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Gateway to Life

Gateway to Life

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Gateway to Life (GTL) is an initiative of Kingdom Apostolic Ministries and the Northeast Indianapolis Community Service Corporation that seeks to increase the social mobility of at least 1,000 residents of the Near Eastside of Indianapolis by 2025 through holistic community development. Recognizing the interconnected nature of inequalities affecting Black Americans, GTL is taking a multifaceted approach to simultaneously address housing, health, education, financial literacy, and job access in three Indianapolis zip codes.

GTL and Black and White Investments (BWI), a Black-owned real estate development company, have secured $45 million in financing and tax credits to redevelop 249 affordable housing units and are seeking an additional $3 million in a low-interest impact investment to close the funding gap.

$34,474

Annual household income
to afford a two-bedroom
rental in Indianapolis

249

Apartments that Gateway
to Life will renovate
into affordable units

1,000

Lives improved by 2025
through GTL’s holistic
community development model

Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr. |
NICSC Founder and CEO

Terry Morris |
NICSC Chief Operating Officer

Gary Hobbs |
BWI, LLC Chief Executive Officer

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Impact Stories

COhatch brings redemptive Community Town Hall 2.0 concept to Tampa/St. Pete

COhatch brings redemptive Community Town Hall 2.0 to Tampa/St. Pete

The Highlights

  • $2M expansion in 2021-22
  • Initial locations in St. Pete, Lakeland, and West Tampa
  • Creating community, supporting nonprofits, and multiplying impact
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Impact Stories

World Shoe Program

The Power of Venture Philanthropy in the World Shoe Fund

A Systems Approach to Solving Problems

As societal awareness concerning pressing challenges such as climate change, socioeconomic disparities, and civil unrest has grown, there has been a corresponding recognition of the necessity for a paradigm shift in the way these issues are addressed. It has become evident that resolving these complex challenges requires moving away from fragmented and narrowly focused efforts. Instead, a systems-level approach must be employed, recognizing the interconnected nature of these problems.

Historically, the conventional method of addressing social issues involved, in part, providing philanthropic grants to non-profit organizations. While these entities play a crucial role in instigating change, their impact is limited. Their reliance on grant funding renders their efforts unsustainable. They often struggle to tackle root causes and system-level issues, instead narrowly providing temporary solutions, akin to band-aids rather than comprehensive remedies. In response to these limitations, venture philanthropy has emerged as a burgeoning global movement. This approach seeks to address the underlying causes that traditional philanthropy may not effectively access.

Dr. Josh Yates of Belmont University has spoken on the powerful benefits of a venture philanthropy approach. He notes, “Viewing this on a continuum of capital, venture philanthropy extends the toolkit from grant-making and output-only activities to other revenue-generating activities that generate social impact.”

In the capital continuum, venture philanthropy bridges traditional grantmaking and sustinable social enterprise activity.

World Shoe and Venture Philanthropy

Venture philanthropy takes a more dynamic approach by employing charitable dollars in both non-profit grants and for-profit investments. This multifaceted funding approach allows for sustainable and scalable initiatives. Additionally, Venture Philanthropy has the potential to yield returns on capital, significantly enhancing the effectiveness of each dollar invested and presenting an innovative alternative to traditional investment models. The ultimate key to this shift is the enlistment of strategic, catalytic, and tenacious capital that typically includes a blended finance approach. A powerful example of an organization that has transitioned to venture philanthropy is the World Shoe Fund.

The World Shoe Fund was established as an expansion of Samaritan’s Feet’s longstanding commitment to fostering global accessibility to footwear and reducing the overall prevalence of tropical diseases. Founded by Manny Ohonme in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet originated from Manny’s personal experience in Nigeria, where receiving his first pair of tennis shoes at the age of nine proved to be a transformative moment. This pivotal event inspired him to pursue his aspirations, ultimately leading to a successful college basketball career in the United States.

Upon returning to Nigeria later in life with his wife, Manny was deeply moved by the persisting hardships faced by underprivileged communities, particularly the sight of countless children still living without proper footwear, trapped in the cycle of poverty. This profound realization spurred him into action, propelling him on a mission to provide hope to those in need through the gift of shoes.

To accomplish this noble endeavor, Samaritan’s Feet introduced its distinctive Wash and Wear methodology, drawing upon UNICEF’s WASH concept. This innovative distribution model not only supplies prophylactic footwear to individuals in various regions but also imparts essential hygiene practices through direct, face-to-face interaction.

