Seventeen Organizations Awarded $1.6 Million to Support Entrepreneurship and Innovation across the United States
New York, February 7, 2014 – The Blackstone Charitable Foundation today announced that it has awarded grants totaling $1.6 million to seventeen non-profit organizations. The grants were made through the Blackstone Organizational Grants Program, an annual program targeting organizations that focus on fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, now in its second year. Through this program, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is helping innovative organizations pilot, expand or replicate projects or programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries, and communities in their regions.
“We are proud to be able to provide this year’s grant recipients with the resources they need to expand the reach of their programs both within their regions and beyond,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “As we continue to focus on building a robust network of entrepreneurial activity across the nation and globally, we are pleased to extend funding to this year’s recipients, who have shown immense potential and innovation in the area of entrepreneurship.”
The grantees were selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process established by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation as part of its five-year, $50 million Entrepreneurship Initiative. Over five hundred organizations submitted proposals, of which the top seventeen were selected to receive grants. This year’s funding was granted to eleven new organizations and six organizations from last year’s pool of winners. The reach of the grantees’ programming extends across eleven U.S. states, Washington, D.C., South America, the Middle East and North Africa. The seventeen organizations were selected by a committee of Blackstone employees and subsequently approved by the board of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
The grant recipients are:
Continuing Organizational Grant Recipients
The Idea Village, Inc. (New Orleans, LA), $70,000 - Our funding will allow The Idea Village, an organization that identifies, supports, and retains talent in New Orleans, to further scale the services and resources it provides during its Entrepreneurship Season by updating its website and creating an online community for the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Launch Tennessee (Nashville, TN), $100,000 - Our funding will allow Launch Tennessee, an organization that promotes entrepreneurship, fosters the commercialization of technologies, and raises the profile of the state, to pilot a program that will recruit “specialists” from universities to provide support to existing accelerator teams in critical areas such as coding, application development, and market research.
Moneythink (Chicago, IL), $50,000 - Our funding will allow Moneythink, an organization that trains college volunteers to mentor youth in low-income communities, to scale its entrepreneurship program to Los Angeles and New England by hiring a Chief Innovation Officer to expand its technology system.
One Hen, Inc. (Boston, MA), $100,000 - Our funding will allow One Hen, an organization that teaches entrepreneurship to elementary school children, to strengthen its online student entrepreneurial community by building the open source Blackstone Charitable Foundation Youth Entrepreneurship Resource Library on its new website.
Tumml (San Francisco, CA), $80,000 - Our funding will provide Tumml, an urban impact accelerator supporting early stage companies developing innovative consumer products and services, with resources to expand their website, create research and reports, and host events and a conference for leaders in the urban impact space.
Venture for America (New York, NY), $100,000 - Our funding will allow Venture for America (VFA), an organization that recruits fellows to work for two years at emerging start-ups in lower-cost cities, to build the VFA Accelerator, a business plan development curriculum and training for its 2012 and 2013 fellows.
New Organizational Grant Recipients
The Aspen Institute (Washington, DC), $125,000 - Our funding will allow the Aspen Institute’s Partners for a New Beginning, a program that advances economic opportunity in the Middle East and North Africa in the areas of entrepreneurship, education and innovation, to host a week-long delegation in New York City and San Francisco/Silicon Valley in October 2014 that will bring together seasoned US and Middle Eastern and North African entrepreneurs.
BioSTL (St. Louis, MO), $100,000 - Our funding will allow BioSTL, an organization that seeks to advance regional prosperity in St. Louis, to expand the scope of its Bioscience Inclusion Initiative by identifying high-potential women and minority bioscience entrepreneurs and providing a systematic pathway for them to create viable high-growth ventures.
Businesses United in Investing, Lending, and Development (BUILD; Redwood City, CA), $100,000 - Our funding will allow BUILD, an organization that teaches entrepreneurship to propel high-risk students to college success, to launch the Blackstone School-Based Innovation Incubator program at two schools in Washington, DC to pilot this program to expand entrepreneurship opportunities for disadvantaged students.
Centre for Social Innovation (CSI; New York, NY), $100,000 - Our funding will allow the Centre for Social Innovation, a workspace that supports a board range of start-up activities for social entrepreneurs, to replicate their successful Toronto program in New York City and connect entrepreneurs to subject matter experts across a wide range of topics and professionals service areas.
Launch NY (Buffalo, NY), $125,000 - Our funding will allow Launch NY, a collaboration of major economic development organizations in upstate New York that support high-growth, high-impact companies, to develop the Launch NY Entrepreneur Institute, a program that will strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem by expanding the reach of resources and services available in upstate New York.
Nonprofit Enterprise and Self-Sustainability Team (NESsT; San Francisco, CA), $150,000 - Our funding will allow NESsT, an organization that supports enterprises serving vulnerable communities to replicate its successful University Social Entrepreneurship Program in Peru to Brazil. This program will incubate a pipeline of high-impact social businesses in partnership with universities and their student entrepreneurs.
Points of Light (Atlanta, GA), $100,000 - Our funding will allow Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator (“CivicX”), a national program that inspires, equips and mobilizes entrepreneurs, to pilot a regionally-focused accelerator in Atlanta, Georgia.
Rice University (Houston, TX), $50,000 - Our funding will allow the Rice University Startup Accelerator, OwlSpark, to launch the National University Accelerator Network, which will connect university-based accelerators, share best practices, link university-based startups and mentor and investor networks across the country.
Telluride Venture Accelerator (Telluride, CO), $100,000 - Our funding will allow the Telluride Foundation’s Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), a program that invests human and financial capital in innovative enterprises in the Telluride area, to scale the program to include more companies and expand its mentor network.
UP Global (Seattle, WA), $100,000 - Our funding will allow UP Global’s Startup Weekend, a global organization dedicated to providing resources and programs to entrepreneurs, to support “Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship” events, activities, and a marketing campaign across the country.
University of California Hastings: Startup Legal Garage (San Francisco, CA), $100,000 - Our funding will allow UC Hasting College’s Institute for Innovation Law to create a program that will allow law students to provide free legal support and services to technology entrepreneurs in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, focusing on traditionally underserved minority and female technology entrepreneurs.
About The Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of The Blackstone Group’s Initial Public Offering in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas hardest hit by the global economic crisis. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. (For more information, see