Venture philanthropy body Impetus Trust’s recently published results for 2010/11 show a 23 per cent increase in income of the charities and social enterprises it supports as well as a 30 per cent increase in the number of people they’ve helped each year.
The report also shows that an independent evaluation by Bain & Company reported that 94 per cent of Impetus portfolio charity respondents stated that without Impetus, they would not have achieved the same degree of change. Their manner of providing business skills to existing social ventures has ensured that the Impetus Trust has registered a significant increase despite the economic climate.
One particular success story is that of the Blue Sky Development and Regeneration, which aims to ‘break the cycle of reoffending’: it was named England’s Social Enterprise of the Year and one of 10 Downing Street’s first two official Social Action Partners. Interestingly, the other official partner was Street League, another Impetus investment which ‘uses football to engage and motivate homeless and other disadvantaged people’.
Camfed International, a charity dedicated to breaking poverty through supporting the education of girls in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, has seen a large increase in income, which prior to investment was £3.26 million, rising in December 2010 to £10.78 million, with 293 young women from Zambia and Zimbabwe graduating to become social entrepreneurs who can lead long-term change in their communities.
Impetus relays a timeline within the report explaining how they can attempt to break the cycle of economic disadvantage in all aspects of life. They highlight patterns of turbulent childhoods, truancy, inability to find a job, committing crimes leading to intermittent short term prison sentences, and finally having a child themselves and repeating the cycle. Impetus’s initiatives target each aspect of the cycle providing solutions and attempt to ensure its end. One story tells of Kieron – a 31 year old male, addicted to crack cocaine and heroin. Now serving a three year prison sentence, Impetus’s investment in the Prisoner’s Education Trust has meant that Kieron is now studying for a Diploma in Drug, Solvent and Alcohol Abuse Counselling and is completely motivated to change, explaining in the report how he discovered, ‘a zest for learning’ and ‘thirst for knowledge’.
The Impetus Trust pride themselves on the results of the reports with a final goal to eradicate world poverty by ensuring a donation to a charity accompanies advice, help and support from the philanthropy experts.
Impetus Trust is an organisation with a different approach when it comes to giving to charity. Working to break the cycle of poverty from all stages of life by investing in charities and social enterprises, Impetus also use their venture philanthropy model to increase growth. Modelling itself on other grant-funding charities, Impetus was the first organisation in the UK to carry out a more integrated approach, after seeing it happen in America, and can reap the benefits if it’s carried out effectively.
It now helps many charities to expand and improve much more sustainably, offering ‘management support, financial resources and specialist expertise’, with an aim of social not financial return. This combination ensures them an increase in the number of people Impetus Trust helps. Their vision is of ‘a world in which people are not trapped in poverty, but where they can get the help they need and want to lead independent and fulfilling lives’ is something they detail on their website.
by Daisy Knatchbull