As of today, Samaritan’s Feet has successfully delivered shoes to over 9,600,000 individuals across 109 different countries. However, despite these impressive achievements, the prevalence of neglected tropical diseases continues to afflict more than one billion people around the world. As a result, Samaritan’s Feet recognized the necessity for a more efficient and comprehensive approach to fulfill its mission.

The creation of The World Shoe Fund emerged as the answer to this global challenge. By embracing an enterprise-based approach, Samaritan’s Feet aims to harness the potential of the venture philanthropy continuum within The World Shoe Fund, empowering them to maximize their outreach and effect positive change on a global scale.

Towards a Sustainable Business Model

World Shoe Global, Inc., the for-profit arm of the World Shoe Fund has been designed to create a more efficient and effective manufacturing/transportation model for the distribution of shoes throughout Africa. To support this ambitious endeavor, the company successfully secured a substantial venture-oriented grant amounting to 20 million dollars. These funds are being strategically utilized to establish a local manufacturing facility in Ghana, a crucial step towards positively impacting the impoverished local economy. Notably, this initiative is set to create 200 jobs, while also significantly reducing transportation costs in the region.

The core product of the factory is Samaritan’s Feet’s innovative “World Shoe,” an eco-friendly prophylactic footwear that offers protection against diseases and actively combats microbial cell formations that pose a threat to public health. Meticulously crafted from a proprietary blend of plastics, antimicrobial polymers, and biodegradation accelerants, this cutting-edge enterprise solution embodies a triple-bottom-line mission. By multiplying the impact of generated revenue, it endeavors to drive disease-fighting innovation, foster community development, and benefit socially conscious shareholders.FunFF

The newly developed "World Shoe"

World Shoe Global, Inc. envisions generating revenue by supplying the “World Shoe” to local African governments, B2C retail sales, international aid organizations, and even first-world markets. This strategic approach promises to significantly enhance the sustainability and scalability of the initiative, as well as provide future impact investment opportunities as they replicate the factory model throughout Africa.

In a collaborative effort to achieve these goals, Commonwealth, an organization committed to promoting innovative research, consulting, and financial services to enhance communities and expand economic opportunities, has joined forces with the World Shoe Fund. Leveraging its expertise in impact investing and community renewal, Commonwealth is poised to manage the World Shoe Fund while providing invaluable advisory services.

Although the World Shoe Fund is yet to undergo full-scale testing, the experience of Samaritan’s Feet over the past two decades and commonwealth’s expertise combined with the formidable power of an enterprise solution presents a highly promising and innovative model in the fight against poverty and disease. This visionary initiative represents a significant step forward in making a profound and sustainable impact on the lives of countless individuals across Africa and beyond and demonstrates the potential of a venture philanthropy approach 

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Zero Carb Lyfe

ZeroCarb Lyfe

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a staggering 37.3 million individuals in the United States are affected by diabetes. For these individuals, the task of finding food that aligns with their dietary restrictions and simultaneously satisfies their taste buds can be an overwhelming challenge. Mohamed Aly, an experienced chef, found himself grappling with the same predicament upon receiving his own diabetes diagnosis. This personal experience served as a catalyst for his innovative creation of a carb-free pizza crust, comprising solely four ingredients: olive oil, salt, chicken breasts, and spices.

Under the collaborative efforts of Mohamed Aly and Omar Atia (a skilled food engineer) the brand ZeroCarb Lyfe has successfully incorporated the carb-free process into a diverse range of products, spanning from pizza to chips, to taco shells. By doing so, ZeroCarb Lyfe offers a revolutionary alternative that caters not only to individuals afflicted by diabetes but to all seeking to shed excess weight or simply lead a healthier life, while still relishing their culinary experiences. 

116M

Americans find that losing weight feels as miserable as being overweight.

$1.4T

Projected Health and wellness food market size in 2026

30 years

Of cumulative experience in the food industry among team members

Omar Atia | Co-Founder and CEO

Mohamed Aly | Co-Founder and CCO

John Pena | CGO

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Accel-EQ

Accel-EQ

The US spends the most on health care but has the worst health outcomes among high-income countries – The American healthcare system is riddled with problems, from high costs and inefficiencies to a lack of serious preventative care. Omar Fuentes, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran experienced this firsthand when his father and brother passed away and his wife was diagnosed with Cancer. He built Accel-EQ out of a desire to increase efficiencies and decrease the costs of medical care with the intention of lowering the barrier of access for those who have been underserved.

