Our philanthropy blog this month comes from Géraud de Ville de Goyet, CEO, of Barking & Dagenham Giving, who shares how a philanthropic cold spot in East London is leading the movement for community led investment in the UK.
Barking and Dagenham residents pioneer social investment decision-making for their community
Barking and Dagenham Giving was set up in 2020 to give local people more opportunities to participate in local decision-making.
Unusually, all their funding decisions are made by residents to achieve social good in one of the most deprived and diverse boroughs in England.
Twelve people make up a Community Steering Group (CSG), which was recruited by the charity BD Giving and organised into a peer learning group. The group are all women; mostly People of Colour; some are mothers; some are local business owners. All are residents of Barking and Dagenham.
While there are a growing number of impact-first social investors in the UK, BD Giving is the first to adopt a 100% community-led investment decision-making process.
It all started after BD Giving successfully convened 60 residents to decide how emergency pandemic funding should be spent. The local authority saw this and entrusted the charity with £1m to begin the process of creating their community-led social investment fund.
The endowment, now totaling £1.65M, comes from the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy, which is paid by developers of new building projects in the borough.
Guided by the passion and wisdom of local people, BD Giving has used part of the fund to develop a business growth accelerator to help local purpose-driven organisations to grow and address community needs.
The residents have also made their first investment decisions.
They spent months considering how and where to invest before they selected Snowball Impact Management for an investment. With its first investment into Snowball, the CSG talks about power, pride, learning together, being a role model for their children, and their ambitions for scaling.
“We considered Snowball according to our framework that measures investment proposals against impact, risk, liquidity and return.
We also considered the wider context of the portfolio we are building and Snowball’s approach to investing – putting positive social and environmental impact on the same level as financial return – was something we’d been seeking for months.
Our decision to invest in Snowball is a move towards fixing the broken financial system we’ve come to understand.” Emma, Community Steering Group member.
What does the future hold?
BD Giving is rooted in the principle that the people who are affected by financial decisions should be making those decisions. Their aim is to attract £10 million of additional investment to the borough over the next decade.
They know tackling systemic issues like child obesity, domestic abuse and lack of opportunities takes time. But local people have the appetite to improve the borough and their community-led social investment can accelerate their efforts.
“Our vision is of a world where local communities are empowered to identify and address the issues that matter most to them. In making their first investment decisions, our community has taken the first step towards a more democratic and sustainable financial system.”
Author – Géraud de Ville de Goyet, CEO, Barking & Dagenham Giving
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.