Cristina Shapiro, President of UNICEF USA’s Impact Fund for Children, discusses how the innovative fund structure reduces response times and improves outcomes
“If you’re able to invest dollars early on, the economic benefit to that child, that child’s family, and that child’s community is remarkable.”
“COVID was a major setback for children. For the first time we saw a shift back in terms of progress on outcomes for children. We saw 150 million incremental children fall back into poverty, taking that number to 1.2 billion. So philanthropy is critical, government support is critical, but so is the private sector.”
– Cristina Shapiro, President of UNICEF USA’s Impact Fund for Children
For 75 years UNICEF has been supporting the well-being of children around the globe, helping to save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. Operating in over 190 countries, UNICEF supports projects across a variety of impact areas from health care to education to emergency relief. In 2011, UNICEF USA launched an impact investment fund, the innovative Impact Fund for Children (IF4C), in an effort to further the NGO’s impact. The fund accelerates capital to UNICEF, reducing the time gap between donor commitments and when funding can be deployed, therefore improving response times to urgent needs (such as COVID and disaster relief) and saving lives. In the ten years since the fund’s launch, the IF4C has deployed close to half a billion dollars.
Episode 67 of Money and Meaning features Cristina Shapiro, the President of UNICEF USA’s Impact Fund for Children. Previously Cristina served as the Head of Global Strategy, Management and Employee Engagement for the Goldman Sachs Foundation and the global head of the 10,000 Women initiative. During the episode, Cristina talks about the innovative fund design that utilizes both grant and investment capital, the multiplying effect of investing in children, and new ways the IF4C is thinking about the use of investment capital to confront challenges facing children around the globe.
- Learn more about the Impact Fund for Children’s two arms: the Bridge Fund and the Fast Fund
- Donate to the Bridge Fund
- Read the IF4C’s 2020 Annual Report
- “The coronavirus crisis demands impact funds” by Cristina Shapiro in the Financial Times
- “It’s time to integrate children’s issues in ESG frameworks” by Charlotte Petri Gornitzka of UNICEF in ImpactAlpha
- Learn more about impact investing and find innovative examples of impact investing at work on our page “What Is Impact Investing?“
Money + Meaning is the official podcast of SOCAP. The series aims to expand the conversation around impact investing and strategies to finance and support social change while stimulating innovative and valuable new partnerships across sectors.