GIIN Response to COVID-19

A global crisis requires a global response. As the coronavirus takes its toll around the world, unfortunately, those who are most vulnerable will be impacted the most. Now more than ever, the world requires the robust and scalable power of finance to support those in need.

Message from the GIIN's CEO Amit Bouri:

Dear all,

I hope this message finds you healthy and safe, wherever you are.

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds around us, our entire world is changing in unimaginable ways. And yet, many of the impacts are intensely personal. Our daily lives have been upended. Loved ones and friends may be sick. We are in a truly global moment of crisis.

We are already seeing profound examples of courage, leadership, and generosity in response.

But the worldwide toll is already taking shape, too. The health impacts appear to be unprecedented in modern times as healthcare systems struggle to care for ill patients. The economic impacts are increasingly tangible as millions of workers face lost wages and the financial markets erupt in volatility. The psychological impacts are just beginning to surface as pandemic fear takes root.

Worse still – these impacts are causing the most harm to those who were already most vulnerable: the world’s ill, elderly, and poor.

And yet, this crisis also points clearly toward the urgent need for the work of our global impact investing community.

Now, more than ever, the world requires the robust and scalable power of finance to address its most pressing global problems – problems such as climate change and inequality that, just like COVID-19, transcend our international borders. We must be working alongside world governments and non-profits.

Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic highlights our global interconnectedness and interdependence. That expansive web of human connection is, of course, how the virus moved around the world.

But ironically, those same global links are also the solution.

Our interconnectedness and interdependence allow us to powerfully confront this threat. Resilient global supply chains, an international economic response, and broad-based medical efforts will hopefully stave off the very worst of the pandemic’s effects. After all, a global crisis requires a global response.

Of course, the impact investing community must play its part in that response.

As those efforts develop, you can count on GIIN staff – working with our GIIN members and partners – to support the industry’s work in this time of need. We are already working to assist our network in various coronavirus-related efforts and are preparing to support collective leadership that will span across our industry.

In the past days, I have been so grateful to hear from many of you about how you are responding to this crisis and how you are coping in this difficult time. Please keep that feedback coming.

This pandemic only makes the needs of our world more pressing – and only makes clearer the world’s need for the work of this impact investing community.

Take good care, and best wishes,

Amit Bouri

What phases of funding are needed to address this global crisis, COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an overwhelming challenge, which makes it difficult for investors to determine how to respond to address some of the challenges that this pandemic raises - both now, in the medium term, and in the long term. To help investors frame their efforts, the GIIN has begun examining patterns of lessons investors have learned from past disasters and global crises.

Some patterns worth noting help to outline an emerging model, which demonstrates that three distinct phases of funding (or investment) are needed to address this global crisis:


The response phase features of funding are largely about dealing with an immediate need to respond to an emergency. For instance, in looking at public health, this could be funding to supply equipment, beds, and personal protective equipment for frontline health staff. Here the funding needs to be coordinated, liquid and unrestricted. And the nature of funding is largely grant or government aided emergency funding. 


In the recovery phase of funding, the focus is on trying to maintain infrastructure that isn’t broken and tries to restore infrastructure. Examples of this might include: the government stepping in with economic packages to prevent job losses/provide sick leave/unemployment support, investors providing bridging loan facilities, and investors relaxing terms in order to provide investees with the breathing room to weather the storm.


The resilience phase of funding focuses on more systemic solutions – long term future proofing so that we do not end up in the same situation again. During this phase, there are investments in innovation - technologies and solutions that start to consider how we build a more resilient, better prepared world. These may include investments in medications and vaccinations, but it also can include investments into new technologies to cope with future problems.

In this phase, particularly because of the pervasive scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may see investment in radical systemic change as well. Changes that either are at the root cause of the pandemic or are highlighted by it. For example investment in solutions to prevent environmental degradation, or investments that address inequality through solutions that focus on quality job creation or financial inclusion. Catalytic capital can also play a critical role in this phase, especially in innovation and systems change. 

How are impact investors addressing COVID-19?

