Big Grants For Big Impact

The Dallas Foundation selected local nonprofit Impact Ventures as the recipient of this year’s Pegasus Prize to continue its work developing women and minority small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The Pegasus Prize is a $50,000 social innovation grant and the premier award granted to nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations with a charitable purpose and hybrid organizations applying innovative approaches to addressing community needs. 

“The Dallas Foundation is proud to announce Impact Ventures as the winner of this year’s Pegasus Prize,” said Matthew Randazzo, CEO of the Dallas Foundation. “The Dallas Foundation is committed to driving genuine change and impact across North Texas, and we are thrilled with the work Impact Ventures has done so far – and will continue to do – in furthering entrepreneurship for all in our region.”

Through the Pegasus Prize, The Dallas Foundation seeks organizations applying new ways to solve ongoing problems that are faster, cost-effective, data-driven, and create better results for residents of Dallas County. 

Founded in 2017, Impact Ventures has trained more than 125 entrepreneurs with the support of more than 70 expert mentors and fortune 500 companies to create 46 new jobs and raise over $458,000. The organization hosts community events and workshops, social impact themed hackathons, and offers a rigorous 12-week business acceleration program providing access to education, training, mentorship, capital, and resources to participating fellows building high-growth businesses and social enterprises. Impact Ventures plans to use the $50,000 awarded by The Dallas Foundation to continue to build its capital model that challenges the traditional financial markets and create more flexible integrative capital for minority-owned businesses, not bound to credit scores and collateral. This is the first investment of Pegasus Prize grant dollars toward dismantling structural barriers that entrepreneurs of color face when trying to access capital. 

“Impact Ventures is immensely thankful to The Dallas Foundation and the Pegasus Prize committee for naming our organization as this year’s award recipient,” said Benjamin J. Vann, CEO of Impact Ventures. “The grant awarded to Impact Ventures by The Dallas Foundation will allow us to jump start a $10M effort to fund undercapitalized minority-owned businesses that increase household income, create local jobs, and close a 228 year wealth gap right here in North Texas.”

The Pegasus Prize also awarded two additional grants of $10,000 each to two other nonprofits. The recipients were a joint venture between NPower Texas and Per Scholas, and AES Literacy Institute.

NPower Texas, an organization that helps military veterans launch digital careers, and Per Scholas, an organization dedicated to opening doors to technology careers for individuals from often overlooked communities, united to create a technology help desk.

The help desk will provide students with work experience, while also helping nonprofit organizations with IT needs. With an increase in remote workers and devices deployed by nonprofits due to the pandemic, NPower and Per Scholas have witnessed an increased need for technology support. 

The AES Literacy Institute and its self-paced educational experience helps students earn their Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency (TxCHSE – formerly GED) within 3-6 months. Originally a blended learning program pairing in-class and out-of-class instruction, COVID-19 forced AES to pivot to a 100% online curriculum. As most students lacked technology and internet access, AES had to supply students with laptops/tablets/portable hotspots, as well as ship them textbooks and materials. 

AES recruited 20 virtual volunteers from across the U.S. to help with online tutoring services, and has an additional 10 volunteers on the waiting list. AES’s quick pivot to a 100% virtual curriculum and tutoring has enabled them to continue helping individuals earn their TxCHSE even during the pandemic.

The organization will be able to extend its impact because of the $10,000 grant received from The Dallas Foundation.

For more information, visit the Dallas Foundation’s website.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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