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Interview: Edmund Brandt “I'm proud of the fact that we've already invested in a social impact fund”

1 April 2021

Edmund joined our board of governors back in October. As Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, one of his key goals is to look at Cripplegate’s investment policy and make sure that we invest in a way that does no harm but also advances good causes.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in London and I have had the good fortune to work both abroad and in Islington for many years. I have always felt that someone who has worked in finance has on one side, the city and gleaming towers and on the other side, some of the more difficult areas of London with big inequalities. So I wanted to do something to tackle that.

 

Why did you decide to become a governor, what did you think that you could bring into the foundation?

I think the foundation is doing very well and does a very good job. I have 31 years experience in finance, I wanted to help and I was told that people with financial experience and investment experience were always useful in a charity. So I compliment the skill set of some of the other governors and in particular, I'm well aware that one of the challenges for us over the next five years is to invest in a way that is socially sensible, reverses climate change and meets the goals of our charity.

Edmund Brandt during the Zoom interview.

Why did you decide to become a governor, what did you think that you could bring into the foundation?

Cripplegate is very famous within the charity foundation sector as a pioneer in tackling social inequality and for the strong ethos of diversity, inclusion, and equality. And both of those are goals that I am passionate about. I am someone with a disability, I am blind in my right eye, and I feel very strongly that we should try to boost diversity equality, and inclusion for everyone. 

I think that the biggest challenge is that many charities have seen their income fall dramatically in 2020 at a time when the need has never been greater.

Is there any particular piece of work or project that you have started working in as a governor that you could tell us about?

I am now a Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and one of the key goals there is to look at our investment policy and make sure that we try and invest in a way that does no harm but also advances good causes, environmental, social, and governance. And I'm very proud of the fact that we've already invested in a social impact fund and we're going to look at others to try and meet both goals, so good investment returns to generate money that can be put into grants but also investing wisely and in a way that helps society.

 

Which do you think is or are the biggest challenges in the sector at the moment?

I think that the biggest challenge is that many charities have seen their income fall dramatically in 2020 at a time when the need has never been greater. I think that is going to be the number one challenge for Cripplegate in 2021, driven by three things. Firstly, Covid, secondly, the transition from Brexit, and thirdly, the Black Lives Matter movement which I think is very important: we need to do more on diversity.

 

Lastly, what is your favourite thing about Islington?

First of all, St. Joseph's on Highgate Hill because that's where my dad was christened. And secondly, Whitecross Street Market because I think the food there is the best in London.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I'd just like to say I think the approach from Cripplegate, the partnership with Islington Council and Islington Giving, is hugely important, and the fact that the foundation prioritises the beneficiaries, the partners and the people it works with is very important. I think that marks Cripplegate out as different, even amongst charitable foundations.