Who We Are

 
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Our team is nimble, intentionally lean, and embraces an ‘all hands on deck’ approach. We problem-solve with our partners when there are bumps in the road and look for opportunities to add value beyond financial resources. 

 
 
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Jeremy Mindich

Jeremy is co-founder and managing partner of Scopia Capital, a hedge fund management company with over $6 billion in assets under management. At Propel, Jeremy works closely with the CEO on the organization's strategy and priorities. Since 2007, he has been active in building the field of impact investing, helping to scale innovative social impact organizations, and advancing progressive initiatives. He currently chairs the board of Root Capital, and served on the founding board for Sarona Asset Management.

Prior to entering the financial world, Jeremy worked as a freelance journalist and wrote articles on economic, political and social issues for publications including the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, SF Weekly and the Village Voice. He holds an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. 

 
 
 
 
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Sarah M. Williams

Sarah became Propel Capital’s first full-time CEO in January 2017, after launching this project with Jeremy in 2008. As CEO, she directs Propel’s strategy, investment and grant program design, and implementation.

Before becoming CEO, Sarah led her own consulting firm, working with foundations, donors, and corporations on their giving and impact investing strategies. Sarah also led the Pfizer Foundation, with over $300 million in assets, overseeing the launch of their first international and social venture programs; designed -- with a coalition of activists, educators, and health experts – the nation’s first comprehensive HIV/AIDS education and condom availability program in NYC high schools at the height of the epidemic; and ran community organizing campaigns for pro-choice State Legislature candidates in Missouri. Sarah serves on a range of nonprofit boards, including the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Center for Prison Education, and the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Sarah has a B.A. from Wesleyan University and was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.

 
 
 
 
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Katya Levitan-Reiner

As Portfolio Director, Katya manages Propel’s operations and works closely with the Co-Founders on the organization’s overall strategy and implementation.

Before joining Propel, Katya worked with foundations, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, non-profit organizations, and K-12 school systems to develop and implement high impact strategies and programs. Previously, Katya managed national initiatives to strengthen instructional quality and capacity in K-12 school systems; helped launch a comprehensive school reform plan in New Haven, CT; and provided strategy and implementation support to Fortune 500 companies as part of the Human Capital Consulting team at Deloitte. She began her career as a middle and high school mathematics teacher in Oakland, California. Katya has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in mathematics from Smith College. She was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs and a Broad Residency in Urban Education.

 
 
 
 
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Magda Socha

Magda is the Program Assistant at Propel, where she supports the organization’s operations.

Prior to joining the team, Magda taught bilingual special education as a Teach for America Fellow. Previously, Magda completed internships at the White House, United Nations, and State Department, where she worked with teams across public diplomacy and global programs. Magda graduated with a B.A. from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Her academic research focused on minority studies, educational leadership, and the politics of national identity in Jewish history.

 
 
 
 

History

 
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Propel Capital was founded to use capital creatively for social impact.  

In 2008, sparked by a shared interest in cross-sector solutions to issues of inequality, we began working together to explore where we could have the most impact. Believing that investment capital could, in certain circumstances, be cycled repeatedly for social impact and that entrepreneurial approaches could help fuel innovation and drive social change, we began to make impact investments and grants to test our ideas and foster experimentation. We also shared the view that, if we could move quickly, with humility, a high tolerance for risk, and a willingness to let others take credit, we could do a lot of good in the world. And, finally, we shared the belief that we are all connected and, by concentrating resources and power in the hands of a few, our society starkly limits its future potential.

After some early experimentation, we launched Propel Capital to house this work and, from the beginning, decided that all Propel’s capital allocations – from operations, to the investment of the assets, to our grants would be in alignment with our values. To ensure that overhead was low and more resources flowed to organizations working on social impact, we established ourselves as a one of the first donor-advised funds at ImpactAssets (a mission-driven financial services company with $360 million in assets). In addition to using ImpactAssets to manage our grant and investment processing, we were intentional about prioritizing vendors and service providers who employ socially responsible business practices. Propel was one of the first philanthropic entities to invest 100% of our assets for impact and this early decision remains central to our mission today.

Starting in 2016, we scaled up our work – increasing our investing, funding, and staff capacity to work more closely with our partner organizations – and formed Propel Capital Network, LLC to enable a broader set of activities. Since we made our first grant, Propel has committed over $30 million to more than 30 social enterprises and impact funds working to create more inclusive economies, reform the criminal justice system, and innovate for a more just and equitable future.

 

Jeremy Mindich and Sarah Williams, Co-Founders