Get GDI News delivered straight to your inbox.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Emerging Public Leaders announces its first Ghana class

Emerging Public Leaders (EPL), a GDI initiative, announced its first class of fellows in Ghana. The class includes 21 of Ghana’s brightest young leaders, chosen through a competitive process of more than 400 applicants. As part of EPL, these new fellows will be placed in two-year positions within Ghana’s civil service, where they will use their talents to enrich the country’s government and achieve social impact. They will also have access to a broad range of support, including mentoring, professional development, and EPL’s alumni network.

Building from the successful model of the President’s Young Professionals Program of Liberia, EPL is committed to driving development in Africa through a stronger civil service. EPL’s expansion into Ghana is a core part of its strategy towards achieving its goal of building a pan-African network of 500 young leaders in public service by 2021.

To learn more about EPL’s work, check out their website here. And don’t forget to follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook!

Global Digital Health Index launches alongside World Health Assembly

Press Release: Global Digital Health Index launches alongside World Health Assembly

Index to track, monitor, and evaluate the use of digital technology for health across countries

May 22, 2018 – Geneva, Switzerland –  A global group of leaders at the World Health Assembly today launched the Global Digital Health Index (GDHI), an interactive digital resource that tracks, monitors, and evaluates the use of digital technology for health across countries. The GDHI will empower health ministries, funders, policy makers, and industry players to make informed strategic decisions as they build sustainable digital health solutions at scale.

“To achieve universal health coverage over the next decade, coherent use of digital health will be key. The Index will be a valuable tool at national level to know where to focus efforts, and to allow comparison with other countries that have faced similar challenges,” said Dr. Peter Benjamin, Co-Founder at HealthEnabled, a digital health nonprofit that co-facilitates the GDHI with the Global Development Incubator (GDI), an organization that builds social impact startups and partnerships.

Technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, remote patient monitoring devices, and sensors have the potential to save lives, extend the reach of healthcare services, and reduce healthcare costs – yet many countries face persistent challenges in integrating these technologies into their health systems at scale. By benchmarking countries against standardized digital health criteria, the GDHI will allow them to track progress and identify weaknesses within their digital health initiatives so they can mature their digital health policy and practice over time. The GDHI will motivate improvements in national digital health systems and more targeted investments globally, ultimately using digital health to accelerate and monitor the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3, “Ensure healthy lives and wellbeing for all at all ages.”

“Digital technologies have reached a level of maturity wher, if properly deploye, hey can transform healthcare nd build sustainable digital health systems as a common good for al,” said Dr. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake, President of the Commonwealth Medical Association and Chairman of the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health. “s the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health collaborates closely with countries to help them strengthen their health systems through the deployment of digital technologies, the Global Digital Health Index will be an invaluable tool to help us identify countries’ needs and provide support to address them.”

The GDHI steering committee includes a broad range of government, private sector, academic, NGO, and other top institutions and individuals in digital health. The group includes representatives from the Ministries of Health of India, Mali, and Thailand, as well as from Royal Philips, Commonwealth Medical Association, PATH, Asia e-Health Network, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, World Health Organization, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Johnson & Johnson, the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Joanne Peter, Health Tech Lead for Global Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson, noted, “Johnson & Johnson is proud to be an early supporter of the Global Digital Health Index, a tool to help countries around the world move towards mature digital health systems that are more efficient, more responsive to data and trends, and more patient-centered. We believe that digital technologies are an essential enabler as we work collectively to change the trajectory of health for humanity.”

The GDHI’s development began in 2016, when HealthEnabled and GDI partnered with Dalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG), ThoughtWorks, and representatives from 20+ countries and 50+ international agencies to ideate on a tool that could help countries benchmark and monitor their investments in digital health over time. Using the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) eHealth Strategy Toolkit, the GDHI took shape. Since its beginning, the GDHI has received financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Royal Philips, and HIMSS.

