A Year-End Update on Blue Meridian Partners

by Nancy Roob
December 10, 2019

Dear friends and colleagues,

As we head into the final stretch of 2019, I want to take a moment to share an update on Blue Meridian Partners’ work and the three animating questions I noted back in February we would explore this year.

These questions focused on how we could: expand the array of solutions that boost economic mobility nationwide; help more organizations accelerate their readiness for rapid scaling; and collaborate with others in new and targeted ways to achieve our shared mission.

Today, we are at an exciting juncture: since our launch in 2016, we’ve developed an diverse portfolio of ten high-potential solutions addressing barriers to economic mobility for young people and families. As we grow, we’re seeing more opportunities to apply Blue Meridian’s investing approach and turn our lessons learned into new tools that harness greater resources and expand our impact. While our exploration of the animating questions (and more) is ongoing, we are delighted to make the following announcements:

First, I’m enormously pleased to welcome Jim Shelton to our team as Chief Investment and Impact Officer. As Entrepreneur-in-Residence over the last year, Jim has brought fresh perspective and leadership to our team as we sought to answer the above questions and deepen our commitment to racial equity and economic and social mobility.

In his new role, Jim will lead the expansion of Blue Meridian’s regional investment strategy and help us continue innovating our approach to increase the reach, impact, and influence of all of our investments. His deep multi-sector experience – along with his expertise at the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, and systems change – will significantly extend our collective capabilities to address social problems at scale.

Second, we are pleased to welcome new Partners into our fold. This year, Mackenzie Bezos and Arrow Impact joined our growing circle of General Partners and Impact Partners, respectively. We’re also thrilled The JPB Foundation increased its commitment to Blue Meridian and became a General Partner.

Third, we are excited to launch the Justice and Mobility Fund, in partnership with the Ford Foundation and with support from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, to boost economic mobility for people impacted by mass incarceration and the criminal justice system – especially youth and families of color who are disproportionately impacted.

This effort will apply Blue Meridian’s investment approach to unlock significant capital and back effective social sector leaders seeking to scale systems-changing strategies and interventions that shift the life trajectories of people adversely affected by the criminal justice system. We are just beginning this work and will report on our progress in the months to come.

We continue to look for ways to scale up Blue Meridian’s work so that more philanthropists can leverage our platform and more visionary leaders can access the capital they need to create lasting change for young people and families nationwide. In the months ahead we’ll begin to report on our progress across several priority areas, including:

  • Expanding our regional investment strategy, by building upon and applying lessons learned from promising place-based work already occurring nationwide, such as Blue Meridian’s first two regional investments in Tulsa, OK and Guilford County, NC;
  • Helping more leaders and organizations better prepare for scaling their impact and building a larger pipeline of scale-ready strategies;
  • Advancing a racial equity strategy that, among other things, creates better access for leaders of color in achieving effective capitalization of their work; and
  • Partnering with other leading aggregators and philanthropists to share experiences and work together towards building a more productive, equitable capital market.

As always, we are grateful for your support, and we look forward to sharing more exciting updates with you in the new year.

With sincere appreciation,
Nancy Roob signature
Nancy Roob

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