When we started the Institute four years ago this month, we all agreed very quickly that our mission was going to be to close equity gaps across America. We decided to do that across four different areas: Resilient Communities, Economic Opportunity, Healthy Youth Development, and Equity in Education.
Today, we’re able to demonstrate for the first time the different impacts we’ve had the privilege to support with our dollars – whether that be through carbon recovery or helping individuals through a difficult time in their lives. Our companies supported over $8 million of capital savings from an economic opportunity perspective and thousands of students have had learning losses prevented, particularly important in the wake of the pandemic.
We invested in 23 companies through the end of 2021 and the AmFam Institute Venture Capital Impact Report we’re releasing here will highlight the lives saved, the air cleaned, and the countless individuals impacted this past year by their work.
We couldn’t rightfully call ourselves an impact fund unless we had some means of showing the impact of our investment dollars.
As a recovering academic, I like to joke sometimes that research takes five, ten, even 20 years to show impact. On the other side of that spectrum, society often wants to see impact yesterday. Understanding the tension between the two, we needed to be thoughtful and careful about our work.
To achieve that, we spent time with our companies and asked what’s important to them. What could they actually measure? Because there might be data we want that are not appropriate or feasible to measure, especially if they have a startup team of five that’s working on a shoestring budget to try to demonstrate fundamentally that their idea works.
We can say we’ve selected these companies. We’ve helped founders who are often underestimated, who aren’t getting access to investment dollars through traditional channels. And we can start there. But at the end of the day, it’s the founders and the people they’re hiring who are the ones doing the heavy lifting. They’re the ones changing society.
–Dr. Joy Ippolito, Social Impact Investment Director
Whether that meant working tirelessly to make sure that students were getting the money they needed during the pandemic or ensuring those struggling could access 24/7 mental health support, this report celebrates their efforts.
What they’re doing for our future matters and, if we do it sustainably, we can reinvest for generations to come. We’re certainly not the only player in this space, nor can we be. We can’t do this alone.
If there were more corporations and more entities that were taking an impact focus lens in terms of where they were putting their investment dollars, we could have an even more amazing impact across society.
This report is a great first step. Reading it should illustrate why we get up every day with the goal of working to close equity gaps and helping to change lives.
Thanks to our portfolio companies, we’re now able to measure just how much.
–Dr. Joy Ippolito, Author