[REPORT] The State of Democracy Entrepreneurship: Insights from New Profit’s Civic Lab
New report authored by Yordanos Eyoel and Rebecca Even, highlights the unique set of challenges democracy entrepreneurs (particularly women of color) face and the role philanthropy can play in removing barriers for proximate leaders.August 24, 2021
New Profit’s Civic Lab is pleased to present its new report “The State of Democracy Entrepreneurship: Insights from New Profit’s Civic Lab“. The report, authored by Yordanos Eyoel and Rebecca Even, highlights the unique set of challenges democracy entrepreneurs (particularly women of color) face and the role philanthropy can play in removing barriers for proximate leaders.
By reviewing 117 applications from nonpartisan organizations and conducting diligence interviews with entrepreneurs and their stakeholders, Civic Lab has generated unique insights into the overlooked and undercapitalized democracy landscape. The report analyzes democracy organizations across five critical dimensions: demography, geography, budget size, age of organization, and strategies employed.
Ultimately, the report details five key takeaways from Civic Lab’s analysis:
- Open investment application cycles facilitate inclusive philanthropy.
- Democracy organizations are in strong need of post-election and sustained philanthropic investments.
- Philanthropy needs to close the funding chasm, particularly for women of color (see chart below).
- In addition to capital, democracy entrepreneurs are seeking peer learning communities.
- The democracy sector lacks robust entrepreneur and practitioner-focused research.
“Even during the height of political giving, women of color are shortchanged—despite the monumental role they have and continue to play,” noted Yordanos Eyoel of New Profit and Aimee Allison of She the People in a recent op-ed they co-authored in The Hill. “Women of color are not only reforming the existing broken and discriminatory practices in our democracy, they are also entrepreneurs who are building and growing new institutions that, if effectively resourced, can help us realize a truly multi-racial democracy.”
In the absence of robust practitioner-informed data, there is often duplication of efforts, redundancies, and high levels of inefficiency in the landscape. It is precisely because of these challenges that Civic Lab is sharing these findings from its investment selection cycle. In the report, we invite others to join us in collecting robust data to uncover insights from the democracy entrepreneurship ecosystem as well as to incubate and grow infrastructure builders.
Additionally, we urge institutional and individual philanthropists to join Civic Lab in the effort to close the funding chasm and invest in women of color.
About New Profit’s Civic Lab
Civic Lab is the nation’s first nonpartisan venture philanthropy initiative to invest in proximate democracy entrepreneur-led organizations. It provides unrestricted funding alongside strategic capacity-building support, while building the ecosystem for democracy entrepreneurship. Since its launch in 2019, Civic Lab has made investments in 14 game-changing organizations and is on track to expand its portfolio to 35 by 2024. Currently, over 70% of Civic Lab’s investments are in organizations led by entrepreneurs of color.
Civic Lab is committed to sharing its data analysis and insights from future investment selection cycles and from its deep partnership with proximate democracy entrepreneurs. Civic Lab is also actively working to expand and deepen their reach to a diverse range of underserved democracy entrepreneurs, including Native American and Indigenous leaders, and undercapitalized regions, including the Midwest and South.