Announcement, News, Press Release

GreenLight Fund Announces the Closing of its $5.6M American New Cities Fund

Nov 21, 2019


The $5.6M American New Cities Fund positions GreenLight for national growth, supporting the launch of six new cities, growth infrastructure and operational excellence enabling GreenLight to dramatically increase impact.

Boston, MA – November 21, 2019 – The GreenLight Fund today announced the close of its American New Cities Fund, supporting the strategic growth plan of the nonprofit organization. The $5.6M Fund, with support from more than 25 national philanthropic investors, will enable GreenLight to scale to 12 cities by 2022, on its way to a powerful national network of 30-40 sites accelerating the spread of proven programs and providing a local, community-driven tool designed to make lasting change for children, youth and families.

“Inequality is a systemic, structural crisis in the United States—and it manifests in compounding ways across our communities. GreenLight and the American New Cities Fund are crucially engaging to address the root causes—not just the symptoms—of inequality at a local level by empowering community leaders with tailored, evidence-based solutions to their respective challenges,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.

Tim Palmer, a GreenLight Fund Board member, Co-chair of and investor in the American New Cities Fund and Senior Advisor of Charlesbank Capital Partners, LLC added, “I know of no other philanthropy that is focused entirely on the task of helping great social ideas get pulled successfully from one city to another where they are needed. This is essential for the spread of the best ideas, skills, and services. GreenLight’s rapid growth to new cities demonstrates the success and excitement this idea has with communities, residents, and philanthropists.”

GreenLight implements a local annual process, the GreenLight Method, in each GreenLight city each year. Working to support opportunities for families to move out of poverty and up the economic ladder, each local GreenLight executive director partners with their community’s leaders to identify the city’s highest priority unmet need, search the country for the best, evidenced-based, proven solution addressing that need and invest in the expansion of that program to their city. The GreenLight Method has been used to address and find solutions for a wide variety of issues since 2004 including early childhood literacy, college access and persistence, teacher effectiveness, poor health outcomes, family economic mobility, and youth aging out of foster care. This community-driven process is critical to building a national network of cities addressing local needs with best-in-class solutions while collectively accelerating the spread of nonprofit solutions with proven results.

The American New Cities Fund, co-chaired by Tom and Gayané Ebling, Tim and Lynne Palmer and John and Susan Simon, includes the following investors: the 2040 Foundation, Anonymous, The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Tim Barberich and Eileen Gebrian, The Burkehaven Family Foundation, Germaine and Michael Choe, The Deshpande Foundation, Mike and Debbie Dickerson, Tom and Gayané Ebling, the Ford Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives recommended by Stephanie Cohen and Erik Glover, Hearst Foundations, Bob Higgins, iHeartMedia, Cynthia and Andrew Janower, Stephen Kaufer and Lisa Howe, Marc and Donna Kozin, Mark and Becky Levin, Lewis Family Foundation, The Lovett-Woodsum Foundation, Kirsten and Craig Nevill-Manning, Tim and Lynne Palmer, The Reeder Foundation, Mark and Etta Rosen, John and Sue Simon, Rob Small and Dr. Christine Olsen, Brian and Stephanie Spector, Jim and Margaret Wade, and Larry and Gayle Wieseneck.

Kerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, has been involved in GreenLight from its early stages, “We’ve partnered with GreenLight nationally and in local communities across the country in order to advance economic mobility and move individuals and families out of poverty. We’re thrilled to recognize this milestone for GreenLight and look forward to seeing the GreenLight network continue to grow and create impact.”

Tom Ebling, GreenLight Fund Board member, American New Cities Fund Co-chair and investor is thrilled with the support this fund has received. “With the track record GreenLight has already established in cities across the country, this national fund creates the opportunity to take the next fundamental step towards country-wide impact, rapidly spreading programs that work, creating life-changing opportunities for children, youth and families.”

As part of the American New Cities Fund, iHeartMedia is providing brand-building and call-‎to-action in-kind support for GreenLight and its portfolio organizations nationally and locally across current and expansion sites.

John Simon, Co-founder and Board Chair of GreenLight Fund and American New Cities Fund investor is grateful for iHeartMedia’s support, “As we grow our network to reach millions of children and families in low-income communities with innovative, proven programs, the partnership with iHeartMedia provides GreenLight with the much-needed platform to share our story and impact.”

Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia CEO, is enthusiastic about the partnership, “Everyone should know about the tremendous impact GreenLight and its portfolio organizations are having and we are thrilled to offer our support. With iHeartRadio stations across the country, we have the unique ability to spread the word about the solutions being brought to our cities and provide a vehicle for more people in the community to get involved.”

“After seeing the results GreenLight has already had, this innovative model should be explored for all of our cities,” said Stephanie Cohen, Chief Strategy Officer at Goldman Sachs, who recommended the donation to the firm’s donor-advised fund, Goldman Sachs Gives. “We are excited to help GreenLight spread this successful approach to more cities across the country where it can be applied in partnership with local leaders to address long term challenges in under-resourced communities and create meaningful change.”

In the past year, GreenLight’s 27 portfolio organizations reached more than 110,000 children and families across six cities with their innovative, replicable and effective programs. In addition to the nearly $20M GreenLight has invested, GreenLight’s commitment to these organizations has also leveraged an additional $107.6M of private and public investment supporting the sustainability of solutions that are making a difference in local communities. With eight GreenLight sites already funding the expansion of programs with demonstrated and scalable impact, GreenLight is on track to grow its network to 12 cities by 2022 and exponentially expand its reach to children and families by 2030.

Margaret Hall, Co-founder and CEO shares how the fund will accelerate scaling, “Local dollars raised in a GreenLight city stay in that city, funding the multi-year investments in portfolio organizations impacting the local community. We are grateful for the American New Cities Fund which enables the organization to invest in the infrastructure, strategic scaffolding and operational excellence needed to most effectively support the work in each of our current cities as well as scope, launch and support our next four cities.”

Commenting on the announcement, new GreenLight Fund investors Lisa Howe and Stephen Kaufer said, “GreenLight’s model really aligned with our philanthropic goals. To take innovative programs that work from across the country and make them available everywhere they are needed – imagine the impact that can have for future generations.”

Craig Nevill-Manning, Head of Engineering at Sidewalk Labs, added, “Kirsten and I are excited to invest in GreenLight Fund’s vision of bringing approaches that have been proven effective to low-income communities where economic mobility solutions are needed. GreenLight’s unique model identifies gaps and finds the best solutions that are already out there. They help those programs scale to more cities, making a difference for more families and strengthening communities.”