Since 2016 JRF has made social investments that contribute towards the organisation’s vision of a ‘Prosperous UK without Poverty’. The current portfolio includes a range of debt, equity and fund investments that balance financial returns with social impact. Denise will lead on designing and executing the next phase of JRF’s social investment strategy
She joins with 25 years’ experience spanning development banking, investment banking and social investment. As a financial institutions specialist with the World Bank and Merrill Lynch she provided advice to governments, investors and bank executives and boards on strategy and investment. Moving into social investment in 2007, Denise helped develop and subsequently managed the CAN Breakthrough venture philanthropy fund.
More recently, she worked at Numbers for Good, providing business and financing advice to social enterprises across the UK in sectors including health, employment and homelessness and supporting commissioners and investors to develop social impact bonds. For 17 months from March 2019, she served as Interim Portfolio Director at Big Society Capital, where her responsibilities included coordinating the support offer to portfolio intermediaries and directly managing several new and existing investments.
Of her appointment she said: “it is a privilege to be joining the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, especially at this moment when its longstanding commitment to solving poverty in the UK faces new challenges, but also new possibilities. Joining up JRF’s deep understanding of poverty and influential voice with social investment’s pivotal role in supporting practical solutions is an exciting opportunity. I look forward to working with new colleagues and partners at JRF to further develop its social investment portfolio in alignment with delivery on key outcomes in housing, employment and community.
Tracey Preece, Director of Finance, who oversees JRF/JRHT’s investment portfolio added: “social investment plays such an important part in JRF’s mission to solve UK poverty and I’m absolutely delighted that Denise is joining us to lead the next stages of our social investment work. In Denise, we have found someone with strong values and a huge enthusiasm for what we do. Her depth and breadth of experience and knowledge will be so valuable in developing and growing our portfolio and delivering impact for JRF outcomes.”
Denise steps into the post vacated by Big Issue Invest CEO Danyal Sattar. She starts on 7th September and will be based primarily out of JRF’s London offices.