Criterion Institute is making a long-term commitment to addressing gender-based violence, directing one third of our resources over the next five years toward strategies for using finance as a tool to effect change on this crucial issue.  We’re pleased to announce that generous grants from the Wallace Global Fund and Tara Health Foundation are helping us fulfill this commitment.
Worldwide, an estimated one in three women experiences physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. In the Pacific Islands region, where women’s rights leaders convened early last year for Criterion’s intensive training session, TOOLKIT on Finance as a Strategy for Social Change, as many as 60% of women are affected by violence.
These numbers, in the language of finance, are material. Like climate change, gender-based violence –- presents a risk to any industry or company. What if we could influence how that risk is assessed, the data investors see as valuable, and how finance professionals respond?
We believe we can. Against the backdrop of 2017’s #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, the rallying cries of those affected by violence in industries as diverse as Hollywoodagriculture and manufacturing–Criterion has been working with investors, philanthropists and diverse social change experts to develop an approach to using finance as one of many strategies necessary to address gender-based violence. This includes:
  • Building a coalition of investors and aggregating intent to invest in solutions to gender-based violence
  • Engaging individuals and organizations with expertise in gender-based violence to design informed strategies for using finance to affect the issue
  • Working with fund managers to respond to growing demand for products that address gender-based violence
We can’t develop effective solutions to gender-based violence without input from those with long-term experience working on the issue. Their understanding of the complexity of violence and access to data is crucial to identifying viable strategies and how and where systems of finance can best contribute.
A grant from the Wallace Global Fund is supporting Criterion to convene gender experts, activists and community leaders in Washington, DC on to design a version of our TOOLKIT on Finance as a Strategy for Social Change to focus specifically on gender-based violence.
In these design sessions, Criterion will equip participants with an understanding of financial systems and review the strategies we’ve developed for using finance to address gender-based violence. At the same time, participants will help refine those strategies using their expertise on the issue, its root causes and options for prevention and treatment. Together we will design concrete ways to move money and power to address gender-based violence.
Implementing effective solutions also requires tangible examples of what’s possible. Tara Health Foundation has awarded Criterion a grant supporting our overall gender-based violence programming, including the development of a model portfolio of companies and other investible enterprises with a direct, intentional impact on reducing gender-based violence.
In addition to the creation of a model portfolio, the project will produce tools and recommendations that will equip investors with the ability to understand and analyze the impact companies can have on gender-based violence and strengthen the pipeline of investment opportunities. We hope to leverage our network of impact investors, asset holders and fund managers to carry out due diligence on the selected enterprises and implement an actual portfolio based on our prototype.
Over the next four years, we will continue to research and reframe the issue, expand who is invited to join the conversation and equipped to carry the work forward, reframe constraints and demonstrate new possibilities, influence the broader institutional systems, and amplify the work being done to use finance as a tool to impact gender-based violence globally.  
For more information on our gender-based violence programming, or if you are interested in attending a design session for our TOOLKIT on Finance as a Strategy for Social Change, please contact


Criterion’s presentation on using finance as a tool to affect gender-based violence, presented at a design session hosted with the InFaith Community Foundation and Futures Without Violence can be found here: Finance as a Tool to Affect Gender-Based Violence.



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