How are impact investors demonstrating their leadership and taking tangible steps to change the course of this pandemic? GIIN members and strategic partners around the world are leveraging the power of finance to address the world's biggest challenges. The following list of news and resources details many examples of the coronavirus-related initiatives being led by GIIN members around the world:

Funds/Funding Initiatives:

Acumen, CDC, responsAbility, Shell Foundation, and others
Developed the EUR 100 million COVID-19 Energy Access Relief Fund (website)

Big Society Capital
Social investors launch £100 million program of loans, including a new Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (announcement)


Commits $50 million to help meet immediate needs of those most affected (announcement)

BlueOrchard invests in IFC’s COVID-19 social bond issuance (announcement)

Committing $3 million in zero-interest loans to help rural CDFIs accelerate lending to hardest-hit communities (announcement)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Targets EUR 21 billion of coronavirus financing through 2021, and is dedicating the entirety of its activities to help combat the economic impact of the crisis (announcement)

Ford Foundation, Nonprofit Finance Fund, and others
NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund (announcement)

Increasing its COVID-19 related financing availability to $8 billion as part of a $14 billion World Bank Group package, up from an earlier $6 billion (announcement)

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Issues $2 billion 5-year sustainable development bond (announcement)

Impact Investment Exchange (IIX)
Launching emergency financing facility to provide grants and loans to SMEs (announcement)

International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation
Providing $850 million to mitigate COVID-19 crisis in Organization of Islamic Cooperation member countries (announcement)

Kresge Foundation
Interest waiver of program-related investments from April 1 to September 30, 2020. The policy will generate about $1 million in relief to 41 related partners. (announcement)

MacArthur Foundation
Supporting a number of funds aimed at helping those affected by COVID-19 in Illinois, including; the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, and the Chicago COVID-19 Journalism Fund

Mastercard, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Wellcome
COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator (announcement)

Oikocredit International Support Foundation (ISUP) has created a coronavirus solidarity fund to support end clients (announcement)

Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network India announces rapid response funding to support lower income groups dealing with COVID-19 (announcement)

Open Road Alliance

Open Road Impact Fund (providing short-term bridge loans - more info)
COVID-19 loan products

Launching an emergency liquidity facility to support MSMEs (concept note)

The Rockefeller Foundation

Commits $20 million in COVID-19 assistance to create a better tracking and management system and support vulnerable communities (announcement)

Village Capital in Partnership with Sorenson Impact Foundation
Launched coalition of active investors and an aggregated pipeline of innovative companies responding to COVID-19 challenges (join here)

Visa Foundation
Commits $210 million to support small and micro-businesses (announcement)

Vital Capital Fund

Launched emergency debt facility to offer critical funding to impactful African companies during coronavirus pandemic (press release)

Surveys/Calls to Action:

Acumen, Open Road Alliance, and USAID

Conducting impact investing industry survey to map what funding is available in the impact investing sector for social enterprises to manage disruptions caused by coronavirus.

Domini Impact Investments 
Urging shareholder advocacy through this Investor Statement on Coronavirus Response

Open Road Alliance 
Collecting interest for ongoing collaboration through this survey

Investor Actions:

Bank of America, Deutsche Bank America, and Others
Over 100 corporations support a COVID-19 Diversity & Inclusion Action Agenda (announcement)

Big Society Capital
Supporting their grantees and investees by information sharing, adjusting existing funding, and exploring new funding (announcement)

DOEN Foundation
Providing tailored support to investees (announcement)

Finance in Motion
EFSE Development Facility launched an advisory program to assist MSE investees with liquidity challenges, risk management, stakeholder communication, and more (announcement)

IDB Invest
Announces support areas for deploying financial and technical resources to countries affected by COVID-19 (announcement)

Impact Investor MoU for Debt Refinancing Coordination BlueOrchard, Developing World Markets, Incofin, Microvest, Oikocredit, responsAbility, Triodos IM, Triple Jump and Symbiotics
Signed an MoU for increased coordination in response to COVID-19. Impact fund managers are invited to join this initiative. (press release)

Inter-American Development Bank
Reprogramming existing portfolio to respond to COVID-19 (announcement)

Lemelson Foundation
Accommodating modifications and scheduling changes requested by their grantees.

PG Impact Investments
Announced senior executives forgoing salary in response to COVID-19 crisis (announcement)

SANAD Technical Assistance Facility
Rolled out its crises response program to support the financial sector in MENA serving MSMEs (announcement)

Soros Economic Development Fund / Open Society Foundations
Considering the provision of bridging finance or follow-on investments, or funding capital calls, and continuing to look for new investments (announcement)

Village Capital
Insights from Village Capital CEO Allie Burns: How social enterprises and funders are responding to the crisis (article)

Note: the above resources were listed in the GIIN's recent Newsletters. View the newsletters:

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