Every now and then, we take time to appreciate the lenders and funders who help make our work here at InvestEd possible. In the process, we uncover a bit more about their values and philosophy — worthwhile reading for anyone who shares the InvestEd mission.
Our lender spotlight for the month of December is focused on The Netherlands-based Vanderes Foundation. Founded in 2017, it started out as a capital fund that supported initiatives solely within the education sector.
Since January 2020, the Foundation has announced that it will now also support other focus areas like global health, animal welfare, and existential risk reduction. With this change, they aim to maximize their impact by engaging a wider range of social challenges that are big, solvable, and neglected. You can read more about their strategy change here.
At its core, the Vanderes Foundation invests in and lends to impactful social enterprises like InvestEd. The returns are then channeled back into other philantrophic interventions that are worthy of support.
Its late Founder, Ies van der Sluijs, firmly believed in education as a path out of poverty. In his youth, he and his wife lived through the Second World War and endured much hardship in the succeeding years. Education equipped them with the skills to take advantage of opportunities that came their way, and then eventually improve their situation.
According to Vanderes Foundation Chair Mirte Gosker, “Ies was a true believer in education as a key to break the chain of poverty. He knew he wanted to help improve people’s lives by helping young people get an education. Mies [his wife] used to tell their grandchildren, ‘People can take everything from you, but they can never take away your education.'”
Gosker, for her part, was instrumental in building the foundation from the ground up. Among other things, she developed the mission and vision, formed a team to oversee the fund, and secured Dutch certification as a Public Benefit Organization.
Organizations like InvestEd follow their mission while building a real business.
-- Mirte Gosker - Chair, Vanderes Foundation
Less than a year after the Foundation launched, Gosker stumbled upon InvestEd. At the time (February 2018), the Foundation was looking for innovative, education-focused organizations around the world.
InvestEd’s work in cracking the sustainability formula for education loans in the Philippines impressed Gosker. After some initial research and email exchanges, Gosker presented the case for supporting InvestEd to the Foundation Board. “I don’t think there was a lot of doubt among the board. InvestEd was doing exactly what we were looking for: a big, bold vision and outstanding leadership,” says Gosker.
Sometime after funding, she and InvestEd Co-Founder Carmina Bayombong met in person for the first time in Singapore. Recalling the encounter, Gosker shares, “It was only then that I realized how young she was. I was really blown away. Her passion, knowledge, and diligence make you [ponder] your life choices.”
Gosker thought that, if someone so young could make an impact, it wasn’t hard to imagine other equally impressive youth to likewise create something valuable for themselves and their communities — if only they had the education and opportunities to propel them. For Gosker, the collaboration between InvestEd and the Vanderes Foundation is helping to make that happen. What the late Ies van der Sluijs benefitted from all those years ago — escaping poverty through education — is what his Foundation envisions for future generations of the youth.
When we asked Gosker for investing advice she would give to funders considering organizations like InvestEd, she had this to say: “I’ve seen social enterprises fail because they lose sight of their mission, or they’re not financially sustainable. Organizations like InvestEd follow their mission while building a real business. That’s a good indicator for any sort of impact investor or foundation that what they’re supporting is definitely worthwhile.”
Are you an impact funder looking to make a difference in education? Become a lender at InvestEd and help launch the dreams of high-potential youth.