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Skandia's Ideas for Life foundation – 35 years of sustainability work

Skandia's independent foundation Ideas for Life seeks to create a society with better health and greater financial security. Ideas for Life have been in operation for over 35 years. During that time, the foundation has supported more than 4 400 local non-profit projects for children and young people, developed methods for preventing illness and social exclusion that may benefit many, and contributed to research into calculating and rendering the value of social initiatives visible.

Ideas for Life acts as a catalyst for positive social change through research, method development and support for local projects.

The basis for Ideas for Life's work is the understanding insurance logic provides that it is profitable in both human and economic terms to predict risks and prevent problems instead of reacting to them once they have occurred. Accordingly, Ideas for Life supports efforts that focus on prevention and early intervention for children and young people. This means increased quality and efficiency in the welfare system and health initiatives. Funding is via annual returns from the capital Skandia contributed when the foundation was started, and the Skandia Idéer för livet fund, which contributes two per cent of its value to the foundation annually. Skandia bears the foundation's administration and office expenses. 

Ideas for Life collaborates with several Swedish universities in the development of evidencebased models for preventive interventions and estimating their economic value. Ideas for life works closely with non-profit organisations whose prevention activities help foster the develop ment of children and young people. Its collaborative partners include Star for Life, Nattvandring.nu, Save the Children and BRIS. 

A model for measuring social effects and economic value

The Ideas for Life model was developed together with scientists at Uppsala and Umeå Universities. It is a unique tool for evaluating the effect of social initiatives. The model can be used by municipalities, non-profit organisations and businesses for calculations and decision support data for preventive social initiatives and social investments.

The evidence-based part of the calculation tool includes programs focused on support measures for children and young people, such as social emotional learning, school programmes, programmes for the management of anxiety and depression, parental support programmes and suicide prevention methods.

In another part of the tool, municipalities can make calculations on interventions and programmes that lack evidence and updated data and statistics are necessary for the calculation. This is to prevent risk factors that lead to mental illness, substance abuse, unemployment and more.

Social Return on Investment (SROI) In order to follow-up and evaluate initiatives, we use the method Social Return On Investment (SROI), an internationally established concept for planning, measuring, following up and evaluating the value that initiatives and activities con-tribute socially, environmentally and economically.

What is the Ideas for Life model?

The model is a tool for measuring the quality and efficiency of preventive social initiatives (e.g., preventing illness) aimed at making appropriate preventive interventions at an early stage easier.

The model provides municipalities, businesses and nonprofit organisations with data for planning, controlling and evaluating the operation's social initiatives. In this way, the Ideas for Life foundation helps provides research, method development and educational initiatives with innovative capabilities in Swedish welfare systems. The Ideas for Life
model is unique in its method of measuring and evaluating social innovation and initiatives.