The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation has announced it is joining with nine other donors to launch Blue Meridian Partners, a new funders collaborative that aims to invest $1 billion in high-performance nonprofits poised to have national impact for economically disadvantaged children and youth.
Incubated at the McConnell Clark Foundation and chaired by philanthropist Stanley Druckenmiller, the venture has secured $750 million toward its initial fundraising goal, including commitments of at least $50 million from its general partners — the Ballmer Group, EMCF, Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller, the Duke Endowment (with a focus on North and South Carolina), the George Kaiser Family Foundation (with a focus on Tulsa, Oklahoma), and the Samberg Family Foundation. In addition, four limited partners — the Hewlett, JPB, Packard, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family foundations — have committed at least $10 million.
Blue Meridian will make unrestricted, long-term (five- to ten-year) investments of up to $200 million in each grantee with the aim of helping them expand their impact and serve larger numbers of youth. In addition, the organization will work with grantees to increase their influence on child welfare, educational, juvenile justice, and other systems that affect children's lives.
The six general partners will share decision-making authority, including where and how to invest and oversee and monitor performance. EMCF's board will have one vote, and its president, Nancy Roob, will serve as CEO of the new venture while also leading EMCF.
"The impetus behind Blue Meridian Partners is both the urgency of the continuing crisis threatening America's youth and the results we have seen when the highest-performing nonprofits and their dynamic leaders are supercharged with large amounts of growth capital," wrote Roob in a post on the EMCF website. "Without large, long-term investments of growth capital for organizations with proven results, we'll continue to salve but not solve our big social challenges. To paraphrase a nonprofit leader I admire, we simply can't expect to create big change with spare change."