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 these young people and their families face 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 security, social sector leaders do not have 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 national scale.
Nonprofit leaders need capital to scale up their programs, and there are philanthropists ready and willing to invest in them. Unfortunately, the market for social sector investment lacks sufficient infrastructure, which means 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
Solutions exist to the challenges that trap young Americans and families in poverty. But even the most promising solutions cannot reach far enough, fast enough without significant, long-term investment—the kind that that no one investor can take on by themselves.
Blue Meridian unlocks substantial philanthropic capital and invests it in visionary social sector leaders so they can look to the long term and dramatically amplify their reach and influence. We provide significant, flexible capital to allow leaders to expand evidence-based solutions that target the key drivers of poverty. Within each of our five portfolios, we invest in scaling nationwide and place-based impact that provides pathways out of poverty for young people and families. We believe our pioneering approach offers new opportunities for three key stakeholders.
Young People & Families
We recognize that the causes and drivers of poverty are complex and multifaceted; there is no single intervention that can help young people and families access economic opportunity. We invest across domains in order to provide varied supports to assist young people and families at different ages or stages of life and help them overcome barriers to economic mobility.
Social Sector Leaders
We empower visionary leaders with evidence-based strategies to aim higher, think bigger and achieve greater impact. We trust the ideas and instincts of social sector leaders to know what is needed for the communities and people they serve. To propel their efforts, Blue Meridian provides investments that are right-sized, long-terms, and flexible, so that these leaders can meet the scale of the problem they address with adequate resources.
We partner with investors to pool their philanthropic resources and invest more effectively and efficiently than any of us could alone. This model unlocks the flow of large sums of capital aimed at boosting economic mobility – we make strategic, long-term investments of $100 million or more in each initiative – and investors share the costs, risks and successes.
Blue Meridian finds and funds scalable solutions to the problems that trap 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 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.