IMPACT Awards 2022

Endowment/foundation of the year: Friends Provident Foundation

"The notion of what good looks like is shifting towards impact" Friends Provident Foundation told Environmental Finance.

The winner of 'Endowment/foundation of the year' has aimed to encourage charities, foundations and endowments into the impact space over the last year.

In August, the foundation pledged to almost triple its investments in impact investor Snowball Impact Management – which is part of its Social Impact Engagement portfolio – in a call for capitalised charities to switch shift their focus from grants to the impact of their entire capital base.

Danielle Walker-Palmour, director of Friends Provident Foundation, said: "We feel that foundations really need to wake up to their 'superpower' - we are embedded in financial markets and totally focussed on impact. We can make a difference if we actively use our endowments.

“For example, Snowball thinks about social impact as part of its investment process. This is really different to just ESG [environmental, social and governance] investing. It's investing with the future priced in."

Walker-Palmour says the foundation aims to fund civil society organisations and social purpose companies that are taking action to change the economy.

In addition to its £1.5 million ($1.8 million) investment in Snowball Impact Management, portfolio companies include Riding Sunbeams Apollo (£199,960 in 2020 for equity), Egni Solar Co-op (£100,000), Energy Garden (£50,000 expected in 2021/22), Stichting Equileap Foundation (£100,000 in 2018, as a ten-year loan) and Ethex (£50,000 in 2013, structured as a loan).

Danielle Walker-PalmourThe bulk of the foundation's endowment is managed by two fund managers – BMO Asset Management and Cazenove Capital.

It also allocates grants of up to £200,000 for communication and research projects, with some of its' current beneficiaries including ShareAction, and several universities.

ShareAction is a non-profit that has made several attempts to highlight greenwashing over the past few years, including its' scrutinisation of ClimateAction 100+, in May.

Friends Provident Foundation gives grants to companies that transition the economy to be 'Diversified, Decarbonised, Democratised and Decentralised'. Its' '4D vision' underpins the foundation's 2022 to 2025 roadmap.

Walker-Palmour clarified the foundation defines 'diversified' as allowing "a range of more people to take part in the economy".