by Rosemary Addis

A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.
– Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

We’ve had an extraordinary privilege over the last 3½ years. An opportunity to enliven and give form to possibility; an opportunity to bring energy and encouragement to many people and organisations that would like to be part of shaping the Australia and world we want for the future. In this edition of Many Returns we celebrate that; we celebrate our team, their courage and commitment; and we celebrate what has been achieved working with many of you.

I want to thank our team. This is no ordinary job. Many acknowledgements are due and will be made as we farewell outstanding team members: Dan Madhavan, Carly Hammond, Lisa Powell and Gayertree Subramaniam today. They each took a leap of faith in some measure; they have embraced the challenges and opportunities with commitment, energy, tenacity and humour. Dan, as CEO has earned the respect, trust and admiration of the team and many in the market and community. We are all grateful he took a detour from his original plans in 2014 and we really look forward to seeing what the next chapter brings for all of them.

Dan and the team led dynamic and diverse groups to design, scope, and deliver key initiatives identified in the 2014 Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing strategy to catalyse impact investment in and from Australia: Delivering on Impact.

We are grateful to the supporters and partners who helped make this possible: NAB backed the vision and opportunity from the earliest stages. Generous support has also come from The Benevolent SocietyLife Without BarriersQBEPerpetualUnitingCare QldFamily Life, the University of MelbourneDeloitte Access EconomicsA.T. KearneyAshurst and the NSW Government.  Many volunteers, including over 70 senior leaders from across the country and across sectors, gave time and energy to work with the team and the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing, and many continue to do so.

We have all been energised, humbled and enriched by the energetic response to the call to action when Australia had the unique opportunity to be part of the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce. People and organisations from all walks who care about people and our planet came forward to contribute. And we now work with thought leaders and practitioners across 13 countries who have already joined the collective global effort and many more who are getting ready to join.

Together we’ve achieved things none of us could have done alone and made headway to grow the market for impact investment, shining a light on its potential to drive more and more effective ways of tackling issues affecting society.

We remain more convinced than ever of the clear potential for a vibrant, dynamic and informed market at scale operating in and from Australia. There is a lot more work to do to realise the vision relayed by the Australian community and practitioners in the processes that informed IMPACT-Australia in 2012 and Delivering on Impact in 2014, and to achieve the global goal of reaching a tipping point by 2020.

Gratitude for the opportunity and pride in what has been achieved is tinged with some sadness for our team, who see the future potential and the challenges to be overcome writ large. They, like many of you would have liked to see Impact Investing Australia take a run at the next wave of market building. The collective investment for the full suite of market building activity to continue has not yet been achieved. So we are making changes that focus our immediate work on completing what we started.

At least for the time being, Impact Investing Australia will focus in driving two flagship initiatives: the Impact Investment Readiness Growth Grants, which are already demonstrating the range of impact driven organisations that can raise capital to grow their operations and impact; and Impact Capital Australia, which will change the game with mission, mandate and capital to pump prime the intermediary market and demonstrate different models for achieving impact at scale.

We couldn’t have a more committed and talented senior leader than Sally McCutchan to drive development of these critical pieces of market infrastructure. Her credentials as a fund manager and strategist brought critical value to our work over the past two years, as part of the leadership team and on Impact Capital Australia.

Your continued support and collaboration will continue to ensure these initiatives can be delivered with rigour and excellence to provide the breakthroughs in delivering impact at scale for which they have been designed.

And so, a new chapter begins. A new chapter for Dan and the team members moving to their next opportunity to influence and create impact; we’ll be excited to see where they land and work with them in new roles. A new chapter for Impact Investing Australia, Sally and the team that remains with a clear focus on delivery. And a new chapter for the Australian Advisory Board as it steps into working more directly with a broader group of people and organisations in development and execution of the next wave of strategy to drive impact investment in and from Australia to a tipping point.