By Astrid Zweynert
SAN FRANCISCO (TrustLaw) - Omidyar Network, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development have committed $6.5 million to support the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) in its efforts to increase access to impact investing.
The partnership, announced this week, is intended to increase the scale and effectiveness of impact investing and to sustain the GIIN’s leadership as a steward of the emerging impact investing market, the organisations said in a statement.
Impact investments are investments made into companies, organisations and funds with the intention to generate positive measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.
“Impact investing promises to improve billions of lives by catalyzing sectors, from affordable, high-quality education to clean, solar lighting,” said Matt Bannick, managing partner of Omidyar Network.
The impact investing industry has the potential to steer significant capital to market-based solutions in sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, affordable and accessible healthcare, clean technology, financial services for the poor and other sectors addressing the world’s most pressing problems.
GIIN was conceived in October 2007, when the Rockefeller Foundation gathered a small group of investors to discuss the needs of the emerging impact investing industry.
Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon the circumstances.
Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, said the foundation had began a multi-year initiative in 2008 aimed fostering the impact investing sector to help support poor and vulnerable people, knowing that it will require more dollars than philanthropy and governments have to solve the world’s most significant challenges.
“Supporting important networks like the GIIN has been an integral part of achieving impact and contributing to large scale social change,” Rodin added.
“The impact investing industry is at an inflection point as interest and practice broaden and offer new opportunities for coordinated market growth,” said Luther Ragin, Jr., GIIN chief executive officer.
The funding will be distributed to the GIIN over three years and will be used to build critical infrastructure and support activities, education, and research that help attract more investment capital in poverty alleviation and environmental solutions.
Support from Omidyar Network totals $2.5 million. The Rockefeller Foundation and USAID have each granted $2 million. USAID’s funding will support impact investing in emerging markets. Funding from Omidyar Network and the Rockefeller Foundation will support projects worldwide.