12 December 2019 - Article
Withers hosted a roundtable discussion in London on 'Innovative models for engaging philanthropists and social investors', which was organised jointly by Philanthropy Impact and The Maverick Collective.
The afternoon began with an interview of Her Royal Highness, The Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and Kate Roberts, conducted by Alana Petraske, special counsel in Withers' charities and philanthropy team.
Her Royal Highness is the co-chair and co-founder of philanthropic and advocacy initiative, Maverick Collective, along with Melinda Gates and Kate Roberts. Maverick Collective now has 23 members and has already made an impressive impact on the lives of over 800,000 women and girls around the world. For her part, The Crown Princess is engaged in a broad range of national and international issues, most notably HIV and AIDS-related work. A main focus is to strengthen youth leadership and form international partnerships focused on encouraging more women to use their voice to ensure equal rights for girls and women everywhere.
Kate is Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Philanthropy at PSI. She has designed and led several highly successful public health initiatives, including YouthAIDS and Five & Alive, to increase public awareness around HIV and prevent the spread of the disease among young people.
Together with Melinda Gates, they decided to set up Maverick Collective as a way to engage likeminded philanthropists to jointly tackle challenges faced by women and girls in some the most disadvantaged communities in the world. Philanthropists, who become members of Maverick Collective, bring their knowledge, expertise, skills and financial resources to work with PSI teams to solve pressing challenges. Members are fully integrated into PSI’s work as members of the team.
The interview highlighted the collaborative approach taken by Maverick Collective and the rewards and challenges of leveraging private funds for public impact. We heard of the 'fail and learn fast' approach and in particular how the Maverick Collective tests new approaches and promising solutions through seed investment. From cervical cancer interventions to bringing toilets and improved sanitation, Her Royal Highness and Ms. Roberts, painted a picture of the important and exciting work of 'the Mavericks'.
The second part of the event was a panel consisting of Madeleine Clarke, Board Chair of European Venture Philanthropy Association, Camilla Hagen Sorli, philanthropist and member of The Maverick Collective, Paul Knox, head of wealth advisory at J P Morgan, and Kate Roberts. The panel considered a variety of perspectives on philanthropy and social investment including the challenges of impact measurement and 'deal flow', the importance of philanthropy in testing out interventions deemed too risky for governments, the move away from cheque-book philanthropy and the challenges for young philanthropists and social entrepreneurs. The importance of informed professional advisers in encouraging philanthropy also echoed the research undertaken by Philanthropy Impact and mentioned by CEO John Pepin in opening remarks.
The lively discussion carried on for some time in our reception space amongst charities, philanthropists, family office professionals and other advisers.