Venture philanthropy strengthens NGOs
Social investments and venture philanthropy strengthen NGOs
26 June 2014, Moscow
The roundtable “Social Investment Market: International and Russian Practices” was held in Moscow during the International Social Business Day.
The event was organised by the Financial Corporation URALSIB, the Russian International Affairs Council and the Evolution and Philanthropy NCO in partnership with the European Venture Philanthropy Association.
Today understanding that social investing is beneficial both for societal development and sustainable business growth is definitely gaining ground. According to RIAC Director General Andrey Kortunov, social investing has already become intrinsic to company business strategy due to creating an encouraging social environment for enterprises, and in the long run the resultant feedback improves business and optimises distribution of wealth.
As underlined by EVPA Market Development Director Cristina Umani, international practice proves that venture philanthropy and social investments do strengthen socially-orientated organisations through financial and non-financial support in view of long-term development and substantial and sustainable changes in the entire society.
URALSIB Vice President Alexander Tolkachev shared his experiences in building a socially responsible business: “As far as finances are concerned, we see our task as creating and advancing attractive financial products with a major social component. By engaging the principles of social entrepreneurship, business proves to be able to handle social problems and obtain sustainable results. A socially-orientated business is more credible and thus more attractive to investors.”
Natalia Poppel, Head of the Corporate Social Responsibility Department at Severstal, said that social investment is a strategic principle of her company’s development, implemented through a dialogue with local communities, joint projects and other schemes.
At the same time, Russian leaders in corporate social responsibility do have a lot of room for expanding. Social investors around the world do not confine themselves to financing but also spend their time, intellectual and other resources in long-term partnerships within social projects. According to Cristina Umani, large corporations may offer pro bono services including professional instruction on the basis of in-house competencies and intellectual and information resources for tackling socially meaningful tasks.
An EVPA survey conducted in partnership with overseas agencies has demonstrated that financial support for socially-oriented organisations by way of venture philanthropy and social investing keeps growing, having reached a total of 2.5 billion Euro in 2011.
The event participants, including representatives of Russian major business, government, corporate and private foundations and academia, emphasised that an open dialogue with partners overseas gives rise to networking and introducing innovations to companies engaged in social investing.
Summing up the discussion, Olga Yevdokimova, the Evolution and Philanthropy Director, emphasised: “Meetings that put together business and society through the prism of social investing expand the very notion of social investment, while application of best practices in venture philanthropy and social investment in Russia will surely help raise the innovation culture for solving society’s problems.”
By Yulia Vyatkina