On Thursday August 28 the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) and Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum organized an event on venture philanthropy and social investment. The event aimed to increase the networking and sharing of experiences between EVPA members and in the second part of the day to increase the knowledge of venture philanthropy (VP) and social investment (SI) in the region.
The morning also contained a presentation by Francois de Borchgrave, CEO Kois Invest, who recently established a social impact bond in Belgium. The closed session ended with a network lunch where both EVPA members and organizations interested in venture philanthropy participated.
The afternoon consisted of a workshop about venture philanthropy. Anne Holm Rannaleet, IKARE Executive Director and board member of EVPA, was first amongst the speakers and talked about the challenges modern societies faced.
– We are still dealing with the same issues we did 20-30 years ago and we are not succeeding with the old models. So perhaps we need new ones!
Anne Holm Rannaleet explained that venture philanthropy could accomplish what the old models failed to do. Feeding starving people will help them in the short term but it will not help them in the long term. Venture philanthropy can facilitate people in need to help themselves. Anne Holm Rannaleet also explained that venture philanthropy is about matching the soul of philanthropy with the spirit of investing.
Thereafter Katinka Greve Leiner, FERD Executive Director and board member of EVPA talked about how they use venture philanthropy in their organization.
Christine Castille, EVPA Community Communication Director, was last of the three speakers. She explained that EVPA aims to increase the expertise and resources available within the venture philanthropy community. One way of doing this is to offer platforms for people to connect with one another about the subject. Christine Castille continued by addressing the core of venture philanthropy.
– The social return should be more important, or as important, as the financial reward.
Christine Castille then talked about EVPAs organizational form, it is a broad organization and that is of key importance to its success. EVPA constitutes five building blocks. The first one, and probably the most important, is to gather organizations within the field of venture philanthropy. The second one is building a better understanding of the sector. This is followed by facilitate learning by communicating research to its members. The last two building blocks are promotion by informing the broader community about venture philanthropy and inspiring by having a strong voice at the European level.
After a short coffee break the organizations of KOIS invest, Den Sociale Kapitalfond, Reach for Change, Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum, FERD and Forum for Social Innovation at Malmö University, sat down for “dating sessions”. Each organization got the opportunity to talk about their work in smaller groups. Their experiences differed somewhat but the commitment for venture philanthropy is the same.