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Upstart Co-Lab releases 2022 Impact Report

Upstart Co-Lab is proud to release its 2022 Impact Report, detailing investments closed by the Upstart Co-Lab Member Community from 2020 through 1Q2023.  Investments profiled in this report include:

The Member Community — a group of pioneering impact investors who understand the power of art, design, culture, heritage and creativity – included the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, BRIC, Builders Initiative, Creative Capital, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Martha J. Fleischman, Neil Hamamoto, Lorrie Meyercord, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, and an anonymous donor-advised fund. 

Members provided philanthropic support to Upstart from 2020-2023; additional  support for the Member Community was provided by the Compton Foundation, the David Rockefeller Fund, and the Ford Foundation.

Over three years, Upstart sourced and screened funds and businesses in the creative economy aligned with Members’ geographic, programmatic, investment and impact priorities – and expected to have commercial success. Upstart conducted investment due diligence on Members’ behalf; and supported Members in their impact investing learning journey. 

In the report, Upstart Co-Lab details its people-focused approach to impact assessment, recognizing the role that investments in the creative economy can play in advancing social justice, financial inclusion, economic opportunity, and community development. Upstart tracks the impact of creative economy investments across five dimensions:

  • Access to capital for BIPOC and women entrepreneurs: Funds and companies that are led by diverse managers and founders, respectively; as well as investments in funds that are backing diverse founders. 
  • Quality Jobs: Jobs that provide a living wage, basic benefits, career-building opportunities, wealth- building opportunities, and a fair and engaging workplace. 
  • Vibrant communities: Activities that strengthen economic development, encourage civic engagement, build resiliency, and contribute to quality of life. 
  • Sustainable creative lives: Ownership models, earnings opportunities, and pathways to wealth building that support a “creative middle class.” 
  • An inclusive creative economy: Economic activity anchored in Openness & Experimentation, Diversity & Inclusion, and Tradition & Innovation that benefits artists, designers and all members of the community. 

Investments described in the Upstart 2022 Impact Report: Investing for an Inclusive Creative Economy are representative of the proprietary pipeline of  impact investing opportunities in the creative economy that Upstart Co-Lab has developed, and demonstrate the deep impact potential of the creative economy. 

The release of this report signals the successful conclusion of Upstart’s work with the Member Community. Now, to fully demonstrate the potential of the creative economy for impact investing, Upstart is raising up to $100 million from foundations, donor advised funds, and endowed cultural institutions for the first, national impact investment strategy for the U.S. creative economy. 

Using a multi-funder investment vehicle developed in partnership with ImpactAssets, this Inclusive Creative Economy Strategy will target market rate returns and focus on the  priorities most impact investors seek: financial inclusion, job creation, community development, and equity. 

About Upstart Co-Lab

Upstart Co-Lab connects capital to creative people who make a profit and make a difference. Since 2016, Upstart Co-Lab has explored how the $877 billion US creative economy can become more inclusive, equitable and sustainable. Since launching in 2016, Upstart has advised families, foundations and endowed cultural institutions on impact investment opportunities that deliver market-rate returns and deep impact. Upstart has directly mobilized $23 million of impact capital, and now is launching the Inclusive Creative Economy Strategy, the first impact investing vehicle for the U.S. creative industries. Based in New York City, Upstart Co-Lab is a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

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