Los Angeles, California & Minneapolis, Minnesota
Focus Areas: College Success, Career Readiness
How do PRIs fit into your foundation’s strategy?
PRIs complement our foundation’s traditional grantmaking strategy and allow us to unlock a wider spectrum of investment tools, including recoverable grants, loans, deposits, equity, and guarantees, among others to fund innovative and scalable solutions that improve educational and career outcomes among students from underserved communities. Education Innovation Ventures (EIV) is the formal program we launched in March 2018. Under EIV, we can make PRIs to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that are creatively solving problems related to inequity in education.
Why does your foundation use PRIs?
The decision to include PRIs in our set of funding tools was borne from the frustration that we felt about education and skills gaps, and our desire to expand our channels in providing more of a solution to this issue. While grants play an important role in addressing problems in higher education, they aren't enough. In theory, the financial returns from PRIs could be recycled in perpetuity, leading to unprecedented impact.
Why did your foundation open a Venn Account?
ECMC Foundation was attracted to Venn Foundation’s model for a number of reasons. First, Venn allows for efficient PRI syndication, which means that many different donors and foundations can easily join together to fund the same PRI without having to repeat all of the legal and operational work. If/when the PRI provides financial returns, each donor receives their proportional share back into their own Venn Account, and each donor can then re-recommend to Venn Foundation what to do with those returns. Additionally, ECMC Foundation is excited to leverage Venn’s unique expertise on PRIs as well as its broader pipeline of PRI opportunities.