Equity in Innovation—Why Diversity is Essential for Growth

The 2021 ASU+GSV Summit, which brings together stakeholders and leaders in education, is just weeks away. The Age of Digital Learning is previewing what to expect. Host Kevin Hogan had a great discussion with Tulaine Montgomery, Co-CEO of New Profit. New Profit is a venture philanthropy organization created by and for social entrepreneurs.

At this year’s event, Montgomery will receive the Innovator of Color award. Regarding the honor, Montgomery said, “It was a surprise to me. I’m joining a cohort I’ve long admired. It’s confirmation that we’re on to something.”

Next, Montgomery spoke about the work of New Profit. “We provide unrestricted funding and capacity support to social impact leaders. We were early investors and supporters of organizations like Teach for America and Girl Trek.”

In talking about the change in their approach during COVID, Montgomery shared, “We’ve accelerated the pace at which we made resources available to organizations and leaders. Partnering with groups like the Family Independent Initiative let us know the needs because of the relationships at the community level.”

“Proximity and relationships at the community level are critical to supporting and serving those that will benefit from the philanthropy.” – Tulaine Montgomery

New Profit was uniquely positioned to support communities, and Montgomery believes that’s because of proximity. “While there were well-intended funding initiatives from the government, many missed the market because of the lack of relationships at the community level.”

The pandemic has also created a shift in the relationship between social leaders and investors. “There was a broken loop in the space because the community, student, or entity that would benefit from the funding didn’t have any input. That’s changing some, and philanthropists are more accountable now to this.”

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