Our ultimate goal is to stimulate a paradigm shift in philanthropy, creating an open, transparent and vibrant marketplace with greater accountability and the more efficient allocation of capital: this is "the great".

To alleviate poverty, good development must do more than just change material circumstances; it must also address aspects of a culture's world views, beliefs and social model which contribute to poverty's hold on society. Whilst we focus always on achieving substantial "life change," supported by robust metrics, this is only "the good." Our ultimate goal is to stimulate a paradigm shift in philanthropy, creating an open, transparent and vibrant marketplace with greater accountability and the more efficient allocation of capital: this is "the great".

Our approach to development can be summarised in three interrelated principles:

  • Approaching development with an investment mind-set
  • Catalysing sustainable and measurable social improvements
  • Encouraging community initiative and ownership

We seek to identify and promote organisations and programmes that focus on a "hand up" rather than a traditional "hand out". In many cases, only a modest initial grant is required to build upon existing projects and ensure sustainability. Over the years Legatum has originated, incubated and scaled ground-breaking interventions that tackle some of the biggest challenges of our generation. These have included our work around Neglected Tropical Diseases, Human Trafficking and Education.

The Legatum SI Fund

From 2007-2017, the Legatum Foundation organised and structured its granting according to the Strategic Initiative model, which enabled us to coordinate the efforts of otherwise isolated programmes and increase the size and depth of the impact over a three to four-year implementation period. 

SI Fund I saw 12 million lives changed from 2007 to 2010, and included 22 strategic initiatives – 150 projects – across 19 countries.

SI Fund II, which ran from 2011 to 2014, included 7 strategic initiatives and 62 projects in seven countries. The fund delved into five sectors including Conflict and Disaster Recovery, Economic Empowerment, Education, Health, and Human Liberty. Over the course of the three years more than 2,465,665 people were impacted, with an average cost per life of $6.81.

The Legatum Foundation's SI Fund III, covering the period 2014 to 2017, included 59 projects in 7 countries. The fund focused on 4 strategic initiatives including Nepal Human Liberty, Ethiopia Speed Schools, China Social Sector Pioneers and the Accelerator Fund.  Over the course of the three years more than 433,500 unique lives were impacted, with an average cost per life of $19. Overall, 91% of projects achieved or overachieved their benchmarks.

Today, the Legatum Foundation focuses on five strategic philanthropic investments, including the END Fund, to control and eliminate NTDs; the Freedom Fund, to combat modern slavery; the Luminos Fund, to create education innovations to unlock the light within every child; the Legatum Institute, to enable prosperous societies; and the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, to create principled leaders who want to change the world.

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