The Impact World this Week: 24 May 2024

The most interesting news snippets from around the world. This week: The social enterprise community pays tribute to David LePage, a new report highlights the value of social value and a strategy to mobilise £1tn of impact capital is launched.

Canada: Social enterprise giant David LePage died last week at 75. A social entrepreneur himself, LePage played a major role in developing the social enterprise ecosystem in Canada and internationally, as the founder of Buy Social Canada and the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, and as a Social Enterprise World Forum board member. He was much loved by the social enterprise community in Canada and beyond. In a moving obituary, Buy Social Canada described him as a “a mentor, a co-conspirator, an aggravator (in the best way) and a true revolutionary. He believed that we have everything we need to make our communities healthy and whole”.

UK: Social value is increasingly valued in the UK, says a new report, which found organisations on average are delivering more social value than they are committed to. The Social Value Insights report, published by Social Value Portal this week, shows that social value delivery grew by 650% from 2020 - 2023, with £7.3bn delivered in 2023 alone. Key findings from the report include local government being among the top performing sectors, smaller businesses outperforming larger organisations on social value and London, Scotland and the South East of England delivering the most social value since 2016.

UK: An ambitious five-year strategy aimed at mobilising £1tn of impact capital to investments that benefit people and the planet has been launched by the Impact Investing Institute. Over the next five years, the independent, non-profit organisation, established in 2019 to accelerate the field of impact investing in the UK and globally, aims to see £500bn invested to enable a just transition by advancing climate and environmental action and improving socio-economic distribution and equity. 

Global: Faith-based NGOs are keen on impact finance but concerns about risks remain a barrier. According to a new discussion paper, 78% of faith-based NGOs say it is “likely” they will adopt alternative financial models such as impact investment, blended finance, development impact bonds and recoverable grants within three years. From Aid to Investment: Learnings for faith-based NGOs, foundations and other grant recipients was published by NGO FaithInvest and Christian Aid’s Salt Business Network on 20 May. It found that faith-based aid agencies were “very interested” in innovative ways of funding development, but had concerns about the risk of investments failing, lack of staff expertise and changes in staff culture and perception. The data collected is based on a sample of 25 development agencies, the majority of which are faith-aligned, headquartered in Europe or North America and focusing on work in the Global South. 

UK: The largest expansion of grassroots funding in 30 years has been announced by The National Lottery Community Fund, the biggest community funder in the UK, as it unveiled its new corporate plan for 2024-27. The three-year plan aims to direct funding to more than 80% of areas across the UK, with more than 50% of all grants going to communities experiencing greatest poverty and disadvantage, while at least 15% of funding will go to environmental sustainability projects. David Knott, CEO of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “This plan puts tackling inequality and taking an equity-based approach at the core of what we do. We pledge to extend grassroots funding to communities across the UK, concentrating on reaching places that have not previously sought funding and staying rooted in the communities we serve.”

Movers and Shakers

  • Niklas Adalberth, founder of the Norrsken Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting social entrepreneurship, received the 2024 Esade Award for his innovative business leadership and his commitment to social causes. The Esade Award is presented by academic institution Esade.
  • Penny Hogan is the new chief financial officer of Unity Trust Bank. Hogan has 14 years experience in financial services, including positions at the Co-operative Bank and Deloitte.
  • Kieron Boyle, CEO of the Impact Investing Institute, has been appointed to a new role as chair of the Institute to help deliver its new five-year strategy and continue its long-term mission. The current chair, Dame Elizabeth Corely, will become chair emerita. Boyle will remain in his role as CEO until October 2024 and will be succeeded by Bella Landymore and Sarah Teacher, who have been appointed as co-CEOs of the Institute. Boyle has also been announced as new director of the London School of Economics' 100x Impact Accelerator.
  • Disability rights activist Dr Kush Kanodia has received the 2024 Campaigner of the Year Award from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation for a campaign he led on creating reasonable adjustments for disabled people in London’s ULEZ scheme

Figure of the week: £287m. That’s the amount lent to under-served businesses, social enterprises and households by CDFIs in the UK last year – a record high in their 30-year history – according to a new report by Responsible Finance. Community development finance institutions are not-for-profit organisations that provide loans to social enterprises, businesses and households that would otherwise not be able to access mainstream finance. The report reveals they made 90,531 loans in 2023, with 66% made to women and 11% to people of colour.