Columbia Threadneedle Foundation partners with Centre for Local Economic Strategies

by | Mar 8, 2023

Columbia Threadneedle Foundation, the charity of leading global asset manager Columbia Threadneedle Investments, has confirmed a grant to the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES).

The grant will fund research aimed at understanding how gender inclusion can be prioritised in the development and implementation of economic strategies by local government, in order to grow local wealth.

CLES is the national organisation for local economies. For this research project CLES will be working in partnership with Leeds City Council and the Women’s Budget Group (WBG), a not-for-profit organisation whose aims are to promote a gender equal economy.

The pilot project will provide decision makers at Leeds City Council with greater insights into the lived experience of women as part of their economic development strategy. With the findings, CLES aims to create a blueprint of good practice that will help local and other government authorities to better design and tailor interventions to support economic gender inclusion in their communities.

This grant is funded by the CT UK Social Bond Fund, which contributes a share of its annual management fee to Columbia Threadneedle Foundation. The Fund seeks to deliver financial returns to investors through a portfolio of corporate bonds, while also contributing to positive social outcomes. The portfolio aligns to a number of themes, including affordable housing and property, community services, financial inclusion, health and social care, as well as gender inclusion, which aims to raise awareness of gender inequality while also and empowering women.

This project will focus on topics including:

  • The extent to which issues such as child poverty, inequality and poor health are considered social rather than economic challenges
  • The opportunity costs of gender exclusion
  • How various places and the characteristics of people, such as ethnicity, income, disability and age intersect to improve or worsen women’s opportunities in cities like Leeds
  • How the current cost of living crisis is making life difficult for women, including access to childcare, debt, employment and housing
  • How local government can do more to support and target gender inclusion and what the economic and social opportunities are for cities like Leeds if the potential of gender inclusion is realised

Tammie Tang, Portfolio Manager CT UK Social Bond Fund and Trustee of the Columbia Threadneedle Foundation said:

“We’re very pleased to be funding this important research, which contributes to the Foundation’s aim of improving individual lives while also driving fundamental social change. In this case, addressing systemic challenges in local economic decision making in Leeds where women and their children are at higher risk of poverty.

“The targeting of disadvantaged and deprived populations in the UK is a core focus of the CT UK Social Bond Fund.  Leeds is an example of contrast with some of the nationally poorest neighbourhoods and women disproportionately excluded from economic access and financial security opportunities. This research grant to CLES adds to the social impact for the Fund in addition to its investment portfolio.”

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