Pact creates new unit to connect with social enterprise investments

December 18, 2015

Last month, Pact’s Board of Directors approved a strategic investment in innovative funding mechanisms through the creation of a new business unit called Pact Ventures.

Pact works in more than 30 countries around the world to help people and communities build their capacity to generate income, improve access to quality health services, and gain lasting benefit from the sustainable use of the natural resources around them. To date, that work has been funded by international donors through grants and cooperative agreements. However, as traditional donor funding has stagnated, Pact, like many of its international NGO peers, has begun to look to the growth of impact investing, which seeks to create both social and financial returns, as a potential new way to further its work and increase its impact.

Pact created Pact Ventures as an intentional and strategic response to this emerging opportunity. Pact Ventures is charged with creating partnerships with the private sector, both traditional corporations and the fast-growing landscape of social enterprises and impact investors, to create new endeavors that connect the best contributions of cross-sector actors while advancing Pact’s social mission at scale. Pact Ventures will build on Pact’s global assets to add resources and innovative new business models in the geographies and technical areas where Pact is strongest.

“Pact is committed to helping people around the world escape poverty and own their own futures,” said Mark Viso, Pact’s president and CEO. “We know that to be effective at accomplishing this mission, we need to be relentlessly creative about how we approach our work. The international NGO of the future needs to have a diversified resourcing model that blends philanthropic capital from donor governments, foundations, and individuals, with revenue from businesses aligned with our mission.”

John Whalen will lead Pact Ventures, serving as its president. Whalen comes to Pact Ventures after spending the last five years successfully growing the impact of Pact Institute, a Pact subsidiary for engaging with non-U.S. government donors.

In framing the mandate of Pact Ventures, Whalen stated, “Pact is seeking to complement its robust grant-based development model funded by traditional donors with a new portfolio of investments and products in partnership with social enterprises and impact investors. Pact believes its best opportunity to achieve social impact at scale is through a dual model that leverages Pact assets and local relationships across Latin America, Africa, and Asia to achieve sustainable, long-term outcomes.”

In addition to the new unit, Pact also recently launched a new impact investing forum for INGOs along with Mercy Corps, GOAL, InsideNGO and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs. The forum offers organizations an opportunity to learn and collaborate around this emerging topic.