equity? Much like Return on Equity right ? But the “return” is measured by program dollars spent and if to take that in to consideration, that you are offering makes no sense....

Venture philanthropy, also

Venture philanthropy, also known as philanthrocapitalism, takes concepts and techniques from venture capital finance and high technology business management and applies them to achieving philanthropic goals. There are three models for engaging in venture philanthropy. The first is traditional foundations practicing high-engagement grantmaking. The second is organizations which are funded by individuals, but all engagement is done by professional staff. Good examples of this type of venture philanthropy are the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City and Tipping Point Community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The third is the partnership model, in which partner investors both donate the financial capital and engage with the grantees. Most of these are pass-through funds. An example of this model is the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund in San Jose, California. Some other examples of venture philanthropy foundations include Social Venture Partners, The Children's Investment Fund Foundation, NewSchools Venture Fund, Acumen Fund, and New Profit Inc.

Thats good to know. Obama

Thats good to know. Obama just signed the brand new href="">jobs bill, and though it seems Republicans are opposing every little thing he does, they should want it – it has a lot more tax cuts than spending initiatives. Social Security taxes are suspended on new hires, and there are payroll tax breaks. (Republicans love tax cuts.)
The government has money to lend, but the bill has been pared down to a palatable $17 billion – not likely to send them running for pay day loans from China, though it appears that's already been done enough – and it can give funding for highway projects.

Better Philanthropy

I find it so interesting to see "better philanthropy" noted as a goal--not just more or continued, but better. The possibilities created by the Social Innovation Fund, and the potential for the UK to do something similar, are so inspiring. And I love the idea of making sure that as we build out, we make philanthropy better.

A major focus of UniversalGiving™ is on quality. We help people give and volunteer with the top performing, vetted organizations all over the world. All our partner organizations must pass our rigorous Quality Model™ to appear on our site. Increasingly, people are thinking about quality in their philanthropy. They want their donation to go to the best possible place, and to be as effective as possible. I think this is an important trend towards "better philanthropy."

Pamela Hawley
Founder and CEO

Living and Giving blog

Too little too late

This may come as something of a surprise to advocates for social investment. To the best of my knowledge the concept of a social investment funds was first suggested to US government by a UK based social enterprise.

This was back in October 2006, a month before UK gov put out the rather vague idea of a £1 million investment fund for social innovation. The SEIF will be distributed top down through a small number of nonprofit foundations.

In contrast ours was a proposal for $1.5 billion funding overseen by civic and community leaders with precise social objectives and clear definition of social enterprise forms. Something UK gov has yet to get its head around.

Funding, it was suggested, was equivalent to the cost of the war in Iraq each week which could be better deployed in a soft power strategy to eradicate poverty.

Jeff Mowatt
People-Centered Economic Development