Postsecondary and Career Pathways

New Profit to Grant $2M to Social Entrepreneurs Re-Architecting Pathways to Economic Mobility

October 1, 2019

Application open to social entrepreneurs helping young adults from low-income communities access postsecondary education and upwardly mobile careers

New Profit, a venture philanthropy organization backing social entrepreneurs creating equity and opportunity in America, today announced plans to support 20 innovators who are connecting young adults from low-income communities with the postsecondary credentials and work experience needed to access upwardly mobile careers.

Grantees will be identified through a public application open from October 2, 2019 to October 23, 2019 and chosen through a rigorous selection process. The 20 organizations will be awarded a $100,000 unrestricted grant over two years to build capacity to help individuals pursue economic mobility and the American dream.

“Over 80 percent of jobs that pay $35,000 or more to younger workers require a postsecondary credential. While most individuals from high-income backgrounds get a credential, only 35 percent of people from underserved backgrounds do so,” said New Profit Managing Partner J.B. Schramm. “This lack of credentialing prevents millions of capable, talented individuals from achieving upward mobility and is a key driver of inequality in America. New Profit believes that we can put millions more young adults on the path to opportunity by supporting the most promising entrepreneurs developing new pathways from high school and low-skill jobs into postsecondary education and upwardly mobile careers.”

An initiative of Learn to Earn, New Profit’s postsecondary and career strategy, Postsecondary Innovation for Equity (PIE) is a two-phase effort to surface and catalyze innovations that help young Americans from low-income communities acquire postsecondary credentials and access upwardly mobile careers, without incurring major debt. New Profit will engage the 20 selected grantee-partners in a learning community focused on building their organization’s measurement capacity. First phase grantee-partners will be eligible for the second phase of the PIE Initiative, launching in 2020, in which selected organizations will receive $1M each to scale their impact.

Organizations supported through PIE will primarily serve people between the ages of 15 to 30 who are high school students, recent high school graduates, learners for whom traditional colleges have not worked, or early career workers in low-skill jobs. All grantees will share a commitment to improving the way they measure and report outcomes, including graduation rate, graduate employment, and graduate earnings, as well as a holistic commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Three types of entrepreneurs will be supported:

  • Entrepreneurs creating new workforce-connected postsecondary programs or institutions (including established postsecondary institutions pursuing radical innovation): For example, hybrid college models that are reducing costs, providing the flexibility and support that learners need, and brokering connections to good jobs.
  • Entrepreneurs architecting pathways to upwardly mobile jobs through established institutions: For example, collaborations among high schools, community colleges, and companies that put young people on a debt-free track to earn a credential and get a good job.
  • Entrepreneurs developing solutions that support innovators in the first two categories: For example, organizations providing innovative postsecondary financing or applicant-employer matching mechanisms that help people from low-income communities access education and employment opportunities.

Social entrepreneurs and other leaders interested in submitting an application for funding and support from PIE should click here.

Aimée Eubanks Davis, CEO of Braven, a New Profit grantee-partner that works to empower promising, underrepresented young people on their path to college graduation and strong first jobs, reflects on what it means to be a part of the New Profit portfolio: “The robust New Profit partnership has provided incredible insight and practical tools that are helping me to continue to strengthen my own leadership and the leadership, operations and structure of Braven. I have no doubt that New Profit’s support will be catalytic for us in the next five years of impact.”

The funding partners for the PIE Initiative include the Lumina Foundation, the Siegel Family Endowment, Walmart, and the Walton Family Foundation.

Grant submissions are due October 23, 2019. Prospective applicants are encouraged to click here to read the FAQ for more information and email questions to


New Profit is a pioneering venture philanthropy organization that backs social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America. We exist to build a bridge between these leaders and a community of philanthropists who are committed to catalyzing their impact. Over the past 20 years, we have invested over $250M in unrestricted funding and strategic support in a portfolio of over 130 social entrepreneur-led organizations driving change in early learning, K-12 education, workforce development, and more. We also work to create the conditions that enable all social entrepreneurs to thrive by shifting how government and policy pursue social change through policy advocacy, convening, and field leadership efforts.