Applying the principles of social entrepreneurship, the Lever Fund’s nonprofit investees are redefining what it means to serve low-income DMV residents effectively and efficiently.
Since 2016, the Lever Fund has made four investments in high-performance, high-impact DMV nonprofits—in Northern Virginia, the District, and Maryland—for a total of $100,000:
- Northern Virginia:
- District of Columbia:
- Washington Parks & People Green Corps Program, $25,000; see Lever Fund analysis here. Watch the trailer for City of Trees, the award-winning film about Washington Parks & People.
- BUILD's program at Friendship Tech, $20,000; see Lever Fund analysis here. And watch a video produced by the NCTA Foundation.
In selecting our first nonprofit investees—as we do with all of our investees—we focused on:
- Financial sustainability
Under our methodology, we gauge the effectiveness of our investees in terms of benefit-cost ratios that capture the dollar value of specific, measurable outcomes made possible by our investments.
For example, a 19:1 benefit-cost ratio—as in the case of Washington Parks & People’s Green Corps Program—indicates that for every dollar invested, 19 dollars of value are generated to the benefit of program participants (typically captured in a projected earnings boost over a 10-year period).
Informing Our Investors
In our fight against poverty, we seek the partnership of entrepreneurial, community-minded investors who embrace our new brand of philanthropy—who are weary of business as usual in the nonprofit sector; who recognize the need for the application of sound business principles in service to social change; and who demand results.
Toward that end, we’ve provided links above to the summary analyses we’ve prepared for each of our investees. These analyses, along with our investment agreements with our investees, establish the benchmarks on which we will base our evaluation of each investee’s performance during the investment period.