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Impact investing over 20 years: A timeline


2 July 2020 at 6:00 am
Wendy Williams
Over the past two decades Australia’s impact investing sector has gone from a state of uncoordinated innovation to one of marketplace building. We revisit the Pro Bono News archives to reflect on some of the key moments that have got us here.


Wendy Williams | 2 July 2020 at 6:00 am


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Impact investing over 20 years: A timeline
2 July 2020 at 6:00 am

Over the past two decades Australia’s impact investing sector has gone from a state of uncoordinated innovation to one of marketplace building. We revisit the Pro Bono News archives to reflect on some of the key moments that have got us here.

From 2000 to now: The key events of Australia's impact investing sector

Jun,2000

“Venture philanthropy” is the new buzz-word in the world of giving.

It is regarded as a controversial movement far removed from the traditional relationship between foundations and grantees, attracting the big time hi-tech corporations.

May,2005
Dec,2009

A consortium of four major charities purchases ABC Learning childcare centres.

The venture – Goodstart – is backed by the National Australia Bank and the Australian government. 

Apr,2010

Social business operators and investors meet in Melbourne for the inaugural CSI Investing for Impact Conference.

This invitation-only event is said to be the first of its kind in Australia, with the aim of exploring and developing new ways of mobilising capital to drive positive social, environmental and economic change.

Jul,2010

The Gillard government announces two new initiatives to provide support for social enterprise.

The Social Enterprise Development and Investment Fund (SEDIF) will provide funding assistance for the start up and expansion of social enterprises, while the Professional Partnership Project will connect social enterprises that enable disadvantaged people find jobs and training with advice and expertise from key professional service firms.

Jun,2012

It is announced Social Ventures Australia (SVA) will manage a new $8.6 million Social Impact Fund making it the third organisation in the SEDIF Scheme.

SVA says its first loan will go to North Yarra Community Health to help them establish a new health practice.

May,2014

Sir Ronald Cohen visits Australia to promote the work of the international Social Impact Investment Taskforce established by the G8.

Australia is the only country outside of the G8 invited to become a member of the taskforce.

Sep,2014

The Social Impact Investment Taskforce report launches.

It says Australia has the foundations for a thriving, world-leading impact investment sector.

Aug,2015

Impact investing grows to record levels in Australia.

There is more than $629 billion in assets being managed under responsible investment strategies.

May,2017

The Responsible Investment Association Australasia launches the Impact Investment Forum.

It aims to provide a dedicated hub to connect and deepen the participation of organisations and individuals in what is a growing field.

Dec,2017

SVA’s Diversified Impact Fund raises more than $10 million and reaches its first close sooner than expected.

Michael Lynch, executive director of SVA Impact Investing, says: “Impact investing is now being taken seriously as a way to generate social outcomes without taking a haircut on financial returns”. 

Jul,2019

Rosemary Addis hands over the chair of Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing.

She reflects on what’s happened in the sector since she first founded the organisation in 2013.

Oct,2019

Michael Traill AM is appointed to lead the expert panel behind the government’s Social Impact Investing Taskforce.

He says the panel is approaching the role with a strong practical lens, to create actionable recommendations that the government could put into practice. 

Feb,2020

The Social Impact Investing Taskforce releases its interim report.

It says the federal government has a clear role to play in driving the nation’s impact investing market to benefit Australian communities.

Jun,2020

A new study from RIAA finds the Australian impact investing market has more than tripled over the past two years.

Advocates believe strong investor confidence will endure despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

For a deeper look at these key changes, check out our article examining how far the impact investing sector has come since 2000.


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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