Washington, D.C. 5 May 2020 – Forty leading global organizations, including the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, have united to launch the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, pooling knowledge, experience and responses to alleviate suffering and advance new models of change for a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable world.
“Social entrepreneurs and their community partners have been working for years to solve market failures and demonstrate more sustainable and inclusive models. These front-line organizations now face bankruptcy and severe constraints while they also innovate and respond to this global pandemic. Through this alliance, members are committing support for social entrepreneurs to protect decades of work in the impact sector,” said François Bonnici, Director and Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship at the World Economic Forum.
Alliance members currently support more than 15,000 social entrepreneurs helping 1.5 billion people cumulatively in over 190 countries, working to serve the needs of excluded, marginalized and vulnerable groups – many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The alliance also will coordinate between member organizations and amplify the support for social entrepreneurs under extreme stress by the pandemic.
Organizations in the alliance have already announced USD$75 million in response to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. “The Skoll Foundation has committed to quadrupling our grant-making this year to respond to the COVID-19 crisis," said Don Gips, Chief Executive Officer, Skoll Foundation. “We hope that this alliance will encourage others to join us in expanding support to social entrepreneurs and convincing governments of the critical leadership role that social entrepreneurs play in the response and recovery from this global pandemic.”
The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs will coordinate support for social entrepreneurs in four key ways:
This initiative will also feature Covidcap.com, a new resource developed by the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University. This dashboard, a searchable database of emergency funds available to non-profit and for-profit entrepreneurs during COVID-19, contains global capital relief offers worth more than $1 trillion.
"The economic fallout from COVID-19 could push half a billion more people into poverty. Social entrepreneurs are the de facto social net in many emerging economies. We need to intervene to help them before it's too late," said Saskia Bruysten, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Yunus Social Business.
The growing list of foundations, sector organizations, multilateral organizations, private companies and non-governmental organizations joining the Alliance include: Aavishkaar Group, Acumen, Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA), Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), Ashoka, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), B Lab, Bertelsmann Stiftung, CASE at Duke University, Catalyst 2030, Co-Impact, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Echoing Green, European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), Fundación Avina, GHR Foundation, Global Innovation Fund, Global Steering Group for Impact Investing (GSG), Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Greenwood Place, IKEA Foundation, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Assets, Impact Hub, Johnson & Johnson, KIVA, LatImpacto, Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, Mercy Corps Ventures, Motsepe Foundation, NESsT, Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), Rippleworks, Root Capital, SAP, Schwab Foundation, Skoll Foundation, USAID, Yunus Social Business.
“Lex Mundi member firms are critical allies supporting social entrepreneurs’ great efforts. They help these organizations to start, grow and achieve their powerful missions. The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation’s strategic response to Covid-19 in conjunction with its membership in this alliance demonstrates how Lex Mundi firms are using their pro bono resources, time, and expertise to make a tremendous impact by assisting social entrepreneurs through this difficult time. We are thrilled to be a part of this important alliance.” said the Foundation's Managing Director, Isis Bous.
The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs will be supported by a secretariat hosted at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organization of the World Economic Forum and its Platform for Global Public Goods. “This alliance continues to strengthen our unwavering mission of sustainable and inclusive progress, which remains critical as business and government shape their response to the current crisis,” notes Dominic Waughray, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.
The development of the alliance is supported by the GHR Foundation and is operationally supported by Yunus Social Business, which has been co-developing the initiative. “This pandemic reminds us that our differences in faith, culture or politics are superseded by what we have in common,” said Amy Goldman, Chief Executive Officer and Chair, GHR Foundation, which is helping to underwrite the alliance. “And whether someone is a social entrepreneur or a member of a faith community or both at once, we all share a deep desire to alleviate suffering, support human dignity and help people build a better future. This alliance is going to help people do exactly that.”
About the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation
The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading network of independent law firms. The Foundation’s mission is to engage Lex Mundi’s global network of leading independent law firms to support and empower those working to bring about high impact and sustainable change that improves communities and lives. Lex Mundi lawyers provide critical pro bono legal services to the world’s leading social entrepreneurs.
About Lex Mundi
Lex Mundi is the world’s leading network of independent law firms delivering consistent, high-quality advice that is critical to solving complex cross-border challenges. Our carefully vetted, and continuously reviewed, top-tier member firms uphold the highest-level service standards while offering preferred access to more than 22,000+ lawyers worldwide in more than 125 countries. Supported by client-focused methods, innovative technologies, joint learning and training, member firms collaborate across borders and industries to deliver joined-up solutions focused on real business results for clients.
Through our innovative service delivery model, clients have the ability to assemble an ideal international legal team, with the best lawyers in the jurisdictions that match their unique footprint, flexed to their most significant legal challenges.
Lex Mundi member law firms are located throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America. Through our nonprofit affiliate, the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, our members also provide pro bono legal assistance to social entrepreneurs around the globe.