“By measuring the impact of digital tools and technologies, we can help increase levels of understanding, collaboration and adoption of value based care strategies,” said Jan Kimpen, Chief Medical Officer at Royal Philips. “This means working towards better healthcare experience and outcomes, achieved at lower cost. Royal Philips launched its Future Health Index three years ago to help benchmark and evaluate the impact of connected care, and we welcome the launch of the Global Digital Health Index as a complementary platform to support more patient centric and sustainable global healthcare.”

The GDHI version one that launched today includes data from 10 countries including Bangladesh, Benin, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Dr. Ousmane Ly, CEO of the National Agency for Telehealth and Medical Informatics of Mali, commented: “The Index is a fantastic opportunity for countries to assess the progress made and understand what steps they must take to ensure digital health provides all citizens with quality care. Mali will use the Index as a permanent monitoring tool for its national digital health program.”

Dr. Robyn Whittaker, Associate Professor University of Auckland & Clinical Director Innovation Waitemata District Health Board, participated in the initial workshop to design the Index. She commented, “The Index comes at a great time for New Zealand, as the Ministry of Health has been working on our digital health strategy. While New Zealand has been doing really well on some fronts, the Index helps us to take a comprehensive look across the range of indicators and identify areas where we might be falling behind, in addition to helping us measure our overall progress.”

Countries looking to learn more about their digital health maturity, how it compares to other countries, and how they can improve it are encouraged to reach out to info@digitalhealthindex.org to contribute data.

Media contact: For media inquiries, contact communications@globaldevincubator.org.

About HealthEnabled: HealthEnabled is an Africa-based organization that helps governments integrate proven life-saving digital health interventions into their health systems. Learn more at www.healthenabled.org.

About the Global Development Incubator (GDI): GDI is an organization that builds startups, incubates partnerships, and strengthens existing organizations for social impact around the world. Learn more at www.globaldevincubator.org.

GDI kicks off collaboration with FHI Ventures

GDI is excited to kick off a collaboration with FHI Ventures, which launched today as a social enterprise accelerator supporting early stage businesses with the potential for high impact and a commitment to delivering social and financial returns.

 

GDI will provide tailored support and coaching for each company in the inaugural accelerator class of FHI Ventures – helping them hone in on their endgame strategy for scaling impact and set specific action plans into motion.

 

Alice Gugelev, Director at GDI, joined representatives from USAID, ANDE, the Global Accelerator Network, and Innovations in Healthcare at the launch to discuss discussed the realities of impact investing in emerging markets with the FHI Ventures-selected social enterprises (above).

Glasses Change Lives: EYElliance featured in New York Times

A pair of eyeglasses can change a life – without good vision, children can’t learn, and adults are excluded from a world of economic opportunity.

That’s the central idea behind the EYElliance, a multi-sector coalition increasing global access to eyeglasses at scale, that the New York Times featured on its front page today.The article, titled “A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives: Eyeglasses” highlights global efforts underway to address untreated vision problems, which cost the global economy $200 billion annually to lost productivity, according to the W.H.O.

GDI is proud to have incubated the EYElliance in its early stages, from shaping its first strategic plan together with partners from VisionSpring and developing its brand with Emergence Creative, to building a business plan and eventually transitioning the initiative in 2016 a new home at the Tides Center. We’re thrilled to see the progress the EYElliance has made in the past two years to identify proven models and integrate them into existing systems that can expand glasses access for all, and we hope this story opens new doors for the initiative as it continues to drive coordinated action!

Read more about GDI’s collaboration with the EYElliance here.

 

GDI-incubated Collaborative for Frontier Finance hosts workshops at Sankalp Forum 2018

GDI-incubated Collaborative for Frontier Finance (formerly for the Collaborative for Early Stage Finance) hosted two workshops at Sankalp Forum 2018: 1) idefining asset classes for early stage finance; and, 2) capital advisory models and opportunities to improve their sustainability. These workshops were two in a series of meetings the Collaborative is hosting to uncover pain points that hinder progress in early stage finance and design solutions to overcome them.

