Rockefeller Foundation’s “Zero Gap” Global Funding Approach

The Rockefeller Foundation’s current innovative finance portfolio, called “Zero Gap,” works to develop new financing mechanisms to mobilize large pools of private capital, identifying, and supporting innovations that have the potential to create a bigger impact. Global philanthropic funds, even when combined with the development or aid budgets of governments, add up into the mere billions of dollars. Meanwhile, the cost of solving the world’s most critical problems runs into the trillions—including an estimated $2.5 trillion annual funding gap needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in developing countries alone. Private capital is urgently needed in order to fill this gap and address pressing global challenges.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s “Zero Gap” portfolio includes:

  • Extreme Climate Facility (XCF) is an African-led effort designed to access private capital, diversifying the sources and increasing the amount of international funding available for climate adaptation in Africa.
  • UNITLIFE is a proposed micro-levy based financing model designed to create a new, large, and stable funding source for the fight against chronic malnutrition, harnessing previously untapped capital for social good.
  • Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are an innovative method of financing social programs in which government partners with service providers and the private sector to fund social programs. Investors are repaid if and when improved social outcomes are achieved.
  • Social Success Note is a feasibility study for the development of a new pay-for-performance financing mechanism for social enterprises to attract mainstream investment capital, while overcoming the trade-off between social impact and financial return.

Over the past decade, The Rockefeller Foundation has developed and refined a powerful strategic model for accomplishing their mission of “promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world.” This model helps the Foundation employ its resources for maximum impact by looking at complex problems differently to create breakthrough solutions.  They also identify emergent opportunities and then test them by leveraging their brand, reputation, knowledge, and networks in order to achieve scale. By using sophisticated and innovative tools to analyze global problems and market forces and implementing innovative solutions they are able to form strategic partnerships, leverage tipping points, and transform systems.

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