Economic inequality is one of the most urgent problems that we face in America today. We see its effects in so many aspects of society:
- There are still significant wage gaps between men and women, particularly women of color. According to the U.S. Census, women employed full-time in the United States lose a combined total of more than $956 billion every year due to the gender wage gap.
- Wealth is vastly unequally distributed across the United States. The typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family. These disparities are alarming. Too many families are vulnerable and left with limited financial opportunities when a crisis strikes, which we saw play out during COVID.
- The percentage of venture capital dollars going to women-founded companies has barely budged in the last decade, and the numbers are even worse for Black and Latinx founders.
- Centuries of discriminatory federal and state policies have tilted the playing field, and those with power and wealth remain on top.
We believe that an economy that favors some more than others holds us all back. That's why we're focused on accelerating transformational solutions to economic inequality in the U.S. From an affordable benefits marketplace for microbusinesses to equity audit software that identifies systemic racism in government spending, we're committed to elevating solutions that increase wealth in the near term while building towards a long-term vision to address the root causes themselves.
With your support, we can accelerate a second cohort of ventures tackling economic inequality in early 2022. All donations go directly to providing early-stage ventures with unrestricted capital, connections to world-class mentors, mental health resources, and other curated supports.
Meet the inaugural Economic Inequality Initiative cohort of ventures
In September, we announced our first cohort of ten ventures closing wealth gaps in the U.S. through education, housing, small business assistance, financial literacy, and policy advocacy. Meet the cohort:
- Empleo Benefits (Denver, CO): Traditional workplace benefits leave behind millions of workers of color who earn low wages and work non-traditional roles. Empleo Benefits is a marketplace platform that provides non-insured benefits, childcare services, and a subscription to primary care providers to microbusinesses.
- Family & Friends Fund (Fort Wayne, IN): Over $87 billion in charitable assets are sitting idle in Donor Advised Funds (DAFs), waiting to be deployed. Friends & Family Fund is redistributing power from wealthy donors into the community by appointing leaders of color from the community to make grants from a DAF.
- Kings Crown Kings (New Haven, CT): In 2019, almost 700,000 children were arrested in the U.S., cutting them off from their families, disrupting their education, and exposing them to trauma. Kings Crown Kings helps young people build emotional and intellectual capacities through community, economic, and policy capacity-building programs to prevent involvement with the justice system.
- Level (Washington, D.C.): Personal networks are often vital in finding jobs, developing careers, accessing resources, and expanding worldviews. Unfortunately, most personal networks are racially homogeneous in the U.S. Level is building a powerful multiracial community of women tackling the racial wealth gap by investing money and expertise in Black women entrepreneurs.
- Living Wage for U.S. (Sleepy Hollow, NY): Over 40% of workers in the U.S. earn less than $15 per hour, making it impossible for many to afford their basic needs like healthy food and shelter. Living wage for U.S. advocates for living wages through narrative change and enables employers to overcome barriers by creating incentives to pay living wages that afford a decent quality of life for working families.
- Missouri Workers Center (St. Louis, MO): The minimum wage in the U.S. has not increased since 2009, and the annual earnings of warehouse workers in Missouri have fallen almost $9,300 during the same period. The Missouri Workers Center is organizing a committee of low-wage workers in Missouri to increase worker pay and advance policy change through training, leadership development, and education.
- New Movement to Redress Racial Segregation (Oakland, CA): Racial segregation created long-lasting consequences that persist today, like inequalities in wealth, income, economic mobility, and more. The New Movement to Redress Racial Segregation offers Americans of all identities and backgrounds the opportunity to begin a journey of repair by coming together to take action to redress the harms of segregation.
- Pie for Providers (Chicago, IL): There are billions of subsidy dollars unclaimed by child care providers every year in the U.S. Pie for Providers develops software that automates government child care subsidies, unlocking billions of dollars for a majority of women-owned and operated providers.
- Race Against Injustice Now (RAIN) (Gadsden, AL): Over 27% of Gadsden, Alabama, and other segregated towns in the rural south live well below the poverty line. The Race Against Injustice Now (RAIN) empowers and invests in impoverished and BIPOC communities of the Northeast Alabama Region through mutual aid programs, mentorship, community outreach programs, and civic engagement.
- Thrive! (Washington, D.C.): In many cities throughout the U.S., communities of color are under-funded and experience significant barriers to government resources. Thrive! has developed equity audit software that uses 80+ measures to identify systemic racism in government spending. Using the results of the equity audit as a guidepost, Thrive! recommends shifts to spending on programs that work to advance equity and economic mobility.
You can read more about their work and the first economic inequality initiative accelerator program here.
What types of ventures does Uncharted support?
We're incorporation agnostic, meaning that we work with all types of people and organizations. Individuals, nonprofits, for-profits, and hybrid companies are welcome to apply to our programs.
How does Uncharted help ventures?
Our team focuses on helping our ventures accomplish three key objectives:
- Clarity about mission, vision, team, and strategic plan. We help with customized workshops, executive coaching services, free and reduced-cost legal services, and mental wellness resources.
- Connections to a community of peers, world-class mentors, and ecosystem partners.
- Capital to take operations to the next level, including $50k grants and access to financial advisors.
Do ventures pay to participate in Uncharted's programs?
Nope! Participation in this program is free, thanks to generous donors (like yourself!) in our network. And unlike some of our peers, Uncharted does not require equity or a percentage of ventures' future profits.
What do you mean by "early-stage"?
Early-stage means that the product or service has been validated with beneficiaries, funders, or partners. Perhaps the entrepreneur has created a prototype, launched a pilot program, built an audience online, or raised small amounts of money from friends and family.
How will my donation be used?
Your gift will go directly to accelerating ventures in our next Economic Inequality Initiative cohort, which kicks off early 2022.
What impact will my gift have?
For every $1 you donate, our portfolio ventures will generate $8.12 within two years that they attribute directly to Uncharted's support.
Uncharted is a social impact accelerator that supports early-stage ventures tackling economic inequality in America. Our programs are fixed-term, cohort-based, and mentorship-driven. They are open to social ventures, nonprofits, movement builders, advocacy organizations, coalitions, and hybrid models.
Our results are exponential—for every $1 in funding we receive, our ventures generate $8.12 within two years, funding that they attribute directly to Uncharted's support. For over ten years, we've backed early-stage ventures with audacious goals. Equipping them to challenge the status quo is what we do best.