This workshop was run in collaboration with Intellecap and funded by Collaborative for Frontier Finance anchor partner, infoDev at the World Bank. GDI is leading the design and incubation of the Collaborative, a new initiative that aims to catalyze $5B in appropriate capital for early stage and moderate growth enterprises

To read more about these workshops, take a look at the Post-Event Report from Sankalp.

GDI-incubated SDG Compacts speaks at Responsible Business Summit NY

It’s no secret that we can’t achieve the SDGs without concerted action from groups across sectors – but how can businesses in particular integrate SDG targets into their operations, when their primary responsibility is often to shareholders?
That’s the core question Dr. Paul Zeitz, co-founder of GDI-incubated SDG Compacts, will discuss with business and CSR leaders on Monday, March 26 at the Responsible Business Summit NY. Specifically, Dr. Zeitz’s presentation will aim to help businesses understand the critical role they must play in helping cities and local governments accelerate local-level implementation of the SDGs – and how they can move from ideas to action.
His fellow panelists include Richard Ellis, Group Head of CSR, Walgreen Boots Alliance; Adam Gordon, Engagement Director, Global Compact Network USA; Ahsiya Gordon, Director, Pulse & Global Volunteering, GSK; and Cassandra Nattrass, Sr. Business Development Manager, Southpole. The workshop titled “SDG Integration” will cover key questions including:
  • How to fully integrate the SDGs into business operations and communications
  • How to decide which integration method is most appropriate to a given business
  • How a business can bring senior management, employees, investors and suppliers into the SDG integration process
Following the panel discussion, participants will split into working groups in which they can share and get feedback on specific SDG integration action plans to take back to their businesses.
Follow the conversation at #RBSNY on Monday, March 26 from 11:30am-1pm ET and follow SDG Compacts at @SDGCompacts.

5 Minutes with a Social Agitator – Sarika Bansal of BRIGHT Magazine on igniting productively uncomfortable conversations

In this installment of 5 Minutes with a Social Agitator, we talked to Sarika Bansal, the editor-in-chief of BRIGHT Magazine (formerly the Development Set) and founder of Honeyguide Media. Here, Sarika discusses the role of compelling, nuanced storytelling in shaping how we think about and solve global development challenges.

In a nutshell, what big global problem are you trying to solve, and how?

My goal is to help people see each other as human beings, through journalism. I came into journalism in a slightly untraditional way;I had previously worked as a consultant for McKinsey and in microfinance. I transitioned to writing because I grew to understand that before we can solve big development challenges – whether it’s global health or gender equality – we need people to see each other as human beings. Storytelling has a huge role in changing that. I came into journalism determined to present each person with as much dignity as I could – and that still drives what I do.

At BRIGHT Magazine we are trying to publish stories that are about social issues in a way that isn’t dull, is more vibrant, and involves more voices than traditional journalism.

What are some key elements of each Bright Magazine story that help you do that?

We have five storytelling principles, and each story we publish usually hits two to three of them:

  1. Experimenting in storytelling format – We’re trying to be creative in publishing with things like comics, short stories, and photo essays.
  2. Keeping our stories jargon-free and approachable.
  3. Staying solutions-oriented when it’s possible – That means we’re not shying away from the potential solutions, and also not just presenting the global south as a place of war and destruction.
  4. Making people uncomfortable – We try to have conversations that are deliberately provocative, but that will also make people smarter.
  5. Showcasing a diversity of storytellers – we mean this in every sense of diversity.

If you could get two groups that don’t usually collaborate to work together in some way to help solve a global challenge, what would that look like?

In the U.S. the hyper-partisan news has in part destroyed people’s empathetic muscles. When BRIGHT Magazine did our refugee issue, some of the comments we received were…so bad. We were trying to reach an audience that wouldn’t necessarily be generous towards refugees, but it didn’t work. Sadly, I have become more cynical over time about how possible it is to evoke empathy.

There is still more work to be done among the hyper-privileged who say they support certain things, but don’t actually change their lifestyles to act upon it. With that in mind, I would bring a group like those that went to Davos, the “limousine liberals” – people who say things such as “black lives matter” but never actually do anything – together with, say, young student debaters. The students would ask the adults why they say the right things but haven’t effected change, and haven’t changed their lifestyles to fit their supposed social values. I would love to have some popcorn and watch how the conversation plays out.

Tell us a story of a time something went massively wrong with your work, and how you rebounded.

For our refugee issue, we did a story about how Christians in the U.S. are fighting the refugee ban. We tried to bring the story to Christian groups as part of our engagement strategy and it didn’t catch fire. It showed we weren’t ready to be a part of that conversation, and that we weren’t the right people to present it.

We didn’t have authentic relationships with people in those communities and that showed. I was hoping it would result in responses on Christian blogs and dialogue with Christian churches. We did a good job of outreach, but it was just too far outside of our comfort zone. We are now trying to understand our existing audience better and cover topics relevant to them – but that will also stretch them.

What advice do you have for other “social agitators” driving urgent global change?

One thing I’ve learned over the past few months is how important it is to build a team and internal culture that aligns with your social values. That is the only way to make transformational change. I don’t like the myth of the Silicon Valley unicorn who does it all alone – that is a very reductive way of thinking about social change.

After moving to Kenya, I hired a new team of people who are fantastic and care as much about BRIGHT Magazine’s success as I do. BRIGHT Magazine would not be here today without the dedication of this team. We set aside time to have  big conversations about our future, while also setting tangible and ambitious goals that we measure our performance against.

If you had control over significant philanthropic funding, what “big bet” would you fund?

I’d invest in building critical thinking skills among people of all ages. The fact that it’s so hard to distinguish fact from fiction could spell the downfall of modern civilization. My other big bet would be climate-related, like desalination, as climate is the slowly ticking time bomb in many places. Having traveled to Cape Town in December, I think clean water will be the biggest problem that will affect most major cities in the next 10 years.

Where do you see yourself and Bright Magazine going next?

My goal for BRIGHT Magazine is for us to be the go-to magazine for social issues and the magazine on record for these topics. I want the magazine to grow from an online platform to hosting live events with storytelling so that we can have productively uncomfortable conversations.

For me personally, I feel like I am growing and learning a lot every day. I want to be the best editor that I can be and completely plugged into the social change space. I also never want to be beholden to any person, funder, organization. I like to be able to speak my mind and cause agitation.

–––

*This post is part of GDI’s series “5 Minutes with a Social Agitator.” We define social agitators as people driving urgent change around the world using unorthodox approaches that cut across silos. If you would like to be featured or get in touch with GDI, contact us here.

A GDI Case Study: Convergence

How does GDI design and build social impact startups? 

It’s a question we get a lot, so we’ve tried to answer it in a new GDI case study on Convergence.

Starting with a high-level concept, GDI convened and supported a range of partners to design, build, and launch Convergence – a platform for blended finance that now stands as an independent organization based in Toronto.

Among other key steps, GDI helped Convergence secure over CAD 25M in funding and grow its team from zero to ten full-time staff. Today, Convergence has over 180 institutional members on its blended finance investment network and has awarded over CAD 5M towards the design of new blended finance structures.

In our new case study we explore: What does it actually take to build an organization like Convergence? And what did we learn along the way, from both successes and challenges?

View the case study here >>

Want Your Big Bet to Pay Off? Don’t Forget About Government Capacity

At a graduation ceremony for Liberia’s President’s Young Professionals Program, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf congratulates Patience Y. Karley, who was a fellow for two years and now serves as Budget Officer in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. (Photo by the PYPP of Liberia)

In the Chinese zodiac, 2017 was the Year of the Rooster. But in US philanthropic circles, it was the Year of the “Big Bet” and “Systems Change” Agenda, most recently with the announcement of the MacArthur Foundation’s first $100 million 100&Change Award, among other philanthropic endeavors. These efforts aim to better coordinate philanthropists and focus on supporting larger social impact opportunities—and the social sector should applaud both.

But for long-term, lasting impact, most of these big systems change opportunities require an ingredient that gets much less attention and funding: overall sustainability through government capacity, particularly in developing countries.

In a new article published in Stanford Social Innovation Review titled “Want Your Big Bet to Pay Off? Don’t Forget About Government Capacity,” GDI’s Founder and Executive Director Andrew Stern argues why global philanthropists can no longer afford to overlook the importance of supporting government capacity in developing countries—and what they can do about it.

Throughout the article, Andrew draws insights from GDI’s experience across several initiatives including Emerging Public Leaders, the President’s Young Professionals Program of Liberia, and Unorthodox Philanthropy.

Read the full article here >> 

Harvard Kennedy School report features GDI’s research on multi-stakeholder initiatives

Two years after publishing our landmark report, More than the Sum of its Parts: Making Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives Work, we’re thrilled to see our research and insights continuing to influence how effective collective action plays out in practice – this time, in the areas of smallholder finance and climate change.

A new report titled “The role of Multi-stakeholder Initiatives in promoting the resilience of smallholder agriculture to climate change in Africa,” explores specifically how leading organizations are using multi-stakeholder solutions to tackle complex, system-wide development problems at the intersection of climate change and smallholder finance.

The report – published by a group including representatives from the Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Sustainability Initiative, Dalberg Research, The Mastercard Foundation, and TechnoServe – draws on insights from More than the Sum of its Parts as well as advisory support from GDI’s Executive Director Andrew Stern. It features several leading organizations to show what agricultural finance-oriented multi-stakeholder initiatives look like in practice, including two GDI-incubated initiatives: the Mastercard Foundation RAF Learning Lab (the Lab) and Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF).

Bringing the right actors across sectors together to spark systems-level change can be hard. We’re both excited and inspired to see partnerships emerging in smallholder finance and climate change that are going beyond business as usual to solve the world’s toughest challenges of today, and look forward to seeing how other problem solvers can learn from them in turn.

Check out the latest report here >

New global philanthropic collaborative for systems change, Co-Impact, launches with support from GDI as strategic implementing partner

“Co-Impact is an innovative new model for philanthropy that has the potential to make a big difference in the lives of the world’s poorest. We’re pleased to be part of it.”
-Bill and Melinda Gates, Co-Chairs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

–––

We’re thrilled to share that Co-impact – a new global philanthropic collaborative that GDI helped shape – launched this week to bring together ultra high net worth donors from across the globe and drive large-scale results for millions of people across the developing world.

Co-Impact will begin by investing a pooled $500 million in high-potential systems change efforts that proven social change leaders are driving in the areas of health, education, and economic opportunity. Co-Impact’s initial core partners are Richard Chandler, Bill and Melinda Gates, Jeff Skoll, Dr. Romesh and Kathy Wadhwani, and The Rockefeller Foundation. The collaborative will make its first systems change grants in the first half of 2018 – each up to $50 million, flexibly structured, and directed to initiatives with proven leadership and results that are poised to scale even further.

Founder and CEO Olivia Leland announces Co-Impact at an event with partners in New York

We’re incredibly excited to see such a powerful group of philanthropists and social impact thought leaders rally behind systems change, and are proud to have contributed to the thoughtful approach Co-Impact is taking. As a strategic implementing partner for Co-Impact since early 2016, GDI built off our seminal piece on systems change, “What’s your Endgame?” and study on multi-stakeholder initiatives “More than the Sum of its Parts: Making Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives Work” to provide early-stage strategic support and thought partnership to Co-Impact.

We helped Co-Impact formulate investment criteria, a portfolio strategy, a systems change approach, a pitch deck, and a business plan, among other elements critical to achieving its bold vision of fundamentally reimagining how the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors can work together for systems change. GDI also supported Co-Impact by sourcing opportunities for investment and conducting due diligence on shortlisted opportunities.

GDI’s collaboration with the Co-Impact team continues as we provide implementation support for specific grantees and develop investment strategies in the key focus areas of health and economic opportunity in particular. GDI is also working with Co-Impact to reimagine how technology and open data architecture can support innovation and mass scale as part of their systems change efforts.

Learn more about Co-Impact here, and give us a shout if you’d like to learn more about GDI’s role in shaping the collaborative.

5 Minutes with a Social Agitator – Caroline Bressan of Open Road Alliance on fast, flexible contingency funding in the philanthropic sector

For the first edition of “5 minutes with a social agitator,”* we sat down with Caroline Bressan,  the Director of Social Investments at Open Road Alliance. Open Road is a private philanthropic initiative that provides grant capital to non-profits for mid-implementation projects facing an unexpected roadblock or a sudden catalytic opportunity. Let’s jump in…

In a nutshell, what big global problem are you trying to solve, and how?

Open Road Alliance is trying to make philanthropy more efficient by bringing better management risk practices to the sector. We step in when a project runs into an unexpected roadblock but the original donor can’t – or doesn’t want to – provide the additional funding needed to get over that roadblock. So if you have a $1 million project that runs into an $100,000 unexpected challenge, Open Road Alliance foots the bill to get the project back on track. It’s like we’re paying $100,000 for $1 million of impact – it just makes sense.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that we (as funders) are leaving a lot of impact on the table because of the constraints of institutions. I like to think of what we do as “keeping impact on track” or preserving the ROI of the original funder’s investment.

Here’s one story I can tell you to make it more concrete: One of the common roadblocks we see is “organization misfortune” – like fraud or robbery. We had a social enterprise in Ghana whose European CEO contracted dengue fever for the second time. It turns out that when you have dengue more than once, the mortality rate skyrockets. So, this CEO had to leave the country entirely for health reasons. Open Road Alliance funded the hiring of a COO to manage day-to-day operations so the social enterprise didn’t go under.

If you could get two groups that don’t usually collaborate to work together in some way to help solve a global challenge, what would that look like?

I guess this answer is a little bit cheesy, but I would want to get funders and grantees in the same room to look at the power dynamics in that relationship and disrupt the balance. We see so many grantees or nonprofits that are afraid to tell their funders when something goes wrong because they fear future funding repercussions – and many of them have reason to be afraid of that based on what’s happened in the past. If grantees don’t feel comfortable sharing, then funders won’t know what the real issues are. We need to invest in these funder-grantee relationships to keep them strong, and funders must be accountable to their grantees.

Tell us a story of a time something went massively wrong with your work, and how you rebounded.

I was working in microfinance at the peak of the financial crisis in 2009. I was one of two people on the Calvert Foundation’s international team, and the other was my boss, who was out on maternity leave. We had a lot of loans out to microfinance institutions, fair trade coffee collaboratives, etc.

Every day we heard more news out of Europe about  economies collapsing and other negative impacts. I felt like I was failing because I hadn’t predicted this and there was a lot more risk in my portfolio than I anticipated. (In retrospect, I don’t think anyone predicted it, so I feel okay.) But in those moments, there was actually a very positive experience for me. I got to work on a bunch of loan restructures,  including with lender groups where we negotiated how one organization would pay all of us back without pushing them into bankruptcy.  It was very political and involved a lot of intense negotiation, but it showed me how to navigate the backend of lending and  the sticky situations where things go wrong. Until that point I had only seen the good side of lending.

What advice do you have for other “social agitators” driving urgent global change?

At the end of the day, you need to get out there and test your hypothesis. Open Road Alliance is learning by doing. To date, we’ve made over 100 grants and loans to organizations that run into unexpected roadblocks. This portfolio has turned into our data set for thinking through how to better prepare nonprofits and social enterprises for managing through the unexpected.  Ultimately all our insights comes from real situations we’ve encountered in the field; we’re not calling up nonprofits and asking them what roadblocks they’ve encountered.

