A Big New Fund for Children's Nutrition Is Off to a Strong Start

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, along with UNICEF and UBS, recently announced the formation of the $1 billion Power of Nutrition Fund. Unveiling a mega-fund like that is one thing; getting those pledges to turn into cold hard cash is another. But the newly formed fund has already managed to make $200 million of its commitments available now, which includes a hefty $55 million investment from CIFF.

The Children's Investment Fund Foundation was founded by hedge fund billionaire Christopher Hohn and his ex-wife Jamie Cooper. The foundation works to help poor and vulnerable children in developing countries around the world in key areas of work including neonatal survival, HIV transmission, malnutrition, and deworming.

Lately, CIFF has been ramping up its giving, increasing its disbursements by over 40 percent to $122 million. Although CIFF only contributes to pre-selected organizations, it's pretty clear the foundation is sticking to its increased giving plan.

Related: Children's Investment Fund Foundation: Grants for Global Development

Prior to its $55 million to help establish the Power of Nutrition Fund, one of CIFFs biggest grants to date was $45 million to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The grant was awarded in support of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care’s efforts to lower the number of new HIV infections among infants.

CIFF is definitely still focusing on children here, but instead of pediatric AIDS, it is zeroing in on childhood nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, or about three years. CIFF CEO Michael Anderson explains the big give to the Power Nutrition Fund by saying, “We know that good nutrition has one of the biggest multiplier effects for development. Well-nourished kids grow up to be higher wage earners.”

Other major international health and development players putting in millions of dollars to get the Power of Nutrition Fund off the ground giving to the fund includes up to $47 million from the Department for International Development and $26 million from the UBS Optimus Foundation.