Upstart Co-Lab to Promote a Creative Economy
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – A creative economy is quintessential to building a sustainable future. Artists are the original social entrepreneurs who strengthen the society with their creative thought processes and their ability to take risks. However, they often pursue a lonely path because of a prevailing disconnect between artists and other social changemakers.
To address this challenge, a group of artists, impact investors, philanthropic funders and social innovators has announced the launch of Upstart Co-Lab, a unique collaboration connecting artists, impact investors, and social entrepreneurs. Upstart Co-Lab, led by Laura Callanan, the former senior deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, will connect artists with the opportunities of impact investing and social entrepreneurship.
Upstart is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It is funded by Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Surdna Foundation with in-kind support from the F.B. Heron Foundation.
Upstart’s strategic partners include Arizona State University, Artspace, B Lab, Bennington College, Calvert Foundation, Foundation Center, Global Development Incubator, Maryland Institute College of Arts, McKinsey & Company, Oberlin College, Silkroad, Veris Wealth Partners, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Upstart will work in three ways:
- It will repurpose successful models from impact investing, community development and social entrepreneurship to catalyze fresh opportunities for artists. For instance, it will recognize artists and designers who have launched innovative companies such as Kickstarter, AirBnB and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams as well as artists working on environmental conservation, criminal justice system reform, and effective governance.
- It will integrate the arts with prevailing social innovation standards, products and networks to prepare the system to shift. It will launch a Creative Economy Index Fund of U.S. Public Companies across the creative industries, enabling targeted investment in creativity for the first time.
- It will develop new initiatives designed to respond to gaps and market failures. For instance, to address the persistently low rate at which arts graduates actually make their living by working in the arts, ArtPath will rethink the resources and skills artists need to launch new projects, start commercial enterprises, and better manage their careers.
Upstart Co-Lab and its programs will be guided by a seven-member advisory board drawn from leaders at organizations such as Duke University, Blended Value Group, McKinsey & Company, The Food Business School at the Culinary Institute of America, Synergos, Global Development Incubator, and Feedback Labs.