AccelEQ is an end-to-end SaaS platform that uses AI and Machine learning to automate medical documentation by transcribing patient-provider interactions at the point of care. This dictation software will ultimately make the clinical documentation process more efficient and less costly, thereby decreasing provider burnout and increasing patient experience.

12M

The annual number of Americans that suffer an error in diagnosis.

$4.6B

Cost of provider burnout annually.

24 Days

Average number of a days a patient waits to see their doctor in the U.S.

Omar Fuentes | Co-Founder and C

Steven Ponce | Co-Founder and CPO

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Bulkitrade

Bulkitrade

From expensive transportation and hard-to-predict markets to complicated foreign laws and regulations, entering into international trade can be quite challenging for new companies. However, for many emerging brands, global trade offers one of the fastest and most effective ways to scale their business and reach new customers. After spending over a decade in the international imports and exports industry developing networks and experience, Mauro Costa saw an opportunity for innovation.

This realization birthed Bulkitrade, a user-friendly B2B marketplace that streamlines logistics and distributions for emerging food and beverage companies, offering them access to global analytics, logistic algorithms, and 24/7 support. Bulkitrade combines e-commerce, supply chain, fintech, and data analytics all in one place, ultimately making international B2B trade more efficient, transparent, and accessible.

60+

Brands

4,000+ 

SKUs

5

Continents

Mauro Costa | Founder and CEO

Grace Franca | People

Anthony Gordon | Logistics

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Zirtue

Zirtue

DALLAS, TX — Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans have enough saved to to cover a $1000 unexpected expense.¹ Likewise, Americans borrow almost $200B annually from friends and family.²

In financial emergencies, there is limited consumer access to traditional lending options and no structure to automate loan repayment to friends and family. In this vacuum, predatory lenders charge exorbitant interest and prey on borrowers when they are most vulnerable.

Zirtue is a relationship-based social lending app that simplifies loans between friends, family and trusted relationships with automatic ACH loan payments. A more financially inclusive economy, especially for the underbanked and unbanked, is coming into being through Zirtue’s enterprise solution for borrowers.

$5.8M+

In relationship-based loans facilitated

~790

Average loan amount

1000+

Borrowers helped by Zirtue

Dennis Cail | Co-Founder and CEO

Micheal Seay | Co-Founder and CFO

Airion Watkins-Clark | VP of Produts

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Traction

Traction Athletic Performance

FORT WAYNE, IN — Sports training programs typically focus on athletic performance and skill. Since focus on holistic development is often in short supply, these programs can lack trainers and mentors who invest in the development of an athlete outside of sports.

Traction Athletic Performance is a training platform focused on building human potential. Their approach integrates human development, mental performance, athletic performance, and skills training into a micro process of sports. Their mission is to empower human development beyond sports through the holistic training of the athlete.

100’s

Of youth served since Traction’s launch

$MMs

In college scholarships earned by Traction athletes

9 to 18

Primary ages of youth served

DeAundre Muhammad| Founder and CEO

Lawrence Barnett | Director of System Integration

Donovan Martin | Director of Mental Performance

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thrive farmers

Thrive Farmers

As coffee prices have dropped in recent years, economic pressures on Guatemalans have triggered mass migration to the United States. Hundreds of thousands make the dangerous journey only to be apprehended at the U.S. border or live a shadow life as non-citizens.

Thrive Farmers coffee company shares more revenue with Guatemalan farmers – allowing farming families to support themselves year in and year out. Their farmers see an average increase of 350% in their net income and often invest this new wealth in their communities.

Micheal Jones | Founder and CEO

Kenneth Lander | Co-Founder and CSO

Tom Mathesen | President

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Shear Share

Shear Share

MCKINNEY, TX — On a mission to fuel industry recovery and grow local economies, ShearShare is the first B2B mobile marketplace for stylists to manage and grow their small businesses on their terms, starting with a space to work. Even before COVID-19, the barbering and beauty industry was changing and now 70% of licensed professionals are now freelance.¹

ShearShare empowers small businesses by allowing salon and barbershop owners to fill their empty chairs giving independent stylists economic mobility through on-demand access to professional work spaces and B2B tools. ShearShare’s vision is to create 1,000,000 industry jobs and empower stylists with tools to maximize their earning potential.

1.2M

Stylists lack tools to run their business

12,000+

Stylists & jobs supported to date

625+

Cities on the ShearShare platform

Dr. Tye Caldwell | Co-Founder

Courtney Caldwell | Co-Founder