ATLANTA – October 4, 2018 – Nearly two years after hatching the idea, a collaborative of community leaders announces the launch of the Georgia Social Impact Map, an interactive platform designed to connect and educate stakeholders interested in accelerating impact investing for social outcomes. Intended as a resource for communities around the state, the Map connects new forms of capital to sustaining and scaling solutions to social challenges.

The founding group, the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative (GSIC), identified the relevant players – social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, investors, intermediaries, and enablers – and asked them what they care about – education, health issues, homelessness, etc. With this, GSIC created the ecosystem map, a searchable network of organizations, partners and supporters doing good work in the various social sectors. The platform also profiles stories of social enterprises and how they use impact capital to drive their businesses and achieve greater social outcomes, as well as how investors and intermediaries are helping deploy mission-oriented money to build greater sustainability.

On October 4, nearly 140 of those stakeholders turned out for an event to learn about the launch of the ecosystem map. The year-long data collection process, run by Advantage Consulting, produced a comprehensive report based on over 250 live interviews and surveys of social enterprises (nonprofit and for-profit), investors and supporting organizations of all types. The report found that Georgians have great interest in impact investing, and social enterprises have significant need for additional capital.

According to Sam Moss, chairman of GSIC, “though great work is being done every day by nonprofits and social enterprises around this state, we found that they often don’t have adequate access to impact capital and other resources. We can change this and that’s why we created the ecosystem map.” The members of GSIC, its advisory committees and funders represent over 70 actively engaged organizations of all types, including banks, nonprofits, family and national foundations, corporate partners, the public sector, impact investors, angel and venture investors and many others.

The launch event also offered a chance to learn from a true impact investing pioneer, Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and co-founder of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). After his keynote address, Antony remarked that “if the impact investing sector is a 100-yard dash, all of us are only on the 3-yard line. So GSIC’s ecosystem map gives Georgia a real opportunity to be a leader in place-based impact investing”. And then he urged “if you haven’t already, you need to join the map!” NFF has recently invested in the expansion of several Georgia-based social enterprises, including CHRIS 180 and First Step Staffing.

The practice of using impact investing as a tool for scaling social solutions has exploded in recent decades. Defined as investing that produces both a financial as well as a social return, impact investments domestically exceeded $8.7 trillion in 2016, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF). While Georgia’s participation in the impact investing space has lagged, the GSIC map is well positioned to turn that around. Recognizing that Georgia has vast resources and growing opportunities, the founders of GSIC have established a strong foundation for the map to become a sustainable and expanding resource to serve veteran as well as new investors and enterprises searching for ways to tackle social issues of common concern. The ultimate result should be much greater social outcomes for all Georgians.

To join the Map, go to gasocialimpact.com/join-the-map/!

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About the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative
In late 2016, a group of Georgia’s community leaders, representing a diverse range of constituencies, came together to confront a shared concern that impact investing was not developing in Georgia at the pace seen elsewhere. The Georgia Social Impact Collaborative (GSIC) was formed as a collaborative effort to connect, educate and inspire stakeholders for the purpose of accelerating the development of Georgia’s impact investing ecosystem.

Nonprofit Finance Fund® (NFF®)
NFF advances missions and social progress in underserved communities through financing, consulting, partnerships, and knowledge-sharing that empower leaders, organizations, and ideas. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), NFF currently manages over $310 million. Since 1980, NFF has provided almost $700 million in financing and access to additional capital in support of over $2.3 billion in projects for thousands of organizations nationwide.

For more information, please contact Jonny Newburgh at [email protected].

Profile Summary:

  • Entrepreneur Name: Jason Martin
  • Venture Name: Community Guilds [STE(A)M Truck Program]
  • Impact Focus Area(s): Education, Community Development, Work force development, Professional Development, Capacity Building
  • Business Stage (Ideation, Startup, Early, Later, Mature): Later
  • Year Venture Established: 2013
  • Business Type: Nonprofit Social Enterprise

The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

“Our mission is to close opportunity gaps and eliminate inequities by transforming teaching and learning through an experiential maker approach. 

