Civil society leaders applaud government commitment to establish Social Finance Fund

Ottawa, November 22, 2018: Yesterday’s announcement by the federal government of a $755 million Social Finance Fund is welcomed by six of Canada’s leading national charitable organizations: Imagine Canada, Community Foundations of Canada, Philanthropic Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada, MaRS Discovery District and the McConnell Foundation. The need for a Fund “a new tool to help solve big challenges” was a recommendation of the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group, whose final report, “Inclusive Innovation” was released Aug. 31.

“We in the charitable sector believe Canada can better address its most pressing challenges when innovation is sparked among all sectors public, private and charitable,” said Community Foundations of Canada CEO, Andrew Chunilall. “The Social Finance Fund will attract increased investment to help vulnerable people and to solve pressing challenges like climate change, housing affordability, technological disruption of jobs, and other national and local priorities.”

Canada enjoys great prosperity and many natural advantages, and with more coordinated effort could achieve the targets of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Brookings Institution reported in 2017 that the country is on track for 17 indicators; needs acceleration for 12 and breakthroughs on 26; and requires a reversal of negative trends on 18. Over 3 million Canadian families live in poverty; 570,000 Canadians don’t have reliable access to safe drinking water; and total greenhouse gas emissions were only reduced by 2 per cent between 2005 and 2015. Addressing these serious problems will drive inclusive economic growth for the enduring prosperity of all.

The Social Finance Fund could improve social and environmental outcomes for communities and individuals nationally:

  • New social finance models could accelerate construction of housing units envisaged in the National Housing Strategy
  • Socially-motivated investors could finance Indigenous social entrepreneurs to address challenges like food insecurity and clean energy generation
  • With increased investment, social purpose organizations could create more businesses and social enterprises to provide jobs and training to persons with disabilities.

This is the first of several recommendations from the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group that the government has committed to implementing that align the public sector and civil society around inclusive growth.

QUOTES

We welcome the federal government’s recognition of the role that charities and nonprofits play in social innovation, and the significant investment announced for the Social Finance Fund. We look forward to working with social finance experts and the federal government in the months to come, to ensure that these federal investments leverage the maximum benefits for communities across Canada. Bruce MacDonald, President, Imagine Canada   

“We welcome this initiative of the federal government which will certainly accelerate the deployment of more philanthropic capital into communities across Canada where foundations work with local partners, charities and social enterprises.” — Hilary Pearson, President and CEO, Philanthropic Foundations of Canada  

“A movement of social entrepreneurs across Canada is proving that it’s possible to create positive social and environmental returns in addition to profit, and this movement now has the tools needed to accelerate meaningful change.” Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District.

“We are delighted that the relationship between government and the charitable sector has moved into a new and exciting productive phase, in which each side plays its part in driving inclusive growth.” Stephen Huddart, President and CEO, McConnell Foundation.

“Building strong and healthy communities requires coordinated and innovative supports that will help Canadians tackle unignorable social issues in their local communities creatively, and the Social Finance Fund is going to help provide the ecosystem to make that happen.”  Dan Clement, President of United Way Centraide Canada.

View the full report “Inclusive Innovation” at www.sisfs.ca and the Government of Canada’s webpage.

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Backgrounder:

Social Finance refers to the practice of making investments intended to create social or environmental impact, in addition to financial returns. It is also described as ‘Impact Investing’. According to the Global Impact Investing Network, it is a $228 (US) Billion market growing at approximately 18 per cent per year. In Canada, The Responsible Investment Association estimates that in 2017, the Canadian impact and responsible investment market totalled $9.2 Billion (CAN).

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations. Together they help Canadians donate and invest in making our communities better places to live, work and play. More than 90 per cent of Canadians have access to a community foundation — from our largest cities to our smallest towns.

Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities. Its three broad goals are to amplify the sector’s collective voice, create opportunities to connect and learn from each other, and build the sector’s capacity to succeed.

MaRS is a charity that works with an extensive network of partners to help entrepreneurs launch and grow the innovative companies that are building our future. It hosts MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, and incubated the SVX, which raises capital for social enterprises.

The McConnell Foundation is a private Canadian foundation that develops and applies innovative approaches to social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges. It does so through granting and investing, capacity building, convening, and co-creation with grantees, partners and the public.

Philanthropic Foundations of Canada is a member association of over 130 Canadian grantmakers, including private and public foundations, charities and corporations. We support our members and organized philanthropy by encouraging public policies that sustain the sector, by increasing awareness of philanthropy’s contribution to the well-being of Canadians and by providing opportunities for funders to learn from each other.

United Way Centraide Canada is a federated network of over 90 local United Way offices, each registered as its own non-profit organization and governed by an independent volunteer-led local Board of Directors. Each United Way works locally to raise funds and invest in improving lives in its community.

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