Susan Clear is the Director of Social Impact Investing at Macquarie Group Foundation.

What was your first job?

Delivering pamphlets (advertising brochures) in the neighbourhood streets, and working the front counter at my local McDonald’s.

When did you first discover the concept of Impact Investing?

It’s probably connected to when I first discovered philanthropy more broadly, and the notion of companies contributing back to their local communities. Since 2010, the Macquarie Group Foundation has contributed more than $15m to the impact investing sector around the world (in addition to the $570+ million contributed since our inception), such as Social Ventures Australia’s work with social impact bonds here in Australia, Social Finance’s activities across the US, and the DFAT Macquarie Investing in Women RISE Fund in the Philippines.

In 2019/2020, the Foundation was looking at ways to broaden our impact, including deploying impact investment capital ourselves, and I was asked to lead this new strategy. Macquarie empowered me to transition and apply my skills from the philanthropic world into this new arena of social impact investing.

With the support of the wider Macquarie Group, we made some early investments, such as the Good Return Impact Investment Fund and For Purpose Investment Partners. Fast forward to today, and we’re now >50% through deploying a $20m allocation, in locations around the world.

To me, it’s proven such a powerful additional capital tool for the Foundation, one that enables us to increase and unlock greater social impact in breaking down barriers to employment.

More broadly, it’s great to be seeing more interest, knowledge and collaboration opportunities around impact investing, and we’re proud to be a Founding Member of the recently launched Foundations Group for Impact Investing. 

What is your vision or what do you wish for?

I wish there was less inequity, across so many critical elements of society (be it education, housing, healthcare and beyond). My hope is that I can best use resources I am fortunate to have access to, including capital, but also my network, convening power, and more, to work towards achieving greater social impact. Especially in our focus area of breaking down barriers to employment, I feel we can contribute to building a better, more equitable future.

What’s one exciting initiate or development you and your team have in the pipeline?

We are excited to have made social impact investments here in Australia, the UK and the US. I am excited to be now turning to Asia. As a global business, with global workforce and operations, we are excited to be seeing our social impact investments support communities where we live and work.

Is there anything that annoys you?


Name one high impact company (local or globally) that investors should keep their eye on?

All our current investments! Through our impact-first focus, we have had the opportunity to invest in a broad range of organisations around the world – they include Pursuit, White Box Enterprises and the Growth Impact Fund – they’re all listed on our website along with information about the great work they’re doing.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to do this work?

Bring your sense of curiosity, a learning mindset and a willingness to share. This space is jam packed with kind, intelligent people, and hands down, the best part of our work is the people we get to work with, within and beyond Macquarie.

A perhaps unique feature of our social impact investing work is the way we leverage staff expertise from around the business and the globe throughout the process, which builds on the Foundation’s long-standing employee engagement focus. Our people are at the heart of everything we do.

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