Charity-run impact investment fund backs first project
25 May 2021 at 4:45 pm
The investment has been made in partnership with other leading impact investors including Atlassian Foundation and the Community Impact Foundation
Save the Children has made its first impact investment, looking to help vulnerable and disadvantaged children in South Australia gain an equitable education.
The charity announced on Monday that it was providing a $1.3 million loan to Ngutu College through its Impact Investment Fund in consortium with seven other leading impact investors.
The South Australian college serves as an incubator space for redesigning the concept of schooling, aiming to incorporate Aboriginal knowledges and the arts into a program compliant with the Australian curriculum.
Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds said the college and the charity both shared a desire to help the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children gain a fair education.
He said the current school system wasn’t working for every child in Australia, and he was proud for Ngutu College to be the fund’s first investment.
“The college is focused on providing an equitable, culturally informed and child-centered education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, neuro-diverse children and children from low socio-economic backgrounds,” Ronalds said.
“The team at Ngutu College are incredibly skilled educators and have support from academics from the University of South Australia and Flinders University.
“It is exciting to know that the team at Ngutu College will measure how students learn through this alternative model, in the hope it can be replicated in other communities in Australia, and potentially globally.”
The Save the Children Impact Investment Fund, which opened to investors in January last year, is aimed at supporting enterprises that emphasise social innovation and address pressing social and humanitarian issues.
This fund – the first of its kind to be run by a charity in Australia – is focused on edtech, e-health and fintech innovations improving the lives of disadvantaged children and families.
But while Save the Children primarily look for investments that have a scalable technology lens, Ronalds said Ngutu College was “too close to our core mission to resist”.
The loan facility was arranged by Australian Impact Investments and the other investors include Atlassian Foundation, Tripple, clients of Ethinvest, and the Community Impact Foundation.
The loan will be repaid over the next five years.
Andrew Plastow, the principal and founder of Ngutu College, said he was extremely grateful for the funding.
“We are growing and will soon be able to sustain ourselves through recurrent funding but it required this start-up funding [to] become possible,” Plastow said.
“A parent recently gave us a card to thank everyone who made this possible and shared their thanks for ‘seeing the potential in every child’.
“This is at the heart of the college that the funding has enabled.”