Total impact approach

Access takes a total impact approach to its operations, including in investing our endowment.

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This means that we consider the social and environmental impact of all of our work, including the investments it holds within its portfolio.

The 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 Endowment

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. £43m 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. We call this the bull’s eye model.

Bull's Eye Impact Framework image

In August 2016 Access announced our partnership with Rathbones to manage the endowment, following a tender process. Rathbones will invest the endowment funds 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. The initial distribution in the summer of 2016 and the distribution at the end of January 2017 are shown in the table below, along with a few examples of what is in our portfolio. is:

Position in the bull’s eye model

Percentage  of initial portfolio (to 1dp)


Percentage of current portfolio (to 1dp)

(Mar 17)


Charities and social enterprises delivering social impact in the UK



·      Hightown Housing Association (charity housing association providing affordable homes in southern England).



Charities and social enterprises delivering social impact  elsewhere



·      International Finance Facility for Immunisation (financial vehicle supporting Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation).


Other organisations delivering social impact



·      Lloyds Bank Helping Britain Prosper ESG Bond (proceeds fund small-scale renewable energy projects, and SMEs and healthcare providers in deprived areas of the UK).


Other organisations that have best in class ESG indicators (priority on S&G)




·      Marks & Spencer (retail group with sector-leading performance in sustainable business practice).






We will publish updates on this distribution quarterly and we look forward to working with other foundations who are pursuing this approach to share our experiences.

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: