Skoll and Laudes foundations back Biegel’s Heading for Change legacy project

The Skoll Foundation and the Laudes Foundation are among the first donors to back Heading for Change, the climate and gender-focused endowment fund announced last month by Suzanne Biegel.

The Skoll Foundation has committed US$500,000, according to Biegel, while the Laudes Foundation has committed a “decent-sized investment”.

Sharing news of the Skoll Foundation’s grant in a LinkedIn post yesterday, Biegel said this “first major contribution” would “help us to grow the number of climate and gender funds we invest in, as well as to increase the size of our investments...  it will also help us to launch our catalytic grants program supporting visionary systems change entrepreneurs and nonprofits”. 

Combined with other donations, and on top of the initial US$1m provided by Biegel and her husband Daniel Maskit, the fund has now reached close to US$2m, Biegel told Pioneers Post yesterday. The couple want to grow the endowment to US$10m. 

Biegel, co-founder of GenderSmart, which is now 2X Global, a network of investors and others which aims to boost investing with a gender lens, revealed last month that she was terminally ill with lung cancer. She has created Heading for Change as her legacy project, with a goal of inspiring other private investors to move their capital with a joint climate and gender lens.

I want us to invest this capital pretty quickly, compared to your average investment fund or philanthropic entity

She told Pioneers Post that the endowment – which was first conceived just months ago – aims to invest in at least 10 funds by the end of summer.

“I want us to invest this capital pretty quickly, compared to your average investment fund or philanthropic entity,” she said.

That timeline was “pretty ambitious”, she added. “Nobody I know has done that. And of course, everything I've done is really ambitious. Nobody in the world would have thought that we could have been launching within two months of my saying out loud that this is what I wanted to do.”


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“Critically important”

Rather than creating a new foundation, Biegel and Maskit have structured Heading for Change as a donor-advised fund, managed by ImpactAssets. 

Individuals can donate as little as US$100 to this fund, which will then make investments in funds “making a difference on climate and gender” as well as giving grants.

Biegel hopes Heading for Change will encourage many other investors to get on board with climate and gender-lens investing. 

The nexus between climate and gender is still not understood... Our seed support is, we hope, a signalling action to show that this is a critically important topic

“Success for me is not just growing the endowment, so that we can invest in more funds or more money into each fund, [and] also do more philanthropy – but also that people put capital into the funds that we're investing in, or funds like them,” she said. 

Leslie Johnston, CEO of Laudes Foundation, said: “Climate action will only work if it involves all of us. The nexus between climate and gender is still not understood or even integrated in how investors and businesses operate. Our seed support of this important initiative is, we hope, a signalling action to show other foundations that this is a critically important topic, and it needs funders – from both the philanthropic and private sectors – to support it”.

Pioneers Post has approached Skoll Foundation for comment.


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