Intersecting Global Threats Demand Bold Action
We are facing a major inflection point. Governments worldwide are falling under the control of corporate interests and failing their citizens. Rising economic inequality is further consolidating the power of elites and underscoring the urgent need for a new economic agenda. Democracy, human rights, and racial and gender justice are under attack, fueled by rampant disinformation – much of it driven by dark money flooding our political system. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a climate emergency perpetuated by a corrupt fossil fuel industry that is threatening human existence and the future. Planetary survival is at stake.
These are intersectional and interwoven crises. Solving them requires strategies and ambition to match that complexity. This is not a moment for incremental thinking. Piecemeal policy solutions to environmental, corporate, economic, and democratic harms are no longer sufficient. The world needs effective, democratic governments that are equipped to respond to the escalating challenges of today. They must be accountable to all their citizens, not only elites and corporations.
In the face of these challenges, progressive movements are demanding action and advocating for profound systemic change. People power offers our greatest hope towards ensuring that governments put people above profits, protect and strengthen democracy, stop abuses of power, achieve gender and racial justice, and protect the planet while there is still time.
We Partner With Social Movements to Catalyze Progressive Change
Wallace Global Fund supports social movements and aligned organizations that are driving systemic solutions in four areas: democracy, environment, corporate accountability, and women’s rights. These programs are fundamentally aligned and interconnected.
Historically, philanthropy has often operated through siloed program strategies that dilute impact and stifle transformative change. Wallace Global Fund is committed to breaking that cycle by driving people-powered solutions. Doing so requires an integrated and holistic approach that supports movement-based organizing and advocacy, drives strategic litigation, convenes leaders and funders across sectors, and funds critical research tied to movement outcomes.
We are all in. To advance our priorities, we use all of the foundation’s assets: grants, investments, networks, and our own advocacy voice. We align our endowment with our program priorities and leverage our social capital to amplify the demands of our movement partners.
Our Investments Advance Our Mission
Wallace Global Fund’s grantmaking and investments reinforce each other. We act as a stakeholder, not just a shareholder. We have transformed our investment strategy to reflect our values, achieve alignment with environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, drive progressive social change, encourage our philanthropic peers to invest in alignment with their missions, and support the priorities of the social movements and organizations we fund.
Here are some examples of what we have been able to accomplish:
Wallace Global Fund is fully mission-aligned. All our investments are ESG-integrated to comply with best practice standards. We began our process of fully divesting from fossil fuels in 2010 and investing in climate solutions, now more than 15 percent of our portfolio. Wallace Global Fund’s aligned grantmaking has also helped strengthen the growing fields of gender, racial, and economic justice investing. Additionally, we partner with communities, providing impact capital to support their innovative economic projects.
We have consistently beaten our financial benchmarks, earning excellent returns to fuel increased grantmaking. Wallace Global Fund’s portfolio delivered $46 million above our performance benchmarks from 2011 to 2021, allowing for an additional $4.6M in grants per year on average. Our portfolio performance ranks Wallace Global Fund among the top 10 percent of private foundations, according to a study by The Council of Foundations.
We supported the launch of the student-driven fossil fuel divestment movement in 2011, and have strategically funded the growth of the movement across the globe. We launched Divest-Invest Philanthropy in 2013, encouraging and supporting foundations, donors, and family offices to divest from fossil fuels and to invest in climate solutions. Today, over 1,500 institutions have since joined the larger movement, representing over $40 trillion in assets under management.
In addition to implementing ESG screens across our entire portfolio, we are also committed to impact investing that is aligned with our mission, supports the communities we serve, and prioritizes fair returns over excess profit. We dedicate a minimum of five percent of our assets to climate solutions, with plans to double to 10 percent by 2030. We work to encourage others to do the same, increasing investments in renewable energy systems, universal energy access, and a just transition for communities and workers.
The Time to Act – and Give – is Right Now
We have less than a decade to fundamentally create more sustainable and equitable systems that meet basic human needs and protect the planet. In 2020, a historic year when a global pandemic devastated billions of people, we responded by paying out 20 percent of our endowment. To ensure that the intersecting crises we face are effectively addressed, our grantmaking budget will continue to exceed the five percent minimum payout to fund transformative social and environmental change. We will continue to encourage our peers in philanthropy to join us.