News & Insights
Emerging Leaders and Small Business Owners from Latin America visit GP in Seattle
by Nathalia Rodríguez Vega, financial and economic analyst at Global Partnerships (GP)
In June a group of 14 emerging leaders and small business owners from Latin America visited our office in Seattle to discuss how we raise investment capital through strategic philanthropy, and how we use those resources to support and develop sustainable solutions to poverty. Our visitors were nominated as upcoming leaders in their respective fields by their country’s U.S. Embassy office; invited to the U.S. as participants of the State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP); and were brought to Seattle by the World Affairs Council. Our meeting not only gave us the opportunity to share our work but, perhaps more notably, it provided us with a chance to have a dialogue with regional leaders about their views on the role of outcome-oriented philanthropy in solving some of the most pressing social and economic development challenges across Latin America & the Caribbean.
We also chatted about the growing trend in the impact investing field towards emphasizing the importance of measurable outcomes. One highlight from our meeting was when we started discussing Global Partnerships’ (GP) belief in the role that markets should play in creating social impact; at this point, questions and comments flew in from every corner of the conference table. Our brand of impact investing involves utilizing both investment and philanthropic capital to achieve social and financial impact through investments in local microfinance institutions, cooperatives, and social enterprises that understand their clients’ needs. In our experience, the value of using this method for addressing some of the world’s most pressing development challenges is that it creates long-term sustainable and scalable solutions that traditional charities may not be able to accomplish. Our visitors were open to this new approach and eager to ask for examples from our daily work to better understand how we create economically viable solutions for the poor. Moreover, they were interested to learn how we select our partners and ensure that they are reaching bottom of the pyramid populations. These questions gave us the opportunity to explain our screening, due diligence and monitoring processes.
When our talk shifted to our four impact areas (health services, green technology, rural livelihoods, and microentrepreneurship), we shared some additional insights into our work. For example, our visitors were interested in learning how we bridge the last mile (lack of access due to cost/geographical constraints) by leveraging distribution channels from microfinance organizations to offer green technology solutions. The examples we used from our partnerships in countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru not only enhanced our discussion, but also, offered our visitors ideas on how they can apply some of these principles in their work.
We would like to thank the World Affairs Council for giving us the opportunity to meet this group of leaders and entrepreneurs. We thoroughly enjoyed having a meaningful dialogue with them about our passion for our mission to expand opportunity for people living in poverty to improve their own lives.
- Join us at Business of Hope on October 8, 2013 to learn more about how we use catalytic philanthropic capital to pioneer promising solutions to solve the problem of energy poverty.
- Discover why leaders of mission-led organizations believe that catalytic philanthropy has a greater potential than “traditional” philanthropy to launch solutions that are scalable and sustainable.
- Our fall issue of IMPACT, our tri-annual newsletter, will explore how we at GP measure impact and what the numbers and metrics in our reports mean. Don’t miss out—subscribe to receive IMPACT for free in your mail/inbox in September.