The £100m endowment fund announced by the Minister for Civil Society in December to will help charities attract social investment and win public contracts is expected to be launched in March.
In a speech made in December, Rob Wilson said the government was in talks with the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital about its plans for the fund, which it hoped would total £100m, of which £60m would come from the government and the rest from the BLF and the BSC. This is still to be finally agreed by the various parties.
The fund will be called Access – the Foundation for Social Investment. It was registered with the Charity Commission on 19 December, its governing documents having been incorporated in July, with objects including identifying needs in the social sector and developing the sector’s capacities and skills.
The charity appointed John Kingston as its chair last year. Kingston is a former chair of the Association of Charitable Foundations and founded CAF Venturesome, the social lending arm of the Charities Aid Foundation.
The eight-person board of Access also includes Steve Wyler, former chief executive of the community umbrella body Locality, Arvinda Gohil, chief executive of the homelessness charity Emmaus UK, and Annika Small, chief executive of the social technology funder the Nominet Trust.
In October, the foundation began recruiting for a chief executive, and final interviews were due to take place at the end of November.
The recruitment brief said the foundation would run a number of programmes, including the creation of a "wholesale blended capital facility" available to social investment finance intermediaries, the provision of "long-term funding of capacity building programmes for the social investment sector" and the development of a fund to support the creation of market infrastructure.
The recruitment pack includes a letter from Kingston that says: "The foundation will work collaboratively across England, with a strong regional focus, and be capitalised by a number of partners. It should play an important role in supporting the development of the social investment market over the next 10 to 15 years and work alongside Big Society Capital, the Big Lottery Fund and government, among others. Our mission will be to strengthen the social sector through the strategic use of grants to increase access to social investment and to grow the social investment market."
The chief executive will be paid a salary of £80,000. The job specification said the successful candidate would have an understanding of charities, the social sector and social investment, as well as "excellent organisational and operational leadership experience, ideally gained in a start-up or highly entrepreneurial environment" and "experience of project management in a multi-stakeholder environment".
The organisation’s formal launch will take place in March, at which point more information will be made public.
It has only one member of staff, Katie Hill, as interim director. Hill, a social investment adviser to the City of London who has previously worked for the Cabinet Office, the innovation charity Nesta and Oxfam, will move on shortly after the launch.