New Coalition Assembled by Upstart Co-Lab Will Bring Together $1 Billion of Impact Investing Capacity for the Creative Economy

Upstart Co-Lab, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, has launched a new coalition, representing $1 billion of impact investing capacity supporting the creative economy. The Member Community includes ten cultural institutions, foundations, and private individual members—Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, BRIC, Creative Capital, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Souls Grown Deep, Martha J. Fleischman, Neil Hamamoto, and Lorrie Meyercord, plus two anonymous members—each of whom have made a three-year commitment to impact investing in the creative economy. Working individually with coalition members, Upstart Co-Lab provides educational resources, sourcing and screening investment opportunities, analyzing the financial performance and social impact of investments, and identifying and tracking trends in the creative economy. Members also have access to Upstart Co-Lab’s proprietary pipeline of more than 150 investment opportunities in sustainable food, ethical fashion, social impact media, creative places and other creative industries and benefit from collective learning opportunities and due diligence support.

Since its formation in 2015, Upstart Co-Lab has been dedicated to connecting the $12 trillion of socially responsible and impact investing capital in the U.S. to the $878-billion U.S. creative economy. Upstart Co-Lab has already mobilized more than $11 million of impact capital for the creative economy, including working with the Local Initiative Support Corporation to close the $6.2 million NYC Inclusive Creative Economy Fund, and generated significant new research on the role impact investing plays in strengthening inclusive creative communities, publishing a report reviewing 100 funds with $60 billion of aggregate assets that have been investing in the creative economy over the past 5 years. Recognized as a sector leader, Upstart Co-Lab has initiated the Member Community to demonstrate how investing directly in businesses and real estate projects in the creative economy can drive deep social and environmental impact.

“This group of passionate pioneers are our chief partners in establishing the creative economy as the next priority of impact investors,” said Laura Callanan, Founding Partner of Upstart Co-Lab. “Our Members push us by asking the practical questions all investors ask, anchored in a deep understanding of the power art, design, culture, heritage, and creativity have to drive positive environmental and social change. They are our evangelists and ambassadors as Upstart Co-Lab works to build both supply and demand for impact capital throughout the creative economy.”

The Upstart Co-Lab Member Community will continue to expand its coalition for up to a total of twelve members. Additional philanthropic support for the Member Community is provided by the Compton Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the David Rockefeller Fund.

“Art and culture have been largely overlooked by impact investors before now,” said Darren Walker, President of Ford Foundation. “The leadership of the Upstart Co-Lab Member Community to close this gap comes at a moment when the creative economy has a critical role to play in an equitable COVID-19 economic recovery and needs values-aligned capital more than ever.”

Upstart Co-Lab advisory board member Jed Emerson, founder of Blended Value Group, observed, “All the priorities impact investors focus on—environmental sustainability, strong communities, good working conditions, gender equity—can be achieved by investing through the creative economy. Already more than 4.5% of U.S. GDP and growing, the time is now to shape the creative economy to be more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable through the presence of capital that represents those values.”

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