 We do two things well:  

  1. We give kids an opportunity to get their hands dirty and make things.
  2. We empower teachers to continue this work once we drive away. 

We are best known for our STE(A)M Truck Program which deploys a growing fleet of mobile makerspaces filled with real tools and local experts and parks it where kids, and their teachers, can tackle real problems, design solutions and build things together.

We exist because zip codes too often determine access to opportunity.  We target youth most unrepresented in STEM careers and focus on 21st skills needed to thrive in the real world.  Our work begins to ensure equity and opportunity regardless of where you live or the school you attend.  Ultimately, we aim to end generational cycles of poverty as the City of Atlanta is one of the least upwardly mobile cities in the United States.  We believe that inequality means lost opportunity for all.”

Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

“I started by asking a question… How can we eliminate inequity and catalyze transformation by leveraging the assets and expertise that exist within communities? Defining ‘how’ has evolved over time from our original apprenticeship program to the mobile makerspaces we use today.

This work was shaped and formed by many but first and foremost I think of Matt Candler at 4.0 Schools, as a true catalyst.   Early on they helped me prototype ideas while investing seed money to help me test out new possibilities.  Originally, I did not think of myself as an entrepreneur, but 4.0 Schools allowed me to reinvent myself and offered an opportunity to think outside the box.   

With a more refined idea in place, the Points of Light Civic Accelerator helped me dig deeper into the business model.  I was then selected as a finalist for Teach for America’s Social Innovation Award which offered fantastic coaching as we attempted to navigate systemic educational reform.   We then opened our first office within the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) here in Atlanta.  CCI allowed us to set up shop, do our work, meet like-minded social entrepreneurs, and develop deeper roots across the city.      

Leadership Atlanta also played a significant role in my journey as I was a part of the 2016 class. The peers in my class were critical relationships– one classmate now serves as our board chair and others have helped our program grow including Dean Erika James at the Goizueta Business School who helped us connect to the Goizueta Impact Investors for an early stage loan. 

An important part of our journey came from the legal support of the Probono Partnership of Atlanta. They helped us with our board governance, contracts, risk management, and more. Our assigned volunteer attorneys became advocates for us in important ways

As a nonprofit, we have had several game changing investments over the years.  The first came through the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation who understood the potential of the maker movement to “light children’s imagination on fire”.  With a background as an educator, I was able to tap into support from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) for an innovation grant that helped us build out a robust evaluation framework and showed that our work has measurable impact. Lastly, the Goizueta Foundation offered a significant, multi-year grant to bolster our internal infrastructure during our second year of operations, without which we would not have been able to grow.”   

Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups. 

“I would like to see more places created for nonprofit social impact entrepreneurs to gather together as peers to learn from one another.  We may not always call it an ecosystem, but you would be hard pressed to find a successful business that didn’t have a strong support system surrounding it.  I think codifying what that support looks and making it easier to navigate is important and benefits us all.

From a funding standpoint, finding investments beyond the smaller seed grants for nonprofits can be challenging. I would like to see more “go big” investment opportunities for organizations that are at a later stage.

Lastly, the privilege that I have should also not be dismissed.  If I was young, poor, a woman, or a person of color, with a different educational background, my journey would have had much different challenges. As we build Georgia’s ecosystem we need to prioritize equity and opportunity for a diverse set of entrepreneurs.”         

Interested in learning more about Jason and Community Guilds, please visit:

Profile Summary:

  • Entrepreneur Name: Jasmine Crowe
  • Venture Name: Goodr
  • Impact Focus Area(s): Sustainability, Waste Reduction, Hunger Prevention
  • Business Stage (Ideation, Startup, Early, Later, Mature): Early
  • Year Venture Established: 2017
  • Business Type: For-Profit Social Enterprise

The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

“For me it started with hunger.  I had been working to feed those in our community experiencing homelessness.  I was working hard each week to gather food, cook, and serve long lines of individuals on the street- I thought there had to be a better way and that led me to do research on food waste.  I was blown away by how much perfectly good food is going to waste, while I was struggling to feed people that were hungry.  I saw two problems that were solutions to one another. 

