Fund and Build
We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with social entrepreneurs in support of their vision, with a specific focus on helping them build the capacity of their organizations, which is key to strengthening their long-term impact and sustainability. We provide two levels of funding and strategic support to organizations in our portfolio: “Build Investments” and “Catalyze Investments.” Learn more below.
With New Profit, there is an intentional leaning in and investment in what we are trying to accomplish as an organization. It is rare to find those donors who are willing to not only write you a check but to actually be a thought partner in your work.
Other Visionary Leaders
Through our Build Investments, we provide grantee-partners a $1M+ multi-year, unrestricted grant and deep advisory support. A dedicated New Profit Deal Partner serves as a trusted advisor to the social entrepreneur and as a member of the organization’s board of directors. Our support is geared towards building the leadership capacity of social entrepreneurs and their ability to make strategic choices as they navigate change and growth.
Build Investment Priorities
We are committed to backing social entrepreneurs who center equity in their work and who are proximate to the communities we collectively aim to serve. Proximate leaders bring skills, insights, relationships, and expertise that our society needs to advance equitable wellbeing.
Our Inclusive Impact initiative is designed to spread this commitment across the philanthropic field more broadly. We aim to drive unprecedented capital to some of our nation’s most promising innovators – leaders of color – who have close proximity to the communities the sector seeks to serve and understand the multi-dimensional root causes of social issues, but receive only a fraction of philanthropy’s resources aimed at solving them. In 2018, New Profit commissioned research that showed the unequal access to funding, opportunity, and power specifically for Black and Latino/a/x leaders within the social sector today (see the high-level findings below and click here to read the report).
As a part of our Inclusive Impact initiative, New Profit has committed to making at least 50% of our investments in organizations led by people of color to help address the funding inequities that hold back our ability to break through on entrenched challenges facing our country. Further, our vantage point across the field positions us to synthesize our learnings from working with social innovators to strengthen DEI practices. These collaborative learnings equip us to support portfolio leaders in building their own DEI capacities, by bringing those lessons to bear through our support model.
We recognize that there is no singular approach to social change, and therefore we invest in a diverse set of organizational models that seek to provide innovative social services and reshape the systems that define this country. We do this with the recognition that the problems we face do not operate in a uniform way, which means the solutions we propose need to be equally varying in the tools and approaches they offer. We invest in direct service programs, technology platforms, technical service providers, and organizations that are driving policy change, building movements, and more to reshape the systems that influence the day-to-day lives of people across the country.
Core to this approach is our Systemic Solutions Initiative, which invests in organizations led by “system entrepreneurs” that are tackling complex problems with holistic solutions that aim to change the conditions that hold social problems in place. These innovative, nimble leaders see a pathway to disrupting and reshaping systems and fostering new capacity in them to achieve equitable and sustainable outcomes.
Our biggest societal challenges are complex and interconnected, so we believe progress depends on investing in a broad range of issue areas. Our grantee-partners are driving impact in education, postsecondary and career pathways, health, economic mobility, criminal justice, and civic engagement.
While we invest in all of these issue areas, education represents a significant portion of our Build Investment portfolio. We fund and support dynamic social entrepreneurs who are partnering with communities to drive systemic change in education that advances educational equity for all students – particularly those who have been underserved by our current system – so that every young person can achieve academic and life success.
In addition to leveraging our Build Investments to drive change in issue areas, we have two in-house initiatives that aim to transform our country’s approach to early childhood education and postsecondary and career pathways: Early Childhood Support Organizations (ECSO), a $20M public-private partnership between New Profit and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, and Learn to Earn, which aims to catalyze a network of social entrepreneurs, system leaders, funders, and learners to create holistic solutions that equip learners from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds for upwardly mobile careers.
Through our Catalyze Investments, we provide $50K-$100K unrestricted grants, strategic advice, and a peer learning community over one to two years to catalyze the innovations of organizations with leaders and focus areas that have been historically underinvested in by philanthropy.
The social sector underinvests in organizations working in certain issue areas that are critical to driving equity and opportunity in America, such as civic engagement and criminal justice. This is especially acute for organizations led by leaders who have personal experience with these issues, such as formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs. Irrespective of background or issue area focus, all social entrepreneurs need certain supports in order to succeed: unrestricted funding, peer communities, funding networks, and roadmaps for growth and sustainability. However, for leaders working in underinvested areas, these are even more challenging to access. Our Catalyze Investments equip social entrepreneurs leading innovative work in underinvested areas with the tools and relationships to accelerate their path to success.
New Profit provides Catalyze Investments to cohorts of organizations with underinvested leaders and focus areas. Our cohort model enables the social entrepreneurs to form a peer learning community, which offers an opportunity for them to connect, give advice and support to each other, and participate in a series of in-person and virtual convenings structured around tackling key leadership and organizational challenges they face in order to deepen their impact and scale their models.
The systems theory of change work we did with New Profit was transformational. Without it, we would only be delivering a great program but not impacting the systemic issues facing our democracy. Thanks to New Profit’s Catalyze Investment, we have a real focus and vision for the next phase of our organization.