Endowments with impact with Dame Elizabeth Corley and Kieron Boyle

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This post was authored by the Impact Investing Institute.

In the second instalment of our In Conversation series, Dame Elizabeth Corley, our Chair, spoke to Kieron Boyle, CEO of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation about impact investing for endowments and St Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation’s journey from small beginnings to the biggest impact allocation ever made by a UK foundation.

In the UK, the largest 300 endowed charitable foundations have over £72 billion in total assets. Yet, despite the field of impact investing originating from within the foundation community, the vast majority of these assets are invested in mainstream capital markets without consideration of their environmental and social impact. A few pioneers, such as Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation, have sought to challenge this norm.

In 2017 and 2018, the foundation agreed to allocate a small proportion of the portfolio – up to 5% – to investments linked specifically to positive health impacts. The success of this pilot led the foundation to announce, in May of this year, the biggest allocation to impact ever made by a UK charitable foundation: £100 million by 2026 with the ultimate goal of incorporating impact into their entire £1 billion endowment in the future.

In the video below, Kieron and Dame Elizabeth discuss the practical steps endowments can take to invest with impact.

In our In Conversation series, produced in collaboration with Asset TV, we will share 15-20 minutes videos on topics around impact investing.

Our work on endowments with impact

In partnership with the charitable foundation sector, we are working to motivate more foundations to increase the volume of charitable endowment assets invested for positive social and environmental impact as well as financial return. As part of this work, we have produced four central resources for endowments:

  • A practical how-to guide on impact investing to encourage foundations to think about impact investing strategically and allocate more capital to impact. Find out more.
  • A set of case studies, including Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation, profiling those leading the way in the field of impact investing in the main endowment. Find out more.
  • A downloadable presentation to help facilitate conversations about impact investing within charitable foundations, which provides an introduction to impact investing, busts prevalent myths, highlights key arguments in favour of the approach and provides steps on how to get started, all supported by detailed speaker notes. Find out more.
  • A legal paper, drafted with leading law firms, that comprehensively demonstrates the compatibility of impact investing with trustees’ fiduciary duty. Find out more.

To find out more about our work on endowments with impact, visit our dedicated project page.