Five years of financial and social returns:
Highlights from Global Partnerships first Social Investor Forum
On Tuesday, June 8, a crowd of 175 people filled a meeting room at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center to hear about Global Partnerships’ five-year track record with microfinance investment funds, a business strategy that has allowed us to accelerate our impact on people living in poverty in recent years, while giving a fixed-income-return to a growing market of social investors.
The Social Investor Forum, a free public event that was the first of its kind, featured Global Partnerships’ president and CEO Rick Beckett and Board President Dean Allen. The organization’s leaders reviewed the results and impact of the three micofinance investment funds that Global Partnerships (GP) has launched since 2005 and screened a video featuring three GP microfinance partners who spoke about why GP is a valuable partner.
Watch the event's 4-minute video presentation
Check out KPLU's coverage of the event
Key points covered at the event included:
- How Global Partnerships’ funds work--including the flow of capital from GP investment fund to microfinance organization to microloan borrower and back again to investor—and the track record to date: GP has been repaid at a rate of 100 percent, and has repaid all investors at a rate of 100 percent.
- How GP investment funds help fill the need for microfinance in Latin America, where 94 million people live on less than $2 day and only 9 million have access to microfinance.
- Diverse portfolio, focus on social impact: Global Partnerships loans to a diverse group of high-performing social enterprise MFIs that combine a sustainable business model with a strong commitment to social impact. The organization’s Managua-based staff leads an exhaustive due diligence process to screen all potential partners for social and financial criteria.
- Who invests in Global Partnerships funds and why: Beckett noted that GP funds are structured to appeal to a variety of social investors:
- Philanthropic investors who like the 12-to-1 leverage that donating to a fund offers
- Foundation investors who want to align their portfolios with their mission
- Individual investors who like the fixed-income-like return and the business-like approach to alleviating poverty.
- How Global Partnerships manages risk for its funds, including an innovative fund structure that includes a philanthropic layer that absorbs risk for the investor and a highly select, diverse portfolio of social enterprise microfinance partners.
- Why Global Partnerships focuses on social impact: Beckett also explained that GP’s focus on social enterprise microfinance institutions serves an increasingly important need, since most capital tends to flow to profit-seeking microfinance organizations that can leave the most vulnerable people behind.
In contrast, the social enterprise MFIs that comprise GP’s portfolio re-invest their profits in their mission either by serving those most often left behind, including women and the rural poor.
Results to date: Over the past five years, "the number of partners that GP has invested in has grown from 9 to 27, the borrowers reached from 150,000 to over 800,000 and capital at work from $2.5 million to $39 million," said Beckett. The leaders also spoke briefly about what they saw as the next developments in microfinance lending, including microinsurance products and other services that MFIs can put into place easily to serve their clients as well as collaboration like that between PATH, GP and Pro Mujer.
If you’re interested in finding out about investment opportunities, contact Jason Henning (206.652.8707).
Watch the event's 4-minute video presentation:
Microfinance partners video.