Points of Light Civic Accelerator Invests $100,000 in Two Startups Advancing Financial Resilience

The Points of Light Civic Accelerator graduates 10 civic ventures that are addressing the growing gap in financial resilience and economic mobility across the country.

ATLANTA| Jan 8, 2019

ATLANTA (Jan. 7, 2019) – The Points of Light Civic Accelerator announced today that it will invest $50,000 each in FundingU, a for-profit enterprise, and Girls Going Global, a nonprofit enterprise. Both ventures are addressing the growing gap in financial resilience across the country, and as a first for the program, are both based in the same city, Atlanta.

The Civic Accelerator is the first accelerator and investment fund in the country focused on civic ventures – for-profit and nonprofit startups that solve social problems by tapping into human capital as part of the solution. The goal of the accelerator is to equip each startup to seek investments and scale their social innovations.

The investment came at the end of the Civic Accelerator’s Fall 2018 cohort, its 12th bootcamp-style program. The Fall 2018 program convened 10 startups over 10 weeks for three in-person, week-long sessions in Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia, in addition to an in-depth virtual curriculum. Using vetted investment criteria, the program peer participants themselves selected the two ventures that received $50,000 investments.

FundingU offers college completion loans to academically successful students who can’t access “last gap” bank loans due to low credit scores or lack of a co-signer. “We are humbled to be the recipient of this peer investment,” said Jeannie Tarkenton, founder of FundingU. “The award will kick off our 2019 loan fund in which investments are wholly used to provide well-priced loans to low- and moderate-income college students who have been rejected for last-gap bank financing. The funding will support 7-10 students who are doing well in school and need only about $6,000 to remove the last financial barrier to achieving a four-year degree to help build their financial resilience.”

Girls Going Global empowers underserved girls, ages 13-17, by providing the tools, mentorship and educational experiences to be global citizens. “Girls Going Global is excited to have been selected by our peers for this investment,” said Martice Sutton, founder of Girls Going Global. “Our experience in the Civic Accelerator has allowed us to experiment with our revenue model and test our assumptions for scale. With this investment, we will build strategic partnerships with school systems and corporations to expand our reach to diverse teen girls who will benefit most from the learning and exposure to a global experience they would otherwise not be able to access.”

Now in its sixth year, the Civic Accelerator has committed $1,150,000 in investment and has paired 145 startup teams with more than 150 mentors, partners and strategic advisors. The graduated teams have generated more than $94 million in revenue to date, and have reached more than 18.7 million individuals as they solve the most critical social problems facing communities across the country. More information about the Civic Accelerator’s reach and results can be found in its six-year Impact Report, which covers 2012-2018 programming.

“It’s inspiring to work with our corporate partners and mentors to help accelerate these entrepreneurs, whose ventures build financial resilience,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Civic Accelerator. “This is a critical issue in the United States, with 42 percent of households unable to afford a monthly budget of basic services such as food, housing, transportation and childcare, requiring families to make difficult trade-offs. More than half of Americans have little or no savings and are not able to invest in their future, let alone withstand financial shock. Our ventures provide a wide range of solutions from financial education and wealth creation, to access to affordable credit and banking services for underserved and vulnerable populations. We need these ventures to scale their bold solutions so that all can succeed in the innovation economy.”

The gradated ventures in the Fall 2018 cohort are:

DACA Time Nonprofit (Columbus, Ohio) – makes immigration paperwork easier, cheaper and more accurate.

FundingU For-profit (Atlanta) – offers college completion loans to academically successful students who can’t access “last gap” bank loans due to low credit scores or lack of a co-signer.

Girls Going Global Nonprofit (Atlanta) – empowers underserved girls, ages 13-17, by providing the tools, mentorship and educational experiences to be global citizens.

Holberg Financial  For-profit (Chicago) – helps employees reach their financial goals and reduce financial stress through health benefits companies offer to their employees.

Hopeworks Nonprofit (Camden, New Jersey) – creates technology solutions for businesses that provide opportunities and pathways to success for youth.

Medean For-profit (Chicago) – provides guidance and incentives for millennials to improve their financial well-being through a budgeting app using gamification and peer comparison.

Next Steps Network Nonprofit (Louisville, Kentucky) – is changing the market system of how manufactured homes are built, sold and financed, while preparing and supporting homebuyers.

Piecewise For-profit (New York) – helps student loan borrowers pay down their debt based on data generated by financial behavior.

Solve For-profit (Chicago) – makes it easier for community-based organizations to connect individuals to jobs and social services.

Tassel Turn Nonprofit (Chicago) – matches youth in foster care to personalized, evidence-informed, online education coaching to help them achieve economic independence.

About Points of Light

Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities across 37 countries and in partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 5 million volunteers in 20 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.

About the Points of Light Civic Accelerator

The Points of Light Civic Accelerator is the first accelerator program and investment fund in the country focused on civic ventures – for-profit and nonprofit startups that include people as part of the solution to critical social problems. The three-month, boot camp-style program convenes 10-15 teams in person and online with the goal of equipping each startup to seek investments and scale their social innovation. CivicX was launched in 2012, with founding support from PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation, and in partnership with Village Capital. In addition, we receive support from Capital One, Dentons, Singing for Change and official hotel sponsor Hilton. Visit cvcx.org for more information or follow the accelerator on Twitter at @civicacceleratr and across social media at #CIVICX.

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