October 6, 2021
For immediate release
Contact: Alexis Krieg [email protected]
Omidyar Network Commits $10 Million to New Focus Area: Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good
Building on Legacy as Pioneering Impact Investors, Omidyar Network Seeks to Shift Incentives for Markets and Business to Benefit People and Planet
Washington DC – Omidyar Network today announced the launch of a new focus area: Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good. Over the next three years, Omidyar Network will invest at least $10 million to support organizations focused on implementing new models and policies designed to reshape the rules that govern markets so that investors, corporate decision makers, and businesses are incentivized to contribute to the common good, and stakeholders are empowered to hold companies accountable for their impact on society.
“As an organization founded by the creator of eBay, we absolutely believe that business can be a force for good. But too often, markets do not deliver the outcomes we want because the rules that govern them reward decisions that generate financial returns for shareholders without regard to their impact on society,” said Mike Kubzansky, Chief Executive Officer of Omidyar Network. “Through Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good, we seek to change the current economic paradigm by changing the fundamental rules of how markets and businesses operate.”
Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good joins two other focus areas under Omidyar Network’s Reimagining Capitalism program: (1) New Economic Paradigm, which supports the development of new ideas to re-orient our economic system and (2) Worker Power, which seeks to expand the power of working people. Collectively, they support Omidyar Network’s vision to put individuals, communities, and societal well-being at the center of our economy.
This new area of work leverages Omidyar Network’s decades-old legacy as a leader in the impact investment space, as well as its strengths as a social change venture with a history of supporting a range of organizations —from non-profits and advocacy organizations to worker groups and unions to entrepreneurs and start-ups —with grants, investments, and the power of its extensive network.
This portfolio of work will be led by Chris Jurgens, a Director on Omidyar Network’s Reimagining Capitalism team. Jurgens has been at Omidyar Network since 2017. Prior to joining the firm, Jurgens served as the director of global partnerships at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and as a partner at Accenture Development Partnerships.
“Our current model of capitalism is failing,” said Jurgens. “We need to shift toward an economic system in which markets incentivize businesses to contribute to the common good, and simultaneously curb the pressures that drive negative outcomes for people and planet. That’s exactly what we, and our grantees, are focused on doing.”
Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good will initially focus on three core areas:
- Reorienting the rules that govern markets to better balance the interest of all stakeholders in corporate governance – including workers, customers, and communities – and better measure of companies’ positive and negative social and environmental impacts
- Curbing pressures from equity capital markets that reinforce short-termism and benefit speculative actors at the expense of stakeholders and society, and reorient the financial sector to its core purpose of allocating capital to productive use in the real economy
- Strengthening the movement of institutional investors that proactively leverage their power to demand stronger accountability and performance from companies on stakeholder, societal, and environmental issues.
The initial round of grantees under the banner of Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good includes:
- B Lab
- Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
- Americans for Financial Reform
- The Shareholder Commons
- The Value Reporting Foundation
“We’re in a unique moment in time when large-scale systemic change isn’t just necessary—it’s possible. With growing recognition that our global economy needs to be more inclusive and resilient, B Lab’s partnership with the Omidyar Network is powering our work to meet this moment. With their support, we successfully launched our federal policy agenda in the US to combat shareholder primacy with a particular focus on requiring businesses and investors to consider, and be responsible for, the impact they have on stakeholders. B Lab is also leading a cross-sector coalition, of which Omidyar Network is a part, to advance a multi-year policy agenda in the US aimed at redesigning capitalism to be a force for good. B Lab’s been a leader of economic systems change since our founding in 2006, but this year there’s unprecedented interest in our policy ideas and our globally-recognized standards that more than 150,000 companies are using to manage, measure, and improve their impact. We’re thrilled Omidyar Network is part of making this happen.”
– Andrew Kassoy, co-founder and CEO of B Lab
“We’re very excited about the rollout of Omidyar Network’s initiative on Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good. ICCR members have long pushed companies to account for the full impact of their business on society, and fundamentally believe that corporations must view the well-being of all of their stakeholders ― including their workers, the communities where they operate, and the public more broadly ― as integral to their long-term sustainability. We look forward to partnering with Omidyar Network’s new initiative as we work collectively to shift away from the paradigm of shareholder primacy towards a model that incentivizes investors to hold companies accountable for their broader impact on society and the commons.”
– Josh Zinner, CEO of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
“We applaud the Omidyar Network’s newest initiative to reshape the rules of finance to contribute to the public interest. Omidyar Network’s support has been instrumental in our ability to fight the systemic racism and inequality that pervades the financial system and promote a just and sustainable economy. The launch of the Corporations, Capital Markets and the Common Good program will help us further develop policy solutions and fight to change the rules of finance and corporate governance that drive inequality and extract resources from people and communities. Only with a diverse, powerful coalition will we be able to challenge Wall Street’s dominance.”
– Lisa Donner, Executive Director, Americans for Financial Reform
“We are thrilled that Omidyar Network is doubling down on its commitment to authentic value creation with the launch of Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good. Omidyar Network’s support has been essential to our efforts to shift investors from a company-first investment model that drives profit maximization at the company level to a systems-first investment approach that prioritizes value creation across a portfolio and the economy at large. Omidyar Network’s thoughtful work in this area allows us to continue advancing a level playing field for sustainable competition on which all companies can operate, and people and planet can thrive.”
– Sara E. Murphy, Chief Strategy Officer, The Shareholder Commons
“Omidyar Network is an invaluable ally in our growing movement to win big, bold changes for essential workers in retail. With the launch of Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good, our powerful coalition is poised to win significant policy shifts at the federal and state level, expose private equity abuses by targeting corporate bad actors, and engage institutional investors to flip the script on private equity and advance justice for working people of every race. Partnering with Omidyar Network has enabled United for Respect to highlight the real-world implications of unregulated Wall Street greed and build public support for regulating the industry while fighting for immediate steps to meet worker and community needs.”
– Andrea Dehlendorf, Executive Director, United for Respect
“A more sustainable future cannot exist without more sustainable business. We applaud Omidyar Network for launching its Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good. As an example of this commitment, Omidyar Network is supporting the Value Reporting Foundation in building a global corporate reporting system that enables businesses to measure and manage sustainability issues, yielding better economic, environmental, and social outcomes at scale,”
– Janine Guillot, CEO of the Value Reporting Foundation
Established by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, Omidyar Network is a social change venture that has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations since 2004. Omidyar Network works to reimagine critical systems and the ideas that govern them, and to build more inclusive and equitable societies in which individuals have the social, economic, and democratic power to thrive.