Mobilizing with Urgency: A Call to the Impact Investing Movement
On January 26, at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, the Gates Foundation announced it would provide $10 million in emergency funds and technical support to help frontline responders in China and Africa contain the global spread of COVID-19. Just 10 days later, they committed $100 million (and soon thereafter another $150 million) in grants and impact investments to help strengthen detection efforts, development of vaccines, and rapid procurement of medical supplies.
In February, the Colorado Health Foundation partnered with the Colorado Governor’s Office to quickly stand up the Colorado COVID Relief Fund and has since used a mix of grants and loan relief to support access to PPE and medical supplies and bolster community health centers on the frontlines.
The Gates and Colorado Health foundations were among the dozens of impact investors featured at the Mission Investors Exchange (MIE) National Conference, Amplifying Impact, from May 7-22. Originally scheduled to be held in Atlanta, MIE pivoted to create a virtual event, recognizing the urgent need to convene mission-driven investors given their critical role in advancing equity and impact in this time of crisis. What we quickly learned from foundation leaders was that COVID-19 has been a “moment of truth” in many ways, calling on us to demonstrate our willingness to move nimbly, double down on impact, and embrace the discomfort that comes with risk and innovation. For many, that call has been answered. But, as many speakers reminded us, the crises we see today — COVID-19, racial injustice and violence, and more — are far too familiar for far too many people, reflecting decades of systemic failure.
In this essay, on ImpactAlpha, MIE CEO explores some of the ideas emerging from the 2020 National conference that offer us an initial roadmap to advance systems change that can help build a more just, equitable society.