After spending years working in philanthropy, government, and the nonprofit sector, Olivia Leland, founder of Co-Impact, recognized a challenge: there was no sufficient mechanism to allow philanthropists and others to pool the significant funds and resources that social change leaders need to drive systemic, enduring change.
Collaboration among philanthropists and other funders means far greater impact by providing greater and more flexible support over the long term to those leading systems change efforts.
A year of focused research confirmed this hypothesis, and Leland set about building Co-Impact—a global collaborative that would support comprehensive efforts to improve human well-being through health, education, and economic opportunity.
But setting up a new independent organization would take time and divert the team’s resources away from the core work of supporting systems-change efforts. Leland and her growing Co-Impact team turned to the New Venture Fund (NVF) for assistance in setting up their organization.
NVF’s comprehensive fiscal sponsorship structure enabled the Co-Impact team to set up quickly, receive the funding committed from those who would become the organization’s core funders, and focus on the mission-critical work of sourcing, structuring, and supporting initiatives to achieve breakthroughs at the national or regional scale in low- and middle-income countries.
Co-Impact launched in November 2017 with bold ambitions to mobilize more philanthropy for systems-change efforts so that millions of people experience meaningful and sustained improvements in their lives. In January 2019, the organization announced its first round of grants and is currently sourcing for a second round.
“New Venture Fund is a wonderful institutional home for what we’re trying to do”, says Pam Foster, Co-Impact’s Chief Operations Officer. “They understand our mission and do everything they can to support us in every way possible. Fundamentally, NVF is an amazing platform for us to be able to do what we do and keep our operational footprint light.”
Whether with NVF or other partners, Co-Impact emphasizes collaboration as a main ingredient for systems change. Collaboration among local communities, nonprofits, governments, businesses, and others enables the deep systemic work needed to benefit millions of people in a lasting way.