This means that we consider the social and environmental impact of all of our work, including the investments we hold within our portfolio.
This Cabinet Office paper details this approach and provides examples from trusts and foundations. We will work with and learn from others who are considering or have adopted this approach and will share findings.
Our capacity building programme is funded by a £60m endowment we were given by the Cabinet Office in 2015 (this relationship has since moved to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – DCMS). We will spend this over ten years funding programmes which help charities and social enterprises to engage with the social investment market and become investment ready. £47m has been received to date with the remainder due to be received by Access over the next few years.
Rather than simply holding these funds in the bank before they are given in grants in the later years of Access’s life, The Foundation is seeking to use them to make investments which will achieve as much social impact as possible, before being repaid and then used to make grants.
In defining the impact we are seeking to achieve, we developed a set of priorities for how the endowment should be invested which align closely with our mission of increasing the flow of capital to charities and social enterprises.
Janie Oliver, Access’s Finance and Operations Manager, has blogged on the process which the Endowment Working Group went through to develop this approach, as well as regular updates on the composition of our portfolio. We call this the bull’s eye model.
Rathbones manage the endowment for us and invest principally in social and ethical fixed income investments such as charity bonds and other ethical bonds. Over time its ambition is to shift as much as possible of the capital in the endowment to being invested at the centre of the bull’s eye. Given our various constraints (principally how long we can make the investment for) we hope this can rise from around 35% to about 40%.
We publish updates on the distribution of our endowment across the bull’s eye model in our quarterly dashboards.
You can read our blog posts about our endowment investment here.
What we buy
Outside of our programmes, Access’s doesn’t buy a huge amount. However, we still seek to apply our total impact approach across our procurement, for example:
- We source catering for our Away Days from social enterprises such as Crisis and Unity Kitchen
- Our printing has been done by Jericho Print
- External meetings are held in social enterprise venues such as CAN Mezzanine and The Foundry
- Our web developers, Wave, are a values driven co-operative, and our site is hosted by Ecological Hosting, run by renewable energy