mothers2mothers (m2m) is excited to announce that our long-standing supporter, LGT Venture Philanthropy (LGT VP), has chosen to deepen their commitment with a new $1M grant. This non-programmatic funding will help m2m increase our scale and impact significantly.
The grant will be used to directly support our work in Malawi, and invest in new technical staff and capacity building at our Head Office. m2m will also use a portion to create a «leverage funding» pool-designed to allow us to access large-scale grants from other donors that require cost share. While the initial grant is for the 2019 calendar year, LGT VP will assess a repeat of the new grant into a multi-year engagement for 2020 and 2021.
Tom Kagerer, Investment Director at LGT Venture Philanthropy said:
«At LGT Venture Philanthropy, we provide non-programmatic financial and practical support to organisations with effective, scalable models that dramatically improve the quality of life for the less-advantaged. We first funded mothers2mothers in 2009 and have been impressed how m2m has scaled across Africa, evolved their model, maintained operational excellence, and worked with dedication to create impact at scale. We have been especially impressed with their ability to partner with governments to use - and ultimately embed - their model into health systems, which demonstrates their outstanding capabilities to provide effective, scalable solutions at high cost-efficiency. With this new grant, we are confident we will see a step change in m2m’s impact, and we are proud to partner with them on their journey to create healthy, thriving families, and an HIV-free generation.
LGT VP’s support to m2m over the past decade has helped m2m enter new countries, improve our technical capabilities, and invest in our business development team. However, this new investment is a significant increase from their previous cumulative commitment of $2.2M over the first 10 years - and we are excited about the results it will help us deliver.»
Frank Beadle de Palomo, m2m President and Chief Executive Officer added:
«In our quest to eliminate paediatric AIDS and help entire families to thrive, we aim to reach three million clients a year by 2021. To achieve this, we will need to enter at least two new countries and evolve more high-impact interventions - all while maintaining a clear focus on quality. This will directly translate into more infants born HIV-free, and more HIV-positive women living virally suppressed and healthy - paving the way to an HIV-free generation.
LGT VP is a rare breed of donor - one prepared to invest flexibly into building the overall capacity of an organisation for impact and scale. Their support will be critical to us achieving our goals, and we hope to attract further significant support from similar forward-thinking, flexible donors. We are delighted to be entrusted with this investment and can’t wait to demonstrate the results.»
LGT and m2m: "Progress, not the Status Quo"
In the wake of the news that LGT Venture Philanthropy (LGT VP) has invested $1M into mothers2mothers (m2m), we sat down with Tom Kagerer, Investment Director at LGT VP, to discuss their recent engagement.
m2m: Tom, thanks for taking time to chat to us. We are thrilled to be receiving this investment. What made you choose m2m for one of LGT VP’s largest ever grants to an organisation?
Tom Kagerer (TK): We are looking for organisations with scalable models that directly impact several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). m2m’s broad health intervention contributes to seven of the 17 SDGs, in particular those relating to good health and gender equality. Another aspect that excites us is the high cost-benefit ratio of organisations such as m2m. The World Health Organization documented a 10:1 return on investment from investing in community-based health interventions through increased productivity, reduced risk of epidemics, and the economic impact of increased employment. 
It is core to LGT VP’s DNA to fund significant progress through strengthening organisational growth - we are confident that this new grant will deliver exactly that. We have known m2m for a decade now, and through that time, m2m has innovated and built on its very successful model, all the while maintaining quality in delivery and cost-effectiveness. We have been particularly impressed with how m2m has delivered impact through strong relationships with governments, with the Mentor Mother Model even adopted as national policy in several countries. In addition, we have seen how your model of having health workers based both in facilities and in surrounding communities creates strong bonds between people and the health facilities that serve them, leading to better health outcomes.
All of this has led to remarkable impacts - such as m2m helping to eliminate paediatric AIDS among its clients and ensuring that 97% of children in Early Childhood Development programmes reach all their developmental milestones at 12 months. These results demonstrate what m2m is capable of, and we want to help the organisation go even further, even faster.
m2m: You mention that LGT VP has known m2m for ten years. Why have you chosen to make this grant now?
TK: It is a combination of both internal and external factors. Internally, LGT VP has taken a strategic decision to deepen our commitment to a small number of trusted partners. We want to support organisations that have an effective, innovative, and scalable model that improves lives for the less-fortunate - making m2m a perfect fit. Of course, the length of our partnership, and how consistently m2m has delivered, was an important factor. Externally, we heard- loud and clear - last year’s warning by the International AIDS Society that a «dangerous complacency» was creeping into the HIV/AIDS response. We wanted to respond to this, and m2m’s model of going beyond a narrow focus on HIV alone is aligned to accepted best practice.
m2m: How important was it to you that m2m employs Mentor Mothers, rather than relying on the volunteer model some other organisations employ?
TK: In a word, essential. There are a handful of organisations out there that can deliver transformative health impacts, but m2m is unique in that it does this while providing meaningful work for thousands of women living with HIV. For us, m2m’s model means double the impact through one engagement.
m2m: Part of the grant is earmarked for our work in Malawi specifically. Can you tell us more about that?
TK: In Malawi, the community health system faces resource constraints and inconsistencies around quality of service - which negatively affects health outcomes for Malawians. Recognising the importance of community health and the opportunity to address these challenges, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has developed the country’s first National Community Health Strategy (NCHS) for the period of 2017-2022. With m2m being an implementation partner to the MoH since 2008, our funding supports m2m’s efforts to strengthen its partnership on a national level to become an instrumental operator and advisor in rolling out NCHS across Malawi. Having seen m2m’s work in Malawi as part of our due diligence trip, I have witnessed the great work in the communities as well as the trusted relationship m2m has built up over the years with health officials at the highest regional level. I can’t wait to go back and see further progress soon!
m2m: What happens now? How will LGT VP continue to work with m2m?
TK: We will continue to be an active partner to m2m, and this will take many forms. We will engage with the Senior Management Team and in governance, so we will be involved at the very highest level. In addition, we are arranging for the organisation to host two «LGT Impact Fellows» experienced professionals that we introduce to our portfolio organisations to spend a year with them working on specific organisational capacity building areas. In the last 10 years, the programme has connected over 150 professionals from over 30 nationalities to our portfolio, including eight into m2m. We are also providing advice and making connections wherever we can - whether that is introducing m2m to our other portfolio organisations for peer-to-peer learning, or using our marketing channels to spread m2m’s successes.