"It has been an incredible journey setting up a grant-making trust, effectively a start-up” – writes Barbra Mazur, who runs the Battersea Power Station Foundation, an independent UK charitable body established by the Battersea Power Station shareholders to ensure that the diverse and vibrant South London communities surrounding the Power Station have access to a new source of funding.
Over recent months there has been a flurry of new impact reports from social investors across the UK. It is great that intermediaries are publishing these reports that show what social investment can help achieve but also highlighting some of the challenges and lessons along the way.
It’s gone by seemingly in a blink of an eye, but Access - the Foundation for Social Investment was launched 3 years ago. We then saw Access as a younger sister organisation, learning from the experience of our early days, with a mandate and tools (ie. grant!) to do things that are needed that we could never do.
Everyone in the charity sector is needing to respond to the ‘digital age’. Many organisations, including The Children’s Society (TCS) are embarking on digital transformation or digital maturity programmes, looking at all aspects of an organisation from the technology used by staff through to digital communications with beneficiaries.
Big Society Capital is actively looking for partners to co-develop investment solutions to provide homes for people in need. Our interview with Thomas Man (Head of Capital Ambition at London Councils) kicks off the “Innovation in Homes” blog series, where we will be highlighting innovative initiatives and partnerships that we have come across.
Like many others, I often use anniversaries as an opportunity to celebrate, reflect and recalibrate. I will soon be entering my fourth year at Big Society Capital so it seemed timely to think back to how my work has changed and developed during this period. One area I would like to focus on is the growth of impact investment.
A year ago, a small group of people from around the UK social investment sector created a very special event at Dartington Hall, with the rather sinister sci-fi title of “The Gathering”. Their aim was to bring social investment leaders together, to bond a community, and to generate a sense of common purpose.
In our third data dives into social investment, we look at the revenue sources and business models being used by charities and social enterprises to create, sustain or grow their positive social impact.
As part of Trustees Week in November we held a fringe event at NCVO’s Trustee Conference to mark a year of running GET INFORMED – Social Investment for Boards. We wanted to give people a flavour of the campaign and the support on offer, from online resources to 1:1 mentoring. It was a great session and we’ve shared the lively discussions through a podcast.
At the recent Association of Charitable Foundations conference, representatives of three smaller foundations shared their experiences and perspectives of making social investments and providing non-financial support to organisations.
Ten Years on from Northern Rock, Jane Hartley, CEO of Vonne, recently made a clear and compelling case for continued grant investment in charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations so that they can channel support to individuals and communities across the North East and Cumbria who need the most help.
In the last few months, Big Society Capital carried out some research to understand the state of the Venture Philanthropy (VP) sector in the UK, in collaboration with the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA).
In this post James Ronicle, Associate Director at Ecorys UK, describes the findings from the latest research collaboration between Ecorys UK and the Policy Innovation Research Unit (PIRU). The two research teams examined the reasons why 25 areas did, or did not, set up a social impact bond (SIB), and summarises the four factors that were essential in ensuring whether a SIB was launched.
On 26th September, a Social Investment Forum organised by Sarasin & Partners, Big Society Capital and Cass Business School asked the question “Is social investment growing fast enough?” Hear the thoughts and experiences of our speakers.