13 December 2016
NEW ORLEANS (December 13, 2016) – At Propeller’s annual Demo Day, Living Cities committed to invest up to $500,000 in entrepreneurs who are tackling social and environmental issues in Southeast Louisiana, as part of their nationwide $37 million impact investing debt fund called the Blended Catalyst Fund. Their commitment to Southeast Louisiana will support a new partnership that will be launched by Propeller and the Foundation for Louisiana in early 2017.
Through this effort, Propeller and the Foundation for Louisiana will make loans to non-profit and for-profit social ventures that are solving pressing issues in food access, water management, educational equity, and health. The partnership will seek to address funding gaps faced by New Orleans’s small businesses, particularly those owned by women and entrepreneurs of color, by offering loans with favorable terms and providing ongoing mentorship and guidance to borrowers.
"New, accessible sources of capital are crucial to the viability and growth of the New Orleans entrepreneurial community,” said Propeller Executive Director Andrea Chen. "I am grateful to all of the partners who have committed to invest in the small businesses and non-profits working to solve critical issues in their communities and across our region.”
Flozell Daniels, the CEO of the Foundation for Louisiana, added, “Today’s commitment by Living Cities will address access to capital needs for small businesses in our region. We are excited about the response we have received to this idea from local, regional, and national banks, community development finance institutions, and other lenders across Southeast Louisiana.”
"Innovating with private capital has always been a key component of our work because we will never solve poverty with grants alone," said Ben Hecht, CEO of Living Cities. "This new partnership between Propeller and the Foundation for Louisiana is an important new way to pool and deploy capital to address the most pressing problems facing society today."
Additional support for the new fund will come from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, the blue moon fund, and the Ella West Freeman Foundation. Details on how to apply for loans will be announced in early 2017.
Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation
Propeller is a New Orleans-based 501(c)3 nonprofit that drives social, environmental and economic impact in New Orleans by supporting early-stage ventures that have the potential to solve our city’s biggest challenges. More information can be found at www.gopropeller.org.
Foundation for Louisiana
The mission of Foundation for Louisiana is to invest in people and practices that work to reduce vulnerability and build stronger, more sustainable communities statewide. More information can be found at www.foundationforlouisiana.org.
For 25 years, Living Cities has harnessed the collective power of 18 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places. Living Cities Capital Innovation team blends public, private, and philanthropic financial resources in new ways to better meet the needs of cities and improve the lives of low-income people. Additional information can be found at www.livingcities.org.
Foundation for Louisiana:
David Lee Simmons
Elizabeth A. Vargas