In the United States, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, one in five young people lives in poverty. This statistic — which encompasses some 15 million people — has barely shifted over the last decade. At the same time, the national rate of upward mobility has dropped by 40% over the past 50 years. Only half of America’s children will earn more than their parents, perpetuating the cycle of intergenerational poverty for those who start at the bottom of the economic ladder. The challenges faced by these young people and their families are massive, complex, and persistent.
Young People & Families
To ignore multi-generational poverty is to undermine our nation’s future. Although solutions exist today that put people on the path to economic opportunity, social sector leaders lack access to the capital necessary to expand these solutions to a scale big enough to move the needle on the complex drivers of poverty affecting young people and families.
Social Sector Leaders
Visionary leaders with evidence-based programs are making a meaningful difference in the lives of young people and families across the country. But without robust growth capital or any market incentive to think big and bold, they cannot deliver their strategies at a significant scale.
Nonprofit leaders need capital to scale up their programs, and there are philanthropists ready and willing to invest in their work. Unfortunately, the market for social sector investment lacks sufficient, existing infrastructure, meaning many philanthropists have no efficient means to deploy large amounts of capital toward high-impact solutions that are ready to scale.
Why We Do This Work
Blue Meridian Partners seeks to transform the life trajectories of young people and families in poverty.Learn More About Our Mission
Blue Meridian’s Pioneering Solution
Solutions to the challenges that limit economic and social mobility for young people and families living in poverty do exist. But even the most promising solutions cannot reach far enough, fast enough without significant, long-term investment – the kind that that no single investor can take on alone.
Blue Meridian Partners’ collaborative model unlocks substantial philanthropic capital and invests it in social sector leaders so they can expand the impact, influence, and reach of their strategies. Across our five portfolios, we make flexible, right-sized investments in both national and place-based solutions to amplify impact across the country while addressing problems specific to targeted communities.
Core to our work is tackling systemic inequities that both hinder opportunity for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other communities of color and limit the flow of capital to social sector leaders of color. We believe our pioneering approach offers value for three key stakeholders.
Young People & Families
We recognize that the causes and drivers of poverty are complex and often intersect. There is no single intervention that can help all young people and families access economic opportunity. Hence, we invest in a mix of strategies that help ensure individuals reach key success milestones from cradle to career and overcome challenges that create barriers to opportunity.
Social Sector Leaders
We empower visionary leaders with evidence-based strategies to vastly expand their impact, influence, and reach. We trust social sector leaders to know what is needed for the communities and people they serve. Therefore, we provide right-sized, flexible capital so that social sector leaders can focus on vision and execution, rather than chasing the next grant. Beyond dollars, we provide capacity- and evidence-building support as well as strategic advice.
By pooling resources, our Partners invest more efficiently and effectively than anyone could alone, while sharing the costs, risks, and successes. We provide Partners with best-in-class expertise, including rigorous sourcing and due diligence on a steady flow of investment opportunities and regular performance reporting. Through their interactions with our management team, investee leaders, and each other, Partners engage in a dynamic learning community.
Blue Meridian: Connections – Pioneering a New Philanthropic Model
Blue Meridian finds and funds scalable solutions to the problems that limit economic and social mobility for young people and families in poverty. For over two decades, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation – and now Blue Meridian Partners – have tested and refined a broadly applicable approach for pooling and investing philanthropic capital.
The initial phase is used to scout organizations and tap a variety of sources to discover successful leaders and innovative strategies. We rigorously vet prospects against our six selection criteria to maintain an active pipeline of potential investments.
The decision to begin the due diligence process includes an assessment of every aspect of an organization, from operations and current finances to program quality and future potential. Central to the analysis is how a major infusion of philanthropic capital could drive growth and have a systemic effect on a national social problem.
Planning and Initial Investment
Initial 1- to 2-year grants help organizations develop Scaling Plans and prepare for the larger challenge of rapid growth and greater impact. These Scaling Plans serve as blueprints for growth with quality and are used as the basis for structuring investments.
These large, phased, performance-based investments may involve commitments of up to $200 million over 10-12 years. These investments are approved in 2- to 5-year phases with annual payout based on meeting performance milestones.
The work doesn’t end with the financial investment. Each investee is also paired with a Managing Director who provides strategic counsel to the CEO and board. Performance is monitored and reported quarterly to the Partners.