It is estimated that the emerging impact investments could represent a global market of more than $500 billion in the next five to ten years.
The explosive growth of the sector, including an exploration into theory, policy and practice, was the topic of conversation April 13-16 during the Oxford Impact Investing Programme – a four-day executive education program hosted by Oxford University’s Said Business School.
Sterling Speirn, Kellogg Foundation’s president and CEO, along with Tony Berkley, director of WKKF’s Mission Driven Investing, and Alandra Washington, the foundation’s director of family economic security programs, provided leadership and expertise to the program by sharing with participants real-life experiences, lessons learned and shared opportunity regarding WKKF’s mission driven investing work—a $100 million investment program designed to invest directly in social enterprises that fit the profile of its mission to create conditions that improve the lives of vulnerable children, families and communities.
Speirn noted, “At the foundation we see mission driven investing as an additional tool to complement traditional grant-making, which enables us to achieve our triple bottom line – social returns, financial returns and learning returns, allowing the foundation to gain unanticipated insights from looking at social problem solving through the lens of impact investing.”
Program participants representing 18 countries and industries that span nonprofit, philanthropic, public and financial sectors developed a deeper understanding of social investing, social enterprise, impact investment strategies, evaluation and risk over the course of four days.
Andrea Chen, executive director of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation and WKKF grantee, was a program participant. As a social innovation incubator, Propeller has moved into the space of providing access to capital for its companies, on top of services they already provide including technical assistance, policy support and office space. For example, Propeller is providing more than $190,000 in grant funding for schools in New Orleans, a priority place for the foundation, to transition to a healthy food vendor.
“The impact investing program could not have come at a better time for me,” said Chen. “I met potential investors, tapped into the international conversation and networks around impact investing, learned the nuts-and-bolts challenges and opportunities from peers and experts, learned best practices and created a network in the field that I can call on when I’m back home.”
“The Kellogg Foundation was pleased to join with one of the world’s leading business schools to enrich our impact and to contribute our insights to the program,” said Speirn. “This program was a wonderful opportunity for two global leaders to collaborate and expand the field of impact investing.”