Venture Capital & Social Entrepreneurship


The venture capital community is highly philanthropic. NVCA Members are active in and/or financially support a variety of organizations that influence the social fabric of our local, national, and global communities.

Increasingly, we are seeing the same principles that have guided the venture capital industry for decades being applied to social entrepreneurial initiatives. These principles include: significant investment in the early stages of an organization in order to build a strong foundation, active board involvement, growth strategies based on clear milestones, and risk taking.

There are a growing number of organizations applying these principles to enhance their social impact. The organizations listed below all fit this description and we encourage NVCA Members and others to learn more about their efforts.


Venture Philanthropy Organizations Connectors
Impact Investors Regionally Focused Organizations
Non-Profits / Foundations Social Entrepreneur Organizations



Venture Philanthropy Organizations - investing in non-profits deploying a VC strategy

Acumen Fund – The Acumen Fund is working to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthrough ideas.

Ashoka - Ashoka strives to shape a global, entrepreneurial, competitive citizen sector: one that allows social entrepreneurs to thrive and enables the world’s citizens to think and act as changemakers.

Charter School Growth Fund - The Charter School Growth Fund is a non-profit that invests philanthropic capital in the nation’s highest performing charter school operators to dramatically expand their impact on underserved students.

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation – venture philanthropy group focused on early-stage, high impact, non-profit organizations.

Echoing Green FoundationEchoing Green’s mission is to unleash next generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems.

New Profit Inc. – New Profit Inc. is a national venture philanthropy fund that seeks to harness America's spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship to help solve our country's biggest social problems.

Skoll Foundation - Founded by Jeff Skoll, The Skoll Foundation drives large scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems.


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Impact Investors – investing in for-profit companies that have social impact potential

ACCION Venture Lab – Accion Venture Lab is an investment initiative that provides patient seed capital and support to innovative financial inclusion startups, fostering experimentation and promoting business models that improve financial access for the global underbanked.

City Light Capital – City Light Capital is a venture capital firm investing in USA based, high-growth companies dedicated to tackling some of society’s toughest challenges.

DBL Investors – DBL Investors invest in companies that can deliver top-tier venture capital returns and enable social, environmental and economic benefits.

Elevar Equity - Elevar capitalizes entrepreneurs who create global systems access for disconnected communities. Our entrepreneurs provide massively scalable essential services tailored explicitly to the needs of these community groups.

Gray Ghost Ventures - Built around our commitment to social impact investing, our investment portfolios seek to improve the lives of underserved people around world through sustainable business models.

New Schools Venture Fund - NewSchools is a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm working to transform public education for low-income children.

Omidyar Network - Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. We invest in and help scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change.

SJF Ventures - SJF Ventures invests in high growth, positive impact companies and focuses on the resource efficiency, sustainability and technology-enhanced services sectors. SJF believes companies can generate exceptional returns by creating disruptive solutions to some of the world’s greatest environmental and social problems.


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Non-Profits/Foundations with unique models that incorporate venture capital principles

Case Foundation – The purpose of The Case Foundation is to expand giving, promote everyday philanthropy, deepen civic engagement, and broaden the use of new technologies to make giving more informed, efficient, and effective.

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation - The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation seeks to transform the life trajectories of America’s most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged youth. They make large, long-term investments, frequently in partnership with other funders, and promote public and private support of programs with a potential for growth and compelling evidence that they can help more young people become successful adults.

Legacy Venture - Legacy is a unique organization tapping into the financial power of venture capital and combining it with an extensive philanthropic community. Legacy Venture is a fund-of-funds that invest in a select group of top venture capital funds. Legacy Venture’s investors donate all profits to philanthropic causes of their choice.

Morino Institute - The Morino Institute is a nonprofit organization that explores the opportunities and risks of the Internet and the New Economy to advance social change.


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Connectors – organizations that bring together impact investors with social entrepreneurs

1% of Nothing - We connect startups and founders to causes, where they can donate 1% of their equity, tying their own success to making major differences with those causes.

Entrepreneurs’ Foundation  - Entrepreneurs' Foundation brings the corporate sector and the social sector together to maximize social impact while creating value. (chapters in Silicon Valley, CA; Austin, TX; Boulder, CO; Concord, NH; Dallas, TX; Honolulu, HI; Portland, OR; Tel Aviv, Israel)

Global Impact Investing Network - The Global Impact Investing Network is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing.

Investors Circle – Investors Circle is the oldest, largest, and most successful early stage impact investing network in the world.

Social Enterprise Alliance - Social Enterprise Alliance is the membership organization for the diverse and rapidly growing social enterprise sector in North America.

Social Impact Exchange - The Social Impact Exchange is a national membership association dedicated to building a capital marketplace that scales proven solutions to improve the lives of millions.

Social Venture Partners International - Social Venture Partners (SVP) brings together worlds that typically do not overlap: grant making, volunteerism, nonprofit capacity building, and philanthropic education. Every SVP is a network of engaged philanthropists who believe that they can have a positive impact on their communities and who use innovative strategies to address complex social issues. (chapters throughout the U.S. and in select countries)


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Regionally Focused Organizations

Northern CA:

Full Circle Fund - An active philanthropic network of Members in the San Francisco Bay Area who partner with social entrepreneurs to advance innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems.

Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2) - SV2 is a partnership for giving where “partners” pool annual contributions in order to make bigger and a more meaningful impact than any could make on their own.


Venture Philanthropy Partners - Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) is a philanthropic investment organization that helps great leaders build strong, high-performing nonprofit institutions. It concentrates money, expertise, and personal contacts to improve the lives and boost the opportunities of children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region.


JumpStart – JumpStart is a nationally recognized non-profit accelerating the success of diverse entrepreneurs, their high growth companies, and the ecosystems supporting them.

New England:

Technology Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG) - TUGG is dedicated to catalyzing and spreading social entrepreneurship in New England. By harnessing the power of the region’s technology ecosystem to source, screen and fund social innovation, TUGG helps young people to realize their full potential through entrepreneurship, education and life experiences.


European Venture Philanthropy Network - EVPA is a membership association made up of organisations interested in or practicing venture philanthropy and social investment across Europe.


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Social Entrepreneur Organizations with existing venture capital support/involvement – Benetech creates new technology solutions that serve humanity and empower people to improve their lives. (J. Leighton Read, M.D.)

BizWorld Foundation -  BizWorld is a non-profit that inspires children to be innovative leaders through the teaching of business, entrepreneurship and finance. (Tim Draper)

Draper University - Draper University is a unique school for entrepreneurs. Draper U takes creative innovators who want to change the world and turns them into heroes. (Tim Draper) - Endeavor helps high-impact entrepreneurs unleash their potential by providing an unrivaled network of seasoned business leaders, who provide the key ingredients to entrepreneurial success: Mentorship; Networks; Strategic Advice; and Inspiration. (Jason Green, Reid Hoffman, Nick Beim) – Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. (Reid Hoffman)

Grassroot Soccer - Grassroot Soccer uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV. (Tom Crotty, Matt Rightmire)


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