You can collect all the data in the world, and at the end of the day, you’re not going to know if it works until you try it. Instead of getting stuck in a cycle of analysis paralysis, what would happen if you just jumped to trying it?

If you had control over significant philanthropic funding, what “big bet” would you fund?

It’s great because what I would do is very aligned with what I’m doing now at Open Road Alliance. I see a real need for working capital loans for the social sector. So many of the roadblocks we see could have been solved if the organization had access to lines of finance.

When I started working in microfinance, the field was seen as this silver bullet to end poverty. What it really acted as was a cash management tool for the working poor – it stopped them from dropping down to the ultra poor rung.

I see contingency and bridge funding as playing that role at the organizational level. Nonprofits and social enterprises don’t usually have access to sustainable financing from a bank (loans, credit lines, etc.), so these organizations that are doing the hard work are one shock away from closing shop. Contingency funding can act as a product that prevents that.

– – –

*This post is part of GDI’s series “5 Minutes with a Social Agitator.” We define social agitators as people driving urgent change around the world using unorthodox approaches that cut across silos. If you would like to be featured or get in touch with GDI, contact us here.

GDI incubating Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, new public-private anti-slavery initiative

GDI is pleased to announce its incubation of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), a public-private initiative focused on sustainably ending modern slavery by making it economically unprofitable.

According to recent estimates released by Alliance 8.7, an estimated 40.3 million people around the world are affected by modern slavery, a term that encompasses forced labor, sex trafficking, and domestic servitude. Modern slavery generates $150 billion in criminal profits each year, yet existing efforts to combat it do not begin to meet the scale and complexity of the problem.

In response to these particular challenges, GFEMS’ bold approach to eradicating modern slavery anchors on four principles: 1) creating a coherent, global strategy; 2) raising resources to match the scale of the problem; 3) ensuring clear accountability and action by developing national strategies that will ultimately be co-owned and co-funded by partner countries; and 4) promoting proactive business engagement and market-based solutions.

GDI will serve as an operational partner to GFEMS for its first three years of ramp-up. GDI will provide integrated strategic, programmatic, and operational support – in areas ranging from investment strategy to team structuring and recruiting, and everywhere in between – to ensure the initiative’s long-term impact.

GFEMS has already made marked progress in raising resources dedicated to fighting modern slavery with commitments of $25M and £20M from the the U.S. State department and the UK’s Department for International Development, respectively.

The 25 Most Responsible Asset Allocators – GDI and partners release new leaders list

No sensible asset allocator would willingly invest in companies that pollute the environment, exploit labor, or operate unethically. This is especially true for global sovereign wealth funds (SWF) and government pension funds (GPF) that represent a significant share of the world’s $70 trillion in institutional investor assets. Many have begun incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risk metrics into their portfolio selection process. However, this trend, while promising, is far from universal, and the total amount of capital deployed based on responsible investment practices remains far below its potential.

The newly released Bretton Woods II Leaders List: The 25 Most Responsible Asset Allocators is grounded in the realization that for long-term institutions, investing sustainably is not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do.

GDI collaborated with New America, Dalberg, and the Fletcher School at Tufts on the Leaders List, as part of the Responsible Asset Allocators Initiative (RAAI) at Bretton Woods II. Bretton Woods II operates within New America to help large asset allocators reduce risks and optimize returns through strategic investments in responsible investing and sustainable development.

By focusing on a core group of SWFs and GPFs that are providing leadership on responsible investing practices, the Leaders List aims to jump-start investment by the broader community of asset allocators toward sustainability. Highlighting top performers from the peer group, based on clear and easy-to-understand guidelines, is an important first step toward encouraging greater adoption of responsible investment practices and ultimately toward mobilizing capital to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

As stewards of long-term capital, the question is not whether large institutional investors can afford to integrate responsible investment practices into their portfolios but rather, can they afford not to.

SEE THE LEADERS LIST >