It's been two years since Meyer joined a handful of other foundations to pool funding in a collaborative effort, called Canopy, to drive more community-driven impact investments throughout the Pacific Northwest region.
One of the fund managers in the Canopy ecosystem is Elevate Capital, founded by Portland-based entrepreneur and investor Nitin Rai:
Nitin became a mentor as part of TiE—a non-profit, global community of entrepreneurs, focusing on five pillars: mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding. Nitin later became President of the organization, and in this role, launched TiE Oregon Angels to support high-quality emerging companies with early stage investment, mentorship, and support. Since inception, this group has invested over $5 million in 28 startups across Oregon.
When word spread about the success of these startup investments, Nitin eventually connected with Sayer Jones, Director of Mission Related Investing at Meyer Memorial Trust. Meyer is very committed to aligning the foundation’s investments with its philanthropic mission. In his Meyer role, Sayer has consequently been at the forefront of expanding the opportunities for mission-related investing in the Pacific Northwest region. When Sayer met with Nitin, he saw a great opportunity to fill one of the largest gaps in the regional investing landscape—entrepreneurs who need small amounts of capital to get off the ground as well as businesses led by people of color, women or veterans.
Read the case study, with an introduction from Richard Woo, chief executive officer of The Russell Family Foundation and chair of Canopy, right here.