Our investment strategy includes funding projects in our priority sectors as well as seeking to influence the development of a more efficient philanthropic marketplace.

Our investment strategy includes funding projects in our priority sectors as well as seeking to influence the development of a more efficient philanthropic marketplace. Within this sector-based approach, we aim to obtain the highest possible returns on investment by allocating capital to the most effective humanitarian projects and programmes, whilst requiring investment-grade levels of transparency and accountability from grantees.

The Foundation's priority sectors are:


  1. Human Liberty

    An estimated 35.8 million people live in a state of modern slavery today. Slavery is a global, criminal industry generating $150bn a year. It takes many forms, and is known by many names. Today’s slaves are trapped in fishing fleets and sweatshops, mines and brothels, and in the fields and plantations of countries across the world. It can be called human trafficking, forced labour, slavery, or it can refer to the slavery-like practices that include debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.

    Building on fifteen years of anti-slavery work, the Legatum Foundation partnered with Humanity United and Walk Free in 2013 to launch The Freedom Fund. 
    The Freedom Fund is an active ingredient in a new abolitionist movement that is raising more than $100 million for the fight against modern slavery. The Fund generates private funding, demonstrates how effective interventions can protect those at risk of being enslaved, invests in countries with the greatest incidence of slavery, brings together a community of activists committed to the cause and, ultimately, aims to bring an end to modern slavery.

    Building on fifteen years of anti-slavery work, the Legatum Foundation partnered with Humanity United and Walk Free in 2013 to launch the Freedom Fund.

    The Freedom Fund is an active ingredient in a new abolitionist movement that is raising more than $100 million for the fight against modern slavery. The Fund generates private funding, demonstrates how effective interventions can protect those at risk of being enslaved, invests in countries with the greatest incidence of slavery, brings together a community of activists committed to the cause and, ultimately, aims to bring an end to modern slavery.

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    1. Strategic Initiative

      North India Human Liberty

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  2. Disaster Recovery

    Legatum invests grant capital to alleviate human suffering caused by war, famine and other disasters. At times this amounts to funding basic needs such as shelter, food and water, but Legatum also funds projects that draw the world's attention to ongoing crises that demand a response but suffer from a lack of media attention.

    One example is in northern Uganda where twenty years of war displaced more than two million people. Prior to the recent peace talks, Legatum invested in a documentary film production and awareness campaign about child soldiers caught up in the conflict, called "Invisible Children". More than one million people saw the documentary, and until its closure in 2014 the Invisible Children group achieved a 92% reduction in LRA killings in the previous three years, returned 1.8 million displaced people to their communities and 2,659 abducted people back to their families, built 11 Ugandan schools, and had two bills passed through U.S. Congress.

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    1. Strategic Initiative

      Haiti Earthquake Recovery

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  3. Education

    Education is key to economic growth, civil society and to the advancement of peace. Nations that fail to educate their young are often characterised by stultified growth, conflict and many forms of child exploitation. Legatum therefore focusses on initiatives that help provide education to children in developing countries, with a particular emphasis on out-of-school children. 

    UNESCO estimates that 121 million children and adolescents worldwide are out of school. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than half of these children and has the highest out-of-school rate of all regions. When children miss out on acquiring basic numeracy and literacy skills they are excluded from formal education for life and face greatly reduced vocational prospects. Lack of education puts children at a much greater risk of a lifetime of poverty and poor health, creating a cycle they will pass on to their children.

    In 2015 the Legatum Foundation launched The Luminos Fund, based on the success of the Speed School programme which has helped over 126,000 children get back to school in West Africa and Ethiopia. Speed School is an accelerated learning programme that compresses three years of curriculum into 10 months, enabling graduates to acquire the skills needed to re-enter formal education.

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    1. Strategic Initiative

      Ethiopia Speed School Initiative

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  4. Economic Empowerment

    Typically, grants are finite in that, once deployed, the capital is seldom returned or multiplied. For a community to experience sustained prosperity, however, underlying economic activity is required. In order to kick start the creation of markets and the provision of goods and services, Legatum provides modest capital to entrepreneurs to enable them to start their businesses. These grants span both geography and sector and include funds for small stores, microbusinesses and vocational training. Most programmes are focussed on women who, in poorer communities, are often more vulnerable to physical and sexual exploitation.

    SEE OUR ACTIVITY IN THIS SECTOR

    1. Strategic Initiative

      West Africa Women’s Economic Empowerment

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  5. Health

    Legatum focusses upon funding projects that address major health issues in the developing world such as HIV/AIDS, clean water and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). During SI Fund I alone, Legatum invested in 103 projects that addressed education, prevention and care relating to HIV and AIDS.

    One grant in Eastern Africa brought together HIV/AIDS implementers and the Burundi government to positively impact the lives of 46,000 people. Another example of Legatum's commitment for improving health is the END Fund, which the Legatum Foundation founded in 2012.

    Today, the END Fund is a leading, catalytic partner in the global movement to control and eliminate the most common NTDs by 2020. In order to meet the global health community's 2020 goals, over one billion treatments need to be delivered to countries annually and hundreds of thousands of community health workers need to be mobilized to deliver medicines. The largest mass drug administration programme in human history is poised to be launched.

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    1. Strategic Initiative

      Ukraine HIV/AIDS

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  6. Environment

    For people struggling with extreme poverty, environmental degradation and the resulting loss of natural resources can tip an already precarious scale. An estimated 80 percent of Latin America's poor live on land of low agricultural productivity and high susceptibility to degradation - as do 60 percent of poor Asians and half of poor Africans. Loss of habitat and species diversity significantly decreases opportunities for tourism income in places where other sources of livelihood are often not available.

    These are environmental issues, but they have profound effects on quality of life for millions of people worldwide. And while these issues are global in scope, solutions lie in local communities.

    SEE OUR ACTIVITY IN THIS SECTOR

    1. Strategic Initiative

      North Haiti Environment

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