High Impact Funds: Harnessing Collective Action for Good

March 6, 2014

During the 20 years I have spent working in international philanthropy, I have seen enormous strides made towards the goal of eradicating poverty. Be it through programs on the ground, grassroots initiatives or fundraising campaigns. Despite this progress, much remains to be done. The next step in creating a healthier and happier future for those in need must come from organized, concerted collective action.

The problems facing us today are too great for any one group to tackle alone. We must partner, leverage action, and pool resources in order to make additional progress. One movement in collective action that my organization, Global Impact, is investing in is High Impact Funds.

Designed to be a turnkey solution for donors, especially corporations looking to increase their global citizenship, High Impact Funds harness together small groups of best-in-class charities working on a common issue. This collective action is then leveraged to make a larger scale impact, providing donors (be they individuals, corporations or foundations) with an opportunity to take advantage of these funds so that their gifts and investments go further toward helping those in need.

High Impact Funds are a particularly great tool for corporations because they are easy to implement and require little maintenance on the part of the corporation. These funds give corporations an efficient, effective, and simple way to boost their global citizenship. Plus, these funds can make a corporation’s impact even greater when integrated with a traditional workplace giving campaign, all while simultaneously fostering employee engagement.

The funds are based on key themes that are critical battlegrounds in the fight against poverty. With International Women’s Day just around the corner, Global Impact is this week launching the Women & Girls Fund, the first in a planned series of High Impact Funds. Other funds will focus on education, health, disaster relief, and more.

Why create the Women & Girls Fund? Investing in women and girls is an essential ingredient in bringing an end to global poverty. By investing in a girl, she can lift herself out of poverty and abuse, altering the condition of her family, her community, and the world.

Statistics that represent the reality for women in the developing world are staggering. The majority of the roughly 1 billion people in the world who live in extreme poverty are women. Two-thirds of the children denied primary education are girls. Women and girls make up 98% of trafficking victims. Sixty-six percent of women are illiterate. Women control less than 10% of the world’s assets while performing two-thirds of all labor to produce more than half of the world’s food. When women and girls are left behind and undervalued, the world’s problems are compounded; when mothers lack the means to thrive, their children suffer as well, thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty. We must increase our work to end this cycle.

To increase the resources available to organizations helping women and girls in the developing world, Global Impact is partnering with some of the leading NGOs that are focused on this issue; CARE, World Vision, Plan International USA, and the International Center for Research on Women. Our Women & Girls High Impact Fund helps by providing education opportunities, protection from trafficking and gender-based violence, prenatal and early childhood care, protection from child marriage, and small business loan support. 

Collective action is the way to progress in global philanthropy. It is my great hope that programs like Global Impact’s High Impact Funds will change the world by improving the lives of those in need and inspire collective action among charities, donors and corporations.