Why Pact partners with the private sector – and why we restructured to do it

March 16, 2016
In Nigeria, Pact is preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission through a partnership with Chevron.

At Pact, we take our mission seriously.

We envision a world where all people who are poor and marginalized can exercise their voice, build their own solutions and own their future.

As lofty as that sounds, we approach our work as though that goal is 100 percent attainable – as though we can eradicate poverty and marginalization – and I truly believe that every day, we get a little closer.

That’s why I also believe we’re morally obligated to explore and leverage every tool that might help us. I’m convinced that private-sector partnerships and shared value are as critical as any other means at our disposal. The development sector is evolving, and we must evolve with it. The nonprofit of the future has to be able to analyze corporate business models and engage private-sector partners to make the most impact possible for the most vulnerable.

With this in mind, we created Pact Institute, a nonprofit Pact subsidiary, to give us a flexible mechanism to creatively pair our assets and knowledge with the power of the private sector. The path was not straightforward when we began, and that was a big reason why we chose to change the structure of our organization. We hoped that a Pact subsidiary would allow us to legally separate but culturally incorporate a very intentional effort to quickly create authentic connections with corporate partners and foundations.

Several years later, I’m proud of the success we’ve achieved. Without question, we are a stronger and more impactful organization because of our choice.

In partnership with corporations and foundations, we’re decreasing mother-to-child HIV transmission in Nigeria, supporting women entrepreneurs in Myanmar and assuring conflict-free minerals in the Great Lakes region of Africa. And we’re now building on our success with a new Pact subsidiary that goes beyond corporate social responsibility and focuses on social impact investing and social enterprises.

We’re grateful that the Shared Value Initiative chose to highlight what we’ve accomplished in this new case study. We hope it provides information and insight that other development organizations find useful.

If I believe anything, it’s that we are truly all in this together, and it is that approach that will one day achieve the world Pact envisions.