Prince Charles Debuts $100 Million Gender Lens Fund for South Asia

Prince Charles announced the launch of a new $100 million fund to support women and girls in South Asia at Buckingham Palace. (Photo courtesy Clarendon House)

The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, announced this week the launch of a new $100 million fund that aims to reach half a million women and girls in South Asia with education and professional opportunities in five years.

“The sustainable development goals endorsed by 193 member states at the United Nations cannot be achieved unless radical new approaches are developed,” said Prince Charles, upon unveiling the new fund. “I am very proud that the British Asian Trust is at the forefront of developing such innovations.”

British Asian Trust (BAT) will act as the investment banker for this project, raising capital and implementing the project, and will seek funding for new project from the big bank foundations for the initial risk investment. Added funding will be sought from national governments and other big donors.

The British Asian Trust was founded in 2007 at the suggestion of Prince Charles and is one of the Prince’s 20 charities.  For this $100 million investment in women and girls, BAT’s plan is to combine venture capital funding with options contracts that are paid when certain social goals of investment are made.

This “pay for success” type funding innovation has become increasingly popular, as investors look for ways to get a return on their money and also fulfill corporate social responsibility targets.

Prince Charles’ announcement of the new activity for BAT comes at a time when donors are increasingly recognizing the value of both a social and financial return on their investments. Women donors, in particular, may want to be alerted to this new venture impacting the lives of women and girls in South Asia.

Prince Charles referred to the new project as BAT’s “most ambitious to date.” As gender lens investing and gender lens grantmaking continue to evolve, we expect to see much more activity like this announcement from the Prince of Wales.

More on the announcement here. 

Related:

Gender Lens Experts: Check Out this Women and Money Summit

How BRAVA Investments is Taking Gender Lens Investing Mainstream

Introducing the Philanthropy Women Funding Guides

Supporting Women-Led Enterprises in South East Asia: Root Capital Partners with Australian Government

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Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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