Our Approach

 
 
 
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Who We Support

 
 

Propel Capital invests in organizations and people working to reform the criminal justice system, advance progressive issues and elected leadership, and expand economic opportunity through inclusive access to capital. We focus on creative solutions to complex challenges, recognizing that game-changing ideas and exceptional leadership exist across sectors, demographics, and geographies.

 
 

Purpose-Driven Economy

We use grants and investments to catalyze broad adoption of business and investment practices that consider social and environmental impact. In the US, we focus on companies that create and support thriving wage jobs and organizations fostering healthy ecosystems for entrepreneurship and local economies.

 

Criminal Justice Reform

We advocate for the just treatment of people affected by the criminal justice system. We look for key levers to end mass incarceration, such as funding the Independent Commission in NYC that calls for the closing of Rikers and the work of several organizations leading the effort. We believe that both advocacy and practical models, such college-prison programs and community courts, are essential for true systems change. We believe that people with lived experience in the criminal justice system are a critical component to ending mass incarceration and we support their leadership training and educational opportunities.

 

Progressive Organizing

Through the Propel Action Fund, we support early and growth stage innovators strengthening local organizing and voter engagement efforts to build progressive political power in the United States. The Fund’s investments seek to build sustainable infrastructure that will be well-positioned to translate strong organizing into voter engagement and electoral wins in 2018 and beyond.

 

Social Entrepreneurship

We support social enterprises building innovative, scalable solutions to issues of poverty and inequality. At Propel, we believe that those closest to the problem are best able to develop successful solutions and therefore prioritize entrepreneurs whose lived experience reflects the challenges they aim to solve.

 
 
 
 

How We Invest

 
 

Propel Capital invests in social enterprises at critical junctures in their development with flexible, patient capital. We place significant trust in our partners and operate with a high risk tolerance for new approaches and big bets at catalytic moments. 

 
 
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Leveragable, flexible capital.

While Propel is not the largest pool of socially responsible capital, we creatively structure our investment to leverage additional resources. We work to attract other investors to smart, impact-focused businesses and social enterprises, often by taking a first-loss position or providing other financing incentives. With select partners, our team will take a high-touch approach – taking a board seat, providing hands-on support, or actively connecting to our network. 

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Funding based on trust.

Propel uses diligence and reporting practices that enable our partners – and potential partners — to stay focused on their work. Our team strives to minimize the time and effort spent on application and reporting requirements – accepting reports prepared for other funders, using a streamlined and simple application process and, in most cases, providing multi-year, general operating support. We learn from experts in the field, borrow from the due diligence of respected colleagues, and operate with a high degree of trust in the leaders and teams we invest in.

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100% for Impact.

Propel makes grants and impact investments through Propel Capital Network, LLC as well as the Propel Capital Fund, a donor-advised fund powered by ImpactAssets. We believe our resources have the most impact in the hands of those closest to the work and therefore are committed to keeping overhead low, working with impact vendors and service partners – such as ImpactAssets – to support operations, and using 100% of our invested assets to advance our mission.