Upstart Co-Lab launches creative economy impact investing coalition

Upstart Co-Lab launches creative economy impact investing coalition

Upstart Co-Lab, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, has announced the launch of a coalition aimed at catalyzing impact investments in the creative economy.

The Member Community coalition includes ten cultural institutions, foundations, and individuals with a collective impact investing capacity of $1 billion, all of whom have made a three-year commitment to catalyzing impact investments in arts and culture-related industries. The group's members include the Denver-based Bonfils-Stanton Foundation; Brooklyn-based BRIC; New York City-based Creative Capital; the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in Jackonsville, Florida; the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation; Martha J. Fleischman, trustee and chair emerita of the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution; conceptual artist Neil Hamamoto; Lorrie Meyercord, who has been working with Upstart Co-Lab on impact investments since 2016; an anonymous donor-advised fund; and an anonymous family foundation. The Compton Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the David Rockefeller Fund will provide additional support for the effort. 

With the goal of demonstrating how investing directly in businesses and real estate projects in the creative economy can drive social and environmental impact, Upstart Co-Lab will provide coalition members with educational resources, sourcing and screening of investment opportunities, and access to its proprietary pipeline of investment opportunities in the areas of sustainable food, ethical fashion, social impact media, and creative placemaking. Members of the coalition also will have access to collective learning opportunities and due diligence support. 

"This group of passionate pioneers are our chief partners in establishing the creative economy as the next priority of impact investors," said Upstart Co-Lab founding partner Laura Callanan. "Our members push us by asking the practical questions all investors ask, anchored in a deep understanding of the power art, design, culture, heritage, and creativity have to drive positive environmental and social change. They are our evangelists and ambassadors as Upstart Co-Lab works to build both supply and demand for impact capital throughout the creative economy." 

"Art and culture have been largely overlooked by impact investors before now," said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. "The leadership of the Upstart Co-Lab Member Community to close this gap comes at a moment when the creative economy has a critical role to play in an equitable COVID-19 economic recovery and needs values-aligned capital more than ever."

(Photo credit: LISC NYC Inclusive Creative Economy Fund)