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Save the Children Impact Investment Fund reaches first close with QBE as anchor investor

Save the Children’s Impact Investment Fund has reached its first close and is now able to start investing in some of the innovative enterprises in its pipeline, in Australia and around the world
29 September 2020

Save the Children’s Impact Investment Fund has reached its first close — of six million dollars — and is now able to start investing in some of the innovative enterprises in its pipeline, in Australia and around the world.

The fund opened to investors in January and will provide equity and debt investments to enterprises that emphasise social innovation and address pressing social and humanitarian issues. The fund will focus on edtech, e-health and fintech innovations improving the lives of disadvantaged children and families. 

Along with Save the Children Australia, QBE is an anchor investor in the fund. Other investors include family foundations such as the McLeod Family Foundation and a number of Save the Children’s Board and Investment Committee members.

Investors were attracted to the Fund’s ability to source investment opportunities from within its global network and add value to these businesses following an investment. 

The Impact Investment Fund is overseen by the Board of the Save the Children Impact Fund and supported by an ‘A-list’ Investment Committee who make recommendations on investment decisions, which includes Karen Lawson, former MD of Spotify Australia and Richard Hedley, former Chief Investment Officer at State Super, and currently at Sunsuper. 

Save the Children Australia’s CEO Paul Ronalds said the first close was an important and exciting milestone:

“Our fund is about creating solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems. We are all about helping entrepreneurs and start-ups scale faster,” said Mr Ronalds. 

“Before COVID-19 we recognised that a changing operating environment meant the charity sector needed to adapt its business model.”

“With increasing and rapid changes in the social and humanitarian space, traditional approaches need to be augmented by agile and creative ways to solve the world’s social and humanitarian problems. The demand for our services has been unprecedented, particularly with severe disasters increasing and now the pandemic.  This means we must find new sources of funding for social innovation, including leveraging private sector investment.” 

“This is just the beginning, we plan to deploy this fund and then raise a much bigger 20 to 30-million-dollar fund in two to three years’ time.”

“Australian aid funding continues to decline and is now at an historical low. With the rising unemployment rate and uncertainty in the economy, the proportion of Australians donating to charity is also falling. 

“Although we will continue to rely on critical traditional funding sources, such as government, public donations and philanthropy, it is important that these are supplemented by more innovative financing methods. Without such innovation, we will not achieve our ambitious goals for the advancement and protection of children’s rights and wellbeing

Gary Brader QBE Insurance Group Chief Investment Officer said:

“We recognise the need for leading institutional investors to play a bigger part in investing with consideration of not only the financial returns but also the social and environmental returns. Our Premiums4Good initiative has been investing in impact investments for 5 years now, and we are delighted to be able to be the anchor investor with Save The Children in this important fund. 

“This investment, with deep impact, is an exciting addition to our Impact Investment program, and supports our ambition to grow this allocation to USD2 billion dollars by 2025”.

For media inquiries contact Angus Smith on 0488 330 882.


Save the Children Impact Fund Limited – Board of Directors

The Board of Save the Children Impact Fund currently has seven Directors – three independent and four associated with Save the Children. 

Harvey Collins (Chair) 

Harvey is a Director of Save the Children Australia, is currently Chairman of impact funds manager, Insitor Partners Pte. Ltd (Singapore), and an executive coach with Foresight’s Global Coaching. He has held board roles in a number of ASX listed and other corporations including Chairman of Navitas Limited, Bankwest Limited, HBF Health Fund Inc, and iiNet Limited. His executive roles included CFO Challenge Bank Limited, and Executive Director, Chieftain Securities. His earlier professional work was in treasury and financial markets. In September 2016, Harvey retired as Chairman of international NGO, Hagar International. 

Peter Hodgson 

Peter is the Chair of Save the Children Australia’s board of directors and, until late 2016, was the Chief Executive Officer of The Myer Family Company – a privately held investment and wealth management business. Until 2008, Peter worked with ANZ in senior roles including Group Managing Director Institutional, Chief Risk Officer and Head of Structured Finance. Prior to returning to Australia in 1997, Peter had been working in advisory and structured finance in the United Kingdom, Asia and the US, variously at Bank of America and BZW. Peter has been a director of Save the Children since May 2012 and became Chairman in June 2012. 

Jan Owen 

Jan works at the intersection of social policy and innovation, education and entrepreneurship. She has founded and led multiple organisations and collaborations in Australia and internationally and is a sought after global speaker and strategy advisor. Jan was the CEO of Foundation for Young Australians from 2010 - 2019, the premier national, youth foundation for Australia’s 4.6 million young people facilitating their participation in education and social change. Jan’s work has seen her recognised as one of Australia’s ‘True Leaders’ in 2018 and the Inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac ‘Woman of Influence’ in 2012. 

