Education Innovation Ventures
ECMC Foundation’s program-related investment portfolio makes below-market-rate investments into nonprofit and for-profit ventures that seek to generate both social impact and financial returns.
Complementing ECMC Foundation’s strategic grantmaking, the Education Innovation Ventures (EIV) program provides catalytic, risk capital to early-stage ventures working to increase postsecondary educational outcomes and economic mobility among learners and jobseekers from systemically disadvantaged backgrounds. Through program-related investments, EIV’s capital generates impact alongside financial returns, which are recycled to fund further impact initiatives and drive changes in economic mobility for learners and jobseekers.
EIV’s investments aim to build evidence-based practices through impact measurement and evaluation.
EIV Makes Catalytic Investments
Investment Strategy and Objectives
EIV provides flexible, risk capital to early-stage ventures and entrepreneurs working to seed innovations, prove new models, and enable ventures to scale their impact. Our early-stage investments are designed to support ventures focused on improving postsecondary persistence and completion and/or job attainment at family-sustaining wages, specifically for learners and jobseekers who face systemic barriers to economic mobility.
Since launching in 2018, EIV’s investments have allowed the Foundation to tap into the creative power of the nonprofit and for-profit sectors through social enterprises working on college persistence and success, alternative postsecondary education financing, career exploration, upskilling and training, and equitable hiring initiatives. The investment thesis builds upon learnings from the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolios on College Success and Career Readiness.
EIV makes several types of investments:
- Direct Investments: the Foundation invests capital into social enterprises that serve learners and jobseekers
- Fund Investments: capital is deployed to funds that reinvest capital into social ventures
- Donor Advised Funds (DAF) Investments: capital is sent through a donor advised fund and invested into social ventures
Education Innovation Venture’s Five-Point Model
EIV considers ventures that demonstrate a commitment to delivering intentional, sustained and measurable social impact, and align with the Foundation's mission of inspiring and facilitating improvements in postsecondary education for underestimated learners. We look for the following criteria in our investments:
- Impact: A measurable strategy for driving educational outcomes and economic mobility for students from underserved backgrounds and markets; a commitment to sharing lessons learned with the greater education sector.
- Risk & Innovation: Early-stage ventures with transformative and disruptive products and services that address an unmet market need.
- Scalability: Ventures with sustainable business models using market-based approaches that need access to patient capital in order to achieve scale.
- Leverage: Ventures that test new and bold ideas with the potential to attract additional sources of capital to grow impact.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Intentionality around building a diverse and inclusive body of leadership and practicing strong internal social governance.
Special Initiative: Innovative Financing Models
Beginning in 2021, ECMC Foundation will invest up to $2.5 million through Education Innovation Ventures into short-term training and education programs that use alternative financing models to accelerate the upskilling and retraining needed for America’s unemployed workforce to find gainful employment and attain family-sustaining wages. Learn more about why we are investing in Innovative Financing Models.
How to Connect
Education Innovation Ventures uses program-related investments to deploy capital to mission-aligned for-profit and non-profit ventures that have a scalable earned revenue stream. If you are incorporating an earned revenue stream and your venture aligns to EIV’s criteria below, please reach out to us.