When we first started Propel Capital in 2008, we sought innovative ways to leverage capital for social impact. We looked across sectors, considered market strategies, and wondered if we took the riskiest, first-loss position with an impact investment, could we persuade other larger pools of capital to follow on and invest in line with their values?

We did — leveraging significant investment in rural poverty alleviation and attracting new capital for a range of other impact-focused efforts. In addition to impact investing, we employed a social entrepreneurship lens to our grantmaking — which we view as early, general operating, multi-year support for a compelling strategy with strong leadership to execute.

This way of thinking drew from our previous experiences as investors and building large public-private partnerships between government, nonprofits, and the private sector, as well as from our own long-standing personal commitments to social impact.

In 2017, we explicitly expanded Propel’s focus to invest in organizations building progressive power. Propel Democracy, this new $5m commitment, draws on some of the same principles that have guided our funding from the start:

  • allowing those closest to the problem flexibility to respond, pivot, act when necessary to drive change, and
  • using capital creatively to build a more just and equitable society

We believe the organizations within the Propel Democracy portfolio represent creative, diverse approaches that foster the strategic experimentation and tactical collaboration required for progressive policies and electoral wins. We are also intentionally supporting both new and existing work, believing that collaboration across long-time organizers and those newly motivated to act in response to the current administration is essential for mobilizing the level of resources — money and people — necessary to build effective coalitions.

Read the full article about social impact from Propel Capital at Medium