UNICEF USA Bridge Fund

An impact investment tool that provides financing UNICEF needs to act fast in a crisis 

The UNICEF USA Bridge Fund is an innovative impact investment tool that addresses the timing gaps that emerge between the commitment of a donor's support to UNICEF and the actual receipt of the pledged cash by UNICEF. 

A program of UNICEF USA's Impact Fund for Children, the Bridge Fund's low-risk, high-impact profile is attractive to a range of social impact investors seeking to make a difference in the survival and development of children. The Bridge Fund is unique, not only in its mission and mandate, but also in the scale and the impact that it can achieve by leveraging UNICEF's infrastructure, economies of scale, expertise and global reach.

Since its inception in 2011, the Bridge Fund has bridged scores of transactions representing more than $350 million in program activity.

What does the Bridge Fund do?

  • leverages net worth grants to secure capital in the form of 3-year or 5-year loans, which form a pool of revolving funds
  • provides flexible capital from that pool in the form of cash grants to UNICEF to enable swift action in an emergency
  • allows UNICEF to start the procurement process earlier to secure better pricing and start programmatic activity sooner
  • helps ensure a continuous supply of lifesaving commodities from reliable manufacturers
  • multiplies programmatic impact with each subsequent bridge: a $1 million investment over a 5-year period has the impact of a $10 million investment when funds are rotated just twice a year
  • maintains a flexible pool of capital: when donors' funds are received by UNICEF, the Bridge Fund is replenished, ensuring the availability of capital for the next urgent need 

Bridge Fund capital has been leveraged across all major UNICEF program areas, helping UNICEF provide:

  • medical supplies, from thermometers to first-aid kits
  • mosquito nets and malaria medicine
  • HIV-related medicines and diagnostics
  • vaccines and safe injection devices
  • pharmaceuticals, micronutrients and therapeutic foods
  • education equipment and materials
  • clean water, sanitation and hygiene equipment

In August 2020, for example, the UNICEF USA Bridge Fund accelerated $1.3 million to Beirut to support UNICEF's rapid emergency response following a deadly port explosion — enabling swift action to assist affected children and families. And in November 2020, the Bridge Fund prefinanced a $10 million investment in Nigeria’s vaccine supply chain to support COVID-19 and other immunization campaigns.

Click here to read the Q&A with Barrie Landry, who currently serves on UNICEF USA’s New England Regional Board and was an early investor and donor in the Bridge Fund.

Read more about the Bridge Fund's impact in our Quarterly and Annual Activity Reports:

To review reports prior to 2019, please contact us.

View the summary Terms and Conditions of an Investment in the Bridge Fund.

Contact Cristina Shapiro, IF4C President, at cshapiro@unicefusa.org or Erin Egan, Managing Director, Operations, at eegan@unicefusa.org to learn more about the Bridge Fund and how you can support UNICEF's lifesaving work.


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