Phenix Capital is an Amsterdam and London-based investment consultant that is dedicated to connecting impact with capital. They support European institutional investors with the development and implementation of impact and sustainable development investing strategies.

What happens when a philanthropic foundation decides to offer repayable finance for the first time? Anything from stronger relationships with investees to “awful situations”, as we heard in a workshop exploring this question at the EVPA annual conference in November. Pioneers Post digs a little deeper…

About three years ago, a grantee of the UK-based Rank Foundation posed an unexpected question: is there scope to repay our grant?

It was the prompt, says deputy CEO Caroline Broadhurst, for an approach that the 50-year-old foundation has since been testing: offering what they call ‘repayable grants’, which average around £100,000. One of these was repaid in full earlier this year, and payments for the others are “looking good”, according to Broadhurst, who was sharing her experience at last November’s EVPA Annual Conference in The Hague. By 2021, it expects to have distributed about £1m in repayable grants (its overall giving averages £6.5m a year).

Read the entire article on Pioneers Post.

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There were a number of special guests at the 15th EVPA annual conference, Celebrating Impact, in the Hague last week. In no order of precedence they were the city’s mayor, four of the five founders of the Association and HRH Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Her Majesty’s appearance caused an unwonted fuss – not from her, nor from the organisers but from the press and TV corps whose representatives hurtled in in a body, almost bumping into latecomers who were being urged with more than usual energy by the front-of-house volunteers to take their places. She herself took her seat among the 750 delegates almost without anyone being aware of it, She posed for a photo with EVPA CEO, Steven Serneels, to launch EVPA’s impact investing charter, but to the surprise of many I talked to later, spoke not a word and entered and left a number of sessions in the same low key.

The founders (the absentee of the original five was Luciano Balbo, who was unwell) were more forthcoming. Venture philanthropy might sound like a remote concept, said Stephen Dawson but really ‘it’s about people.’ The others agreed and while EVPA has made progress since the preliminary meeting round Dawson’s dining room table, Doug Miller cautioned that ‘the problems we are chasing are moving faster,’ and he pleaded for an increased sense of urgency.

Read the entire article on Alliance Magazine.

This week some 750 people from foundations, investment firms, impact funds, banks and others met to discuss how to invest more effectively for impact, at the annual conference of the European Venture Philanthropy Association.

Among the dozens of conversations Pioneers Post heard, here are five great ideas that jumped out to us.

1. Reconsider whether grantees still expect “free money”

The UK-based Rank Foundation recently started issuing what it calls ‘repayable grants’ – prompted by a suggestion from one of its grantees. The term sounds contradictory, and other funders have suggested they don’t work. But deputy CEO Caroline Broadhurst said one of the several repayable grants the foundation has made so far, which average around £100,000, has just been repaid in full, and payments for the others are on track so far.

“It’s a sort of social contract,” Broadhurst said, adding that expectations of free money have moved on. Grantees, she said,“don’t expect everything just handed to them”.

Read the entire article on Pioneers Post.

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