Rebalancing Economies: a project looking at how philanthropic capital can support sustainable investment

Starting point

We instinctively wanted to explore how we bring consideration for the future into today’s investment decision-making. And then we met Jake Hayman! In partnership with Jake and Ten Years’ Time ( we designed and worked through a process to find the right opportunities for us to support with our £1m budget. So far, we are funding 10 organisations and 3 individuals leading in this space (a full list will be published shortly). We look forward to building these new partnerships, and finding others doing important work…

The (all important) process

Stage 1: creating the narrative document

We met with lots of different and interesting people and wrote down what we heard, their views on change, what matters to them and why. We later shared a draft of the narrative document and asked them to comment to make sure we had understood correctly, and also to share the knowledge we’d collected from others.

Stage 2: identifying our starting point

With our overall focus being to bring a consideration for the future into today’s economies and financial systems, some key areas of interest emerged from the process and what we’d heard. We narrowed it down to six main areas, and then to three. We were also able to draw out from the narrative certain themes which we felt could frame our decision making; the prisms, ideals and behaviours we were looking for.

Headline areas of interest:

  • Looking at new models for accounting, governance and for analysing risk;
  • Modelling new systems of value creation, wage redistribution, and corporate and investor behaviour that encourage long-term thinking and fairness;
  • Rethinking how we look at responsible land use for agriculture and food production, including supporting education, access to information and building consumer movements.

Prisms: leadership, fairness and power

Ideals: multi-capitalism, balance and eco-civilisation

Behaviours: embracing complexity, being prepared to do what is difficult and constantly checking and challenging ourselves

Stage 3: asking for nominations

We sent our narrative and request for nominations to all the people we’d encountered so far with the aim of identifying people doing exciting work in these areas. We received around 70 nominations, 40 of which were a good fit with our focus and prisms, ideals and behaviours. We then held a roundtable with various funders, grantees and others to help us think about our role within the broader community, as another way of challenging ourselves to think about our own decision-making.

Stage 4: starting to build partnerships

We decided to partner with 10 organisations and create a Leaders’ Fund to support 3 individuals. We’re continuing to meet a number of others we didn’t fund but wanted to if only we’d have had a bigger budget. We are also starting new conversations. All of these will feed into our Emergent Narrative document which will be updated with fresh perspectives and ideas, and will in turn inform our strategy!

Link to full document

There is a link to our Emergent Narrative here. Thirty Percy – Emergent Narrative – Rebalancing Economies – v6

This includes an Executive Summary (5 min read) which sits on top of our longer brain-trust document – our Emergent Narrative – which starts on Page 6 (30 min read). We do not seek credit for the conclusions or insight in this document as it has come from the hard work and generosity of others who have informed and challenged us in equal measure.