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Eleos Foundation (2007–projected: 2020)

Total Assets: $6,000,000 endowment

As of 2010: $6,834,293

Total Giving (2012): $19,000

Prominent Grants:Sanergy, a startup that’s bringing clean toilets to slums in Kenya through a franchise model; Eneza, a business designed to provide quality mobile-phone-based education to students in the world’s most remote areas.

Summary: The Eleos Foundation strives to improve millions of lives by investing in pioneering business solutions to poverty. It was originally founded to make small grants in emerging markets, particularly around issues affecting women and children[1]. To increase impact, the Foundation’s board made the decision to shift to a social-impact investing foundation from a traditional grant-making organization. In part, this involved a commitment to spend down the Foundation’s funds into social impact investments within 10 years. The Foundation does continue to give some grants, but its primary focus is now on social impact investments. The hope is that the Eleos Foundation will become a self-sustaining entity not through maintaining its corpus but through earning a return on its investments.

The Foundation functions under the theory that early-stage social businesses are challenged by the lack of financial and technological support needed to achieve success. The Foundation seeks to bridge this ‘pioneer gap’ by providing entrepreneurs with the capital and advisory support needed to take their business from a pilot to a proven model, ready to scale.

It works with companies in East Africa, Liberia, India, Central America, and the Northern Andean Corridor.