I could have been a nonprofit, but I chose to be a for-profit with a paid staff to better meet the needs and reporting expectations that companies have in terms of recovering food waste.  We track every item that we collect specific to each item picked up- which nonprofit it goes to, the weight, along with environmental statistics.  It is critical that we succeed because we can help business reduce their waste but also help communities in greater numbers.”      

Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

“Through Goodie Nation’s pitch competition which I entered, we were able to be introduced and have formed a relationship with the Atlanta Airport.

We are just getting started with Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) as of July as part of the SPANX CCI Innovation Fellow program.  There helping me look at ways that we can better share our model to those in the social impact community. The program comes with an investment along with self-care stipends. 

I am a member of ATDC.  Jackie Chu, one of the Catalysts there has been very helpful as someone I can run ideas by.” 

Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups. 

“Funding is obviously a big thing. A number of our customers can’t afford our services and we would like to serve them, but at the same time need to ensure we can pay our employees a good, living wage.  It would be great if there were more foundations focused on reducing food waste that would be willing to fund us to serve organizations that can’t afford services for example a hospital or university.

There have definitely been a number of supporters here in Atlanta particularly individuals.  We haven’t connected with a large number of big companies as of yet. UPS recently reached out and wanted to do a working ideation session in the first quarter of next year – so I am hopeful. 

Being an African American female founder is tough. It’s really tough in the South. If we are building a social impact ecosystem around entrepreneurs in Atlanta where the population is 55% black, there has to be a conversation about how we better support people of color. Had I been of a different race, I probably would have had a lot more success in Atlanta than I had. 

Lastly, I would like to see the government and city officials do more to support social entrepreneurs. I would like to see a social impact fund set up at the State or city level to help entrepreneurs attend trainings and do other things- I think that is a big opportunity.”     

Interested in learning more about Jasmine and Goodr, please visit:

Profile Summary:

  • Entrepreneur Name: Jeffrey Martin
  • Venture Name: honorCode
  • Impact Focus Area(s): Education, Employment Generation
  • Business Stage (Ideation, Startup, Early, Later, Mature): Early
  • Year Venture Established: 2015
  • Business Type: Nonprofit Social Enterprise

The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

“The social change we are trying to impact is to make sure that all of the new businesses here in Atlanta source talent from our city instead of outsourcing it from other places. When you look at our major growing industries like film (which is $9.5B annually), fintech, IOT, and others, we have a booming technology sector.  But if you look at Georgia schools, a little less than 5% are teaching some form of computer science. 

Here in Atlanta we are focused on our most vulnerable population- black and brown students- and more specifically black students that identify as queer or gender non-conforming.  At honorCode we are working to ensure that these vulnerable populations can have a way of making a living for themselves at the end of the day.

It’s critical that we make progress on this issue because we talk about our city’s proud civil rights history, but if you look at recent trends the black folks are being pushed out of many neighborhoods they used to reside in.  We can’t keep doing this thing where we are planning for the future, when we haven’t turned to build new capacity around the things that are not working today like our models around post-secondary education attainment, workforce development, and career pipeline.  Atlanta will not ever be the city it says it is without us taking action.”       

Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

“It’s hard for me to talk about my experience because it is a bit of unicorn journey growing up in East Lake, attending Paideia, going on to Brown and Wharton, Teach for America, and Goldman Sachs. A lot of folks won’t have the same access points because of those networks and that narrative.

Looking back, honorCode grew out of a concept paper that I wrote and sent to Carol Naughton who is the President of the Purpose Built Communities.  She knew me since I was 10 years old as I grew up in East Lake and went to Drew Charter School. Because of Carol’s feedback, which ripped my concept paper apart, honorCode changed from a model of creating and running its own school and instead became focused on providing teacher training and education to better deliver computer science across existing schools. 

Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) also played a role as I was introduced to their Fellowship program through the Penn Social Impact House Fellowship. Those networks were connected through Echoing Green which helped me to meet CCI’s founder Rohit Malhotra. So my college network has been important as well. 

I was part of CCI’s inaugural Civic Innovation Fellows class back in 2016. CCI for me was very important for relationship development as I was connected to Val Porter who connected me to leaders of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta which led to find my executive coach Kim Anderson formerly of Families First and now with Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI). The CCI experience expedited that important relationship building.        

Additionally winning Forbes Change the World Entrepreneurship Competition catapulted us into a space where others took notice including Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator (CivicX) which we recently completed. CivicX provided a platform for us to market our work as we won an award for greatest impact.  We are hopeful that the CivicX exposure will lead to investment funding in the coming year.”

 

Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups. 

“When we look at investment, very few of those dollars go to women and people of color. I have a very quintessential meritocracy path; however, because we are in the state of Georgia instead of California which doesn’t have as strong of an impact investing ecosystem, dollars have been slow to fund scalable ideas.

I would like to see our Investor and philanthropic community do some customer discover work as part of this ecosystem building effort.  We can benefit from taking some ideas from the design thinking space to create true alternative investment approaches that can get to civic entrepreneurs faster.  By investment, it’s not just about dollars, but connections to expertise to do various things like developing better program evaluation to prove our results and models.”

Interested in learning more about Jeffrey and honorCode, please visit:

Profile Summary:

The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

“If you drive around Macon, you can’t help but notice that there is a lot of blight.  It’s a code term for houses that are beyond repair. They will never be remodeled and revitalized.  A $9M fund has been created to tear these homes down, which has created an increase in the number of materials heading to our landfill which is already 95% filled. The biggest cost of demolition is waste removal.  Working with a sister company of ours that does demolition, Georgia Artisan partners to reclaim wood to produce home furnishings. 

The other part of our work is the employees that we have which we source from a partnership with the local technical school and workforce development authority.  Our main goal is to make money, but at the same time attack some of the social issues here in Macon.

We also work with nonprofits and local city government to create benches and signs for pop-up parks.  We contribute items that are place-makers for downtown Macon.

On days that I don’t make money, the personal and professional growth of my employees and the pride of the community we help grow are what I take home at the end of the day.”

 Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

“It was never one thing, but I would say the most significant experience for our businesses was going through the Velocity Accelerator in Macon which was founded by J.R. McNair. J.R. was able to find a sponsorship for me and one other company to go through the Velocity program. 

When I came in to the program we were doing 1-2 orders a month.  Truly more of a hobby level.  Over the 10 week process, we changed our name to Georgia Artisan, updated our branding, pulled together a full business plan, and hired 2 full-time employees to help design and make more products. 

It took about six months for things to come together, thanks to good online reviews our sales picked up significantly and we have been growing ever since.  Velocity represented the transformational time—it allowed me to step back, put a plan in place for the business, and build a team. 

In terms of getting plugged in to the community, I was already involved in the local entrepreneurship network as a student at Mercer University. As part of the campus maker space, I entered a competition with a music venture idea and finished in fourth place, just outside of any investment funds, and was frustrated with the judges.  Six months later, I ran in to that same judge named Rob Betzel of Infinity Network Solutions and we had lunch.

That turned in to the best mentorship relationship that I have had. Through him I got connected to everyone in town.  Now I have four or five mentors including advisors in different areas like construction, building development, and sales and try to return that same support to others.”

Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups. 

“Having a similar network like I have in Macon statewide where fellow Georgia entrepreneurs can link up with one another is at the top of my wish list.

Too often it feels like Columbus and Atlanta are further away than Boston.

My network within a 30 mile radius is strong.  Linking with other networks across the state would be beneficial.”

