Philanthropists to Pool Funds for Health, Education, Opportunity

Philanthropists to Pool Funds for Health, Education, Opportunity

A group of the world's leading philanthropists, including several signatories of the Giving Pledge, has announced a new model for collaborative philanthropy and social change backed by an initial $500 million in funding.

With support from core partners Bill and Melinda Gates, who launched the Giving Pledge with Warren Buffett; Giving Pledge signatories Romesh and Kathy Wadhwani and former eBay president Jeff Skoll; New Zealand-born investor Richard Chandler; and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Co-Impact initiative will make multiyear investments of up to $50 million in support of initiatives with proven leadership and demonstrated results in the areas of global health, education, and economic opportunity. Founded on the belief that systems change and sustainable outcomes require greater collaboration, long-term support for promising approaches, and a commitment from local communities, nonprofits, governments, businesses, and donors, the initiative will work to match new donors with social change leaders who already have on-the-ground expertise. The first grants awarded through Co-Impact will be announced in 2018.

The initiative will be led by Rockefeller Foundation managing director Olivia Leland, a former Gates Foundation officer, founding executive director of the Giving Pledge, and founder and executive director of the Collaborative for Scaling Social Impact. The Rockefeller Foundation, which incubated Co-Impact, will provide staff, operating funds, and ongoing strategic support, while the EkStep Foundation, founded by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and his wife, Rohini, will serve as technical partner and support a number of programs with social platform assets and capacity building.

"We believe that collaboration is critical to solving some of the world's most daunting social challenges," said Leland. "Our goal is to build a community where philanthropists can work and learn together — along with successful social change leaders — to drive extraordinary results. Our hope is that over time more philanthropists will come together to pool resources and expertise to support great social change approaches and drive results at scale."

"There are too few options for philanthropists who want to invest in systems change and are looking for the most promising entrepreneurs and organizations," Melinda Gates told the Financial Times. "Usually, they have to do the landscaping, analysis, and vetting themselves. As a result, we wind up with great ideas that don't get implemented and philanthropic dollars that don't get spent in the most efficient way."

For more information on the Giving Pledge, see the Eye on the Giving Pledge section of the Foundation Center's Glasspockets.org site.

(Photo credit: Co-Impact)