Integrated Fund for Gulu
Capital for Good USA launched the Integrated Fund as an opportunity for entrepreneurial philanthropists to invest in a creative development model to generate long-term, sustainable social return in a targeted region. It was based on the belief that multiple sectors—from economic to health to education—must be simultaneously impacted to effectively alleviate poverty and improve livelihoods.
The Gulu district in Northern Uganda was selected as the fund’s investment site. For over two decades, Northern Uganda had been devastated by civil conflict, with approximately 1.7 million people displaced from their communities. After the 2006 cessation of hostilities, people began to return home to rebuild their lives. Within this context of rebuilding, the Integrated Fund for Gulu focused on strengthening local businesses and organizations to restore communities and sustain peace.
The fund used a blended capital approach, which is the coordinated use of grants and loans to drive societal and economic change by simultaneously supporting program implementation and building the capacity of local community organizations. Blended capital unites donors, social investors, and implementing partners by providing flexible, situation-appropriate funding mechanisms.
The fund placed over $350,000 in grants, loans, and contracts, providing support to long-range projects in a clustered geographic area. Gulu’s business and health sectors were mapped, with findings used to accelerate growth and strengthen sectors. Most recently, the fund held a business plan competition—with over 130 entries—in which selected applicants were invited to participate in a three-day entrepreneurship boot camp. The competition culminated in a pitch event to select winners of seed funding and to attract attention towards Gulu from Kampala’s thriving business community. By building partnerships to rebuild communities, the Integrated Fund for Gulu supported efforts to restore peace in a region that has suffered for far too long.