Being an impact-driven organisation linked to a company is not easy. How can corporate foundations and impact investors deal with the inherent tensions that this relationship brings, and safeguard their impact integrity?
Imagine for a moment that you were in charge of a corporate social investor (CSI – such as a corporate foundation, corporate impact fund, corporate impact incubator, accelerator, or social business). What would that mean? First, you would be operating in the social sector and lead activities that are designed to bring about positive societal impact. But a corporate social investor is also a unique entity due to its connection with a company that is by definition profit-oriented. As you can imagine, this relationship causes certain tensions that need to be carefully balanced. Even more so as an increasing number of companies are willing to tackle social and environmental challenges. While many corporate foundations have traditionally stayed clearly separate from the company, it is therefore increasingly difficult for them to continue to do so. This closer convergence leads to an increasing blurring of the lines between their respective scopes.