Paul Ronalds 

Paul joined Save the Children Australia as CEO in 2013. His diverse background encompasses senior executive roles in government, the private sector and domestic and international non-government organisations (NGOs). Paul started his career as a corporate lawyer with international firm Herbert Smith Freehills; was co-founder of, one of Australia’s first online retailers; and was a corporate advisor to a number of successful technology start-ups including Cameron Systems. 

Caitriona Fay 

Caitriona is a senior philanthropic and business leader in Australia and the General Manager of Community and Social Investments at Perpetual, overseeing approximately $4.5bn in community funds. She has more than eighteen years’ experience working with intuitional philanthropic foundations, high-net worth families and non-profits organisations on their social investment strategies. Prior to Perpetual, Caitriona worked in senior roles with The Ian Potter Foundation and The Heritage Lottery fund in both Scotland and England. Caitriona is a leader in genderwise and LGBTQIA+ philanthropy in Australia. Caitriona is a founding board member of The Channel, Australia’s first sexuality- sex- and gender- diverse giving circle and a founding member of Melbourne’s Women’s Donor Network, reflecting her passion for the power of democratised philanthropy.

Alistair Brown 

Alistair is the CFO of Save the Children Australia, prior to which he held a variety of finance roles within the AXA group for 17 years. Most recently he was Regional Chief Financial Officer for Asia located in Hong Kong, where he oversaw 500 finance staff in eight countries through a period of significant growth and change. Alistair was also General Manager Group Strategic Finance for AXA Asia Pacific Holdings for three years, which included responsibility for the M&A activities of the group. Alistair spent the first 10 years of his career in Chartered Accounting at Deloitte.

Amanda Healy

Amanda has more than 35 years’ experience in the mining industry, both in Australia, Africa and Canada – working for Blue Chip miners such as BHP, Rio Tinto and WMC. In 2003 she founded her own Engineering business in the Pilbara - Maxx Engineering which was sold to a large international company in 2015. Since then, Amanda founded Kirrikin, a social enterprise sharing profits with artists, and  joined forces with industry specialists to form Warrikal, a mechanical maintenance business. She is on the board of the Wirrpanda Foundation, Curtin University Business School Advisory Board, Curtin University School of Health Sciences Advisory Board, and a number of other small Indigenous focused boards. Amanda is from the Wonnarua nation – traditional owners of the Hunter Valley in NSW.

Investment Committee 

The Investment Committee will work with the Investment Team to review the pipeline of investment opportunities and provide input and advice during screening and due diligence, with a particular focus on impact and financial returns. The Investment Committee will review investment opportunities and make recommendations to the Board of the Trustee for approval. 

Michael Stanford (Chair) 

Michael has moved into multiple non-executive director roles following a distinguished 30-year senior executive career in the health care sector, including 23 years in group CEO roles across the private and public sectors. In 2018 Dr Stanford was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the health sector. 

Harvey Collins 

In addition to his role on the board of Save the Children Australia, Harvey is currently Chair of Insitor Partners, an impact fund manager working across Asia. He has extensive experience at executive and board levels in a range of industries including financial services, education, telecommunications, electricity and mining services. 

Adam Schwab 

Adam is the Co-Founder of Luxury Escapes, one of Australia’s most successful ecommerce businesses, with more than 250 employees, operations in four continents and is also the Executive Chairman of Bookwell, Australia’s largest beauty and wellness bookings marketplace. Adam has previously worked as a corporate lawyer specialising in mergers & acquisitions at Herbert Smith Freehills. 

Richard Hedley 

Richard is an investment professional with over 20 years’ experience in investment management, infrastructure, real assets, private equity and commercial law. Richard’s experience includes Sunsuper, where he is currently Portfolio Manager, Private Markets, and has previously worked at State Super, where he was Chief Investment Officer, and Deutsche Bank Asset Management. 

Mary Sue Rogers 

In addition to her role on the board of Save the Children Australia, Mary Sue is a Director of Women on Boards and a professional services executive with extensive global experience and a passion for building robust business strategies. Mary Sue’s career includes holding positions in IBM and PwC that span over 20 years and over 20 countries, and working with a professional services focus in a variety of organisations including listed, family owned and private enterprise. 

Karen Lawson 

Karen Lawson is an Executive Director at SDGx, investing in deep tech scale-ups for positive impact. Karen was formerly the MD of Spotify Australia & New Zealand and is an award winning growth & transformation leader in the technology industry. Prior to Spotify, Karen led Slingshot corporate accelerator, and launched CoVentured, a global platform connecting corporates and startups. She sits on the Advisory Council of the Sydney Startup Hub and mentors a number of startups, CEO's and industry bodies.

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