Next Level Social Impact: Partnering for Social and Economic Justice

October 2020 | 3 min read

Our founding team shares its vision for collaboration, impact, and change for people and communities in greater Boston.

The last few months have tested our collective patience, determination, resilience, and ability to come together as a community in greater Boston and as Americans. The need, and the need for change, has never been clearer. As we look to the end of 2020 and the promise of 2021, our team’s dedication to meaningful progress is strong. We envision a “new normal” that is more equitable and just. We will work tirelessly for change.

Two years ago when we first set out to create a new and innovative venture philanthropy fund, we couldn’t have predicted today’s current climate. At the end of 2018 we did, however, see a clear picture of the problem: In Boston, the median income of black individuals is $29,000 while it is $51,000 for their white neighbors. Statewide 71% of low-income students are not reading proficiently by third grade. Massachusetts has the highest share of college degrees in the country, but 74% of those college degree earners are white compared to 9% Black and 6% Latinx. We could go on with dozens more sobering statistics.

In recent months, as Next Level has been ramping up our efforts, we have been humbled by and grateful for the resiliency and commitment greater Boston’s nonprofit and philanthropic leaders have shown at this historic moment in time of hope coupled with resounding needs and challenges.

For us, formulating our vision for impact started with listening and learning to understand how we could best add value to the local philanthropic and nonprofit ecosystem. Listening intently in order to determine where our efforts could complement current initiatives, we quickly saw a great need for venture philanthropy focused on organizations with proven records of success who are looking to grow their impact through scale at the local level.

We have been grateful for the support of our partners and advisors, all of whom have helped reinforce our confidence that Next Level’s model of providing multi-year general operating support, expert counsel, and social capital to a small portfolio of organizations that have the potential, and need the assistance venture philanthropy can provide, is a currently missing piece of the local ecosystem .We were shocked to learn that of the 30,000 nonprofits in Massachusetts, nearly 75% operate with annual budgets of under a million dollars. Nonprofits beyond the startup phase looking to grow their budgets need support from committed partners.

We are inspired by current efforts to fight for social, economic, and racial justice. Next Level is committed to collaborating with others to maximize our value-added contribution. We will continue to listen intently as we ramp our efforts at this unique moment in time heading into 2021. If you are interested in working together, please reach out through this form.