Ballmer Group, New Profit and Echoing Green Announce New Initiative to Invest in Black-led Nonprofit Organizations
Ballmer Group grants over $40 million in seed funding to address funding gap for Black-led organizations, spur innovation, and improve economic mobility.May 18, 2023
New York, May 18, 2023: Ballmer Group, Echoing Green, and New Profit announce $40M in seed funding for a new initiative to address the systemic funding gap for Black-led nonprofit organizations in the U.S. The grant will fund a five-year initiative to build leadership and sustainability of Black-led organizations focused on economic mobility. Over 100 Black-led organizations will receive both capital and operational support to help spur innovative solutions and provide Black leaders with the tools that they need to scale and achieve their missions over the long term.
“The goal of this initiative is to address an undercapitalized market and invest in Black leadership to spur innovation and improve economic mobility,” said Eshauna Smith, Director of Community Impact at Ballmer Group. “Industry leaders New Profit and Echoing Green come to the table with a combined 60 years of experience supporting founders and emerging leaders and shaping economic mobility in the U.S. The good news is that race-based funding gaps are addressable. There are incredible opportunities for funders like us to step up, and we are excited to take this first step.”
Funding disparities limit access to capital for Black founders and leaders. “The troubling pattern of Black nonprofit leaders being unable to scale organizations is overwhelmingly due to limited access to capital. For these brilliant leaders and their timely innovations, we need to increase their ability to scale appropriately,” Echoing Green President Cheryl Dorsey notes. “That means transformative community-led solutions are left to languish on the vine. This grant from Ballmer Group will enable us to simultaneously sustain proximate leadership and spur economic mobility among an undercapitalized and often overlooked demographic.”
Despite making up around 10% of nonprofit leadership in the U.S., Black and Latine nonprofit leaders only receive 4% of philanthropic funding. A recent study by Echoing Green and the Bridgespan Group shows that the funding received is smaller and more likely to be restricted than white-led organizations. Data shows that early-stage Black-led nonprofits have 24% smaller overall revenues and 76% smaller unrestricted net assets, indicators of continued bias and lack of trust in Black leaders in the funding landscape.
“Despite the disparity in funding for Black-led organizations, there is no shortage of visionary Black leaders who are joining with their communities to build new systems of opportunity in America,” said Tulaine Montgomery, Co-CEO of New Profit. “This support from Ballmer Group allows us to help advance the impact of those leaders, who are grounded in and guided by the assets, expertise, and brilliance of their constituents and communities.”
The initiative takes a two-part strategy to help grow Black-led organizations past the start-up and middle growth phases where too often lack of capital limits scale.
Echoing Green will utilize the Ballmer Group funding to support organizations under two years old. Black-led start-up organizations have significant challenges raising initial capital. Echoing Green’s model is designed to provide both early investment and follow-on-funding to overlooked talent with ongoing assistance in the areas of fundraising, strategic planning, board development and operational practices. These foundational supports are key to creating sustainable enterprises.
New Profit will use the funding from Ballmer Group to support proof-of-concept through early-scale nonprofits. Black-led organizations at these stages of enterprise development often have the potential to create outsized impact but face systemic barriers in securing the flexible resources and tailored capacity-building support needed to scale and deepen their impact. New Profit will provide single- and multi-year unrestricted funding, peer learning communities, and deep advisory support to catalyze innovation and build the leadership capacity of economic mobility entrepreneurs who aspire to national impact.
Co-founded by Connie and Steve Ballmer, Ballmer Group funds organizations and leaders to reshape opportunity and expand economic mobility across the United States. According to Ballmer Group’s Smith, “These grants represent a powerful opportunity to address inequity, support leaders of color, spur innovation, and build nonprofit capital through trusted intermediary partners, Echoing Green and New Profit. Their proven approaches recognize that proximate, representative leadership is essential and that diverse leadership teams achieve better outcomes.”
Transformational change is not possible without bringing together a multiracial, intergenerational, cross-sector community of changemakers. For the last 25 years, New Profit has supported overlooked, high-impact social entrepreneurs creating systemic solutions through breakthrough ideas and actions. Through this partnership with Ballmer Group and Echoing Green, we are excited to deepen our support of Black-led organizations as part of our strategy to invest in visionary leaders building new systems of opportunity in America. If you would like to be considered for funding opportunities, please fill out this discovery form.
About Ballmer Group:
Ballmer Group is committed to improving economic mobility for children and families in the United States, funding leaders and organizations that have demonstrated the ability to reshape opportunity and reduce systemic inequities. We focus on multiple impact areas and systems that can impact economic mobility – such as early learning, K-12 education, college and career pathways, housing, behavioral health, and criminal justice – and we support leaders and organizations that focus on undoing systemic racism and the barriers it has created. Ballmer Group is both a national and regional funder – we have a presence and invest deeply in southeast Michigan, Washington state, and Los Angeles County. Ballmer Group was co-founded by philanthropist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, founder of USAFacts, and chairman of the Los Angeles Clippers. Learn more at www.ballmergroup.com.
About Echoing Green:
For over 35 years, Echoing Green has been on the front lines of social innovation and social justice. The organization finds emerging leaders with the best ideas for social innovation as early as possible and sets them on a path to lifelong impact. Echoing Green’s community of nearly 1,000 social innovators includes past Fellows such as First Lady Michelle Obama and the founders of Teach For America, Center for Black Innovation, BlocPower, and One Acre Fund. Built and refined over three decades, Echoing Green discovers tomorrow’s leaders today and then funds, connects, and supports a new generation of social impact leaders. For more information, visit www.echoinggreen.org.
About New Profit:
Founded in 1998, New Profit is a venture philanthropy organization that backs social entrepreneurs who are advancing economic mobility and opportunity in America. New Profit exists to build a bridge between these leaders and a community of philanthropists who are committed to catalyzing their impact. New Profit provides unrestricted grants and strategic support to a portfolio of organizations led by visionary social entrepreneurs to increase their impact, scale, and sustainability. It also partners with social entrepreneurs and other cross-sector leaders to shift how government and philanthropy pursue social change to ensure that all people can thrive. New Profit has invested over $350M in 200+ organizations and, through the America Forward Coalition’s collective advocacy efforts, has unlocked over $1.9B in government funding for social innovation. Learn more at www.newprofit.org.
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