European venture philanthropy funds have invested US$1.25bn (Euro1 bn) in the organizations and initiatives they support. Half of that money has been invested in health and education. These are among the main findings of the first report on the state of the European Venture Philanthropy industry, published earlier in June by the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA).The report is based on a survey of 50 European Venture Philanthropy Organisations (VPOs) by EVPA’s Knowledge Centre, the first comprehensive survey of the industry since EVPA was founded in 2004.Venture philanthropy in Europe has strong links to the private equity and venture capital community. The founders of EVPA came from that community and many of the first VPOs were set up by their fellows. More recently, VPOs have been founded by established grantmaking foundations, financial institutions, and corporate foundations.
‘This VP industry report is the first step in a larger effort by the EVPA Knowledge Centre to provide independent statistics on an industry that is still in the early stages of evolution,’ said Dr Lisa Hehenberger, Research Director of EVPA and who supervised the study.
EVPA will repeat the survey every year to create a longitudinal database with VP industry statistics that can be analysed over time. EVPA’s objective is to help its members and other social investors/VP practitioners to improve their practices, attract resources and gain legitimacy as an industry.Other findings of the report show that European VPOs tend to focus their activities either on their own domestic market (30 per cent of their funding), on a particular region within that market (31 per cent), or on developing countries with Africa (18 per cent) and Asia (10 per cent) being the main target regions. Several members of EVPA (including Artha Initiative, Ashoka, LGT Venture Philanthropy, One Foundation and Shell Foundation) with investment activities in Asia have joined AVPN to develop their network and share learning in the region.VPOs, suggests the report, create societal impact by supporting young or very young social purpose organisations (NGOs, social businesses) and that venture philanthropists are hands-on, medium-term partners of the organisations they support. The survey found that 437 people are employed by the 48 European VPOs that responded to this question, with an average staff size of nine. Added to this number is a pool of 293 volunteers. VPOs also hire consulting services and use pro bono support from various types of organisations, the survey suggesting a median figure of 10 individuals and 3 organisations contributing non-financial support to a typical European VPO.AVPN will be launching its Knowledge Centre in 2013 and aims to build a similar database of activity in the Asia Pacific. Initially at least, this will be less comprehensive than that for Europe because the VP industry in Asia is much more fragmented, is at an earlier stage of development and there is less transparency. EVPA and AVPN will collaborate on the survey and research methodology so that the results can be compared.As venture philanthropy continues to grow, AVPN and EVPA’s industry building roles become increasingly important. EVPA acts as the main repository of data on the VP industry in Europe and AVPN will have a similar role in Asia.The above report was compiled from the EVPA press release of 4 June 2012 with additional extracts from the report itself.Register at and download the report from the EVPA website.