Interested in learning more about Andrew and Georgia Artisan, please visit:

ATLANTA – June 12, 2018 – After an exhaustive, year-long study on the state of impact investing in Georgia, the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative (GSIC) has issued a final report on the initial stage of a network mapping project. The report describes the findings from Phase 1 of an initiative to develop the Georgia Social Impact Map (the Map), a dynamic and sustainable resource designed to stimulate greater opportunities for investing in social good in the region.

The practice of using impact investing as a tool for scaling social solutions has exploded over the past 10 years. Defined as investing that produces both a financial as well as a social return, impact investments domestically now total over $8.7 trillion, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF). Yet Georgia’s participation in the impact investing market has been limited despite the availability of vast resources and investors searching for ways to tackle social issues of common concern. As a result, the founders of GSIC – community leaders engaged in philanthropy, local and global impact investing, social enterprise and professional services – launched a broad ecosystem-level effort to support greater impact investing throughout Georgia. GSIC’s first major initiative is the Map.

To complete Phase 1 of the Map, GSIC, along with Advantage Consulting and a team of interns, interviewed nearly 150 of the state’s stakeholders – social enterprises, intermediaries, philanthropic and private investors – to better understand the existing assets, gaps and interest in further leveraging impact investing for Georgia-based organizations. Findings from the interviews were conclusive and telling:

  • Nearly 80% of GA investors have either invested in a social enterprise or expressed interest in making future investment;
  • At the same time, 78% of GA’s social enterprises are seeking investment capital.

Khurram Hassan, Partner at Advantage Consulting, observed that “the data clearly showed the social impact marketplace in Atlanta and Georgia is eager for investors and enterprises to be brought together by intermediaries and an organization like GSIC. It will be interesting to see how the stakeholders take next steps in building on the existing ecosystem.”

Though there’s clear interest in socially-minded money on both ends of the spectrum, Phase 1 confirmed GSIC’s original assumptions that investors and potential investees are having difficulty connecting and closing on impact capital.

According to Sam Moss, chair of GSIC: “those of us involved in GSIC’s creation knew idiosyncratically what was going on in the market and each of us would randomly introduce investors to opportunities. But we recognized that each of us had blind spots. We thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great to study what’s going on, find out what the interconnections are, identify what the investors are interested in?’ It was really a wonderful coming together to figure out what’s actually going on here in Georgia.”

The report concludes that this project has the potential to “inspire a surge in impact investing and create a more robust pipeline of opportunities that align capital with community challenges.” And “there is a market in Georgia for a virtual platform that allows social change makers to tell their stories, inspire others, and connect to emerging social impact venture opportunities.” The full report on the social impact ecosystem is available on GaSocialImpact.com.

Ron Alston, Senior Vice President of SunTrust Bank’s nonprofit banking group and a guest speaker at the event, stated that “My sincere hope is that [we can]…create an ecosystem that brings all constituents together to talk about how we make investments in a way that helps the entire community.”

The goal of the Map is to provide a bridge between the social enterprises that seeking capital and the investors that have mission-oriented capital. The report seemed to also confirm the expectation that investors and investees tend to align around specific issues areas, such as homelessness, housing, education or healthcare.

As GSIC’s project leader, Mark Crosswell explained that “by launching Phase 2 of the Map now, we are answering the call of the research to provide a dynamic and feature-rich resource that helps connect investors with social entrepreneurs focused on impact areas the investors care about.” Phase 2 begins immediately and should conclude with the roll out of web-based platform by this October. To include a network map, the website will also provide information on community events, intermediaries and programming that supports impact investing, as well as real-life examples and ways for stakeholders to connect. The Map will be hosted and available on GaSocialImpact.com in October.

About the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative
In late 2016, a group of Atlanta’s community leaders, representing a diverse range of constituencies, came together to confront a shared concern that impact investing was not developing in Georgia at the pace seen elsewhere. Working as an informal collaborative, the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative (GSIC) was formed as a collective effort to encourage impact investing across the state. The group identified several initial priorities, including the Map and other educational programming, designed to accelerate the development of Georgia’s impact investing ecosystem.

For more information: Mark Crosswell, project leader for the Map at [email protected].