Alexandre Mars (Epic): disruptive philanthropy
Epic provides corporations and individuals with innovative giving solutions to ensure that their philanthropy has maximum impact. Interview with Alexandre Mars, Epic’s President and founder.
Can you briefly describe Epic?
Epic is a global non-profit startup, which fights social injustices by providing solutions to make giving the norm. Before I founded Epic, I carried out market research and identified the main barriers to donating: a lack of trust in social organisations, a lack of understanding the impact of their donation, and a lack of time. Epic aims to remove these barriers. We use sophisticated methodology to select high impact social organisations around the world. We also enable donors to experience their philanthropy like never before by providing them with a web app and a series of VR movies that transport donors instantly into the field. We also provide corporations and individuals with innovative giving solutions such as payroll giving, transactional giving and the “Epic Sharing Pledge”. These solutions embrace the donor’s economic model while being painless, systematic and optional. It’s important to note that 100% of the donations Epic receives goes to the social organisations in our portfolio.
"Financial stakeholders can and must play a role to fight social injustice."
How does impact financing play a role in global finance? What’s the outlook for impact financing?
At Epic, we believe that financial stakeholders can, and must play a role to fight social injustices. That’s why we provide them with tailored solutions such as the “Epic Sharing Pledge”. By signing this pledge, private equity firms can give a percentage of their capital gains and/or management fees to the Epic portfolio. Today, we’re facing a cultural and social shift under the influence of millennials. These 18-35 year olds have a set of value-based expectations from their prospective employers, the entertainment they consume and brands they buy from. They seek purpose and social impact. As a result, corporations and private equity firms that want to recruit and retain these talents have no choice but to share their success by placing social impact at the heart of their strategy. Private equity is increasingly receptive to this. In the past six months, 10 European funds have signed our Sharing Pledge.
What role do strategic philanthropists play in the promotion of innovation and social impact today?
As I see it, strategic philanthropy involves addressing the root of the problem. We live in a world where the need remains considerably high; we can’t ignore poverty as it lies at the bottom of our buildings. In this context, the solution is to help instinctively there and then: this eases the pain in the immediate aftermath but doesn’t help in the long term. At Epic, we seek to do more and save lives by focusing on strategic and systemic ways to help. By advocating to make giving the norm and by providing appropriate solutions, we want to make strategic philanthropy available to all, so that everyone can contribute to social good.