Signal Fund is bridging critical funding gaps for social innovatorsLEARN MORE

Echoing Green Launches Signal Fund to Bridge Funding Gap for Social Innovators

José A. Aguilar-Contreras '21, at Echoing Green's 2023 All Fellows Convening in Minneapolis, MN.

New York, NY, May 7, 2024: Echoing Green announces the launch of the Signal Fund, a financial tool that provides capital to social innovators at critical growth stages. Signal launches with $15.6 million raised and prioritizes founders with overlooked potential for scalable social impact.

Signal Fund aims to test a new set of financial mechanisms and model more broadly accessible investment vehicles that can help fuel transformational social change and innovation globally. It will disrupt the current funding landscape that is misaligned with the needs of social innovators.

“In the current economic climate, fundraising for entrepreneurs has become increasingly difficult,” said Echoing Green President, Cheryl L. Dorsey. “Through Signal Fund, we are strengthening and de-risking a new pipeline of social innovators — ones that we believe will expand the set of leaders who are too often overlooked by mainstream philanthropy and financial institutions. This fund can help proven social innovators move past the proverbial valley of death that so many start-ups face, achieving organizational milestones recognizable to traditional investors without compromising impact.”

Despite being one of the most powerful drivers of social change, too many social innovators aren’t receiving the capital they need to scale when they need it most. This funding disparity is even greater for leaders of color. In 2019, research from Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group showed that the revenues of Black-led organizations were 24 percent smaller than those of their white-led counterparts, and the unrestricted net assets of the Black-led organizations were 76 percent smaller than their white-led counterparts. In the mainstream capital space, a 2023 McKinsey study revealed similar disparities with start-ups led by underrepresented founders (including women) receiving only 43 percent of the funding compared to their white male founder counterparts.

As part of a two-year pilot, Signal aims to make 20 investments in recipients of the Echoing Green Fellowship, which for the last 35 years has supported nearly 1,000 innovators including notable leaders such as First Lady Michele Obama, 2024 TIME100 recipient Kennedy Odede, and the founders of Teach for America and One Acre Fund.

The fund has already disbursed $3.6 million to 12 social innovators. As a result, recipients have already leveraged an additional $18 million in funding for their organizations.

Signal Fund was co-designed with and is managed by Angel City Advisors, led by founder and Echoing Green Fellow Daniel Tellalian. In partnership with Echoing Green, Angel City Advisors leads the design of each investment tailored to the stage and needs of the enterprise, specifically aiming to unlock both impact and additional capital.

For more information about Signal Fund, please visit:

About Echoing Green:
For 36 years, Echoing Green has been on the front lines of solving the world’s biggest problems, raising up the transformational leaders willing to speak truth to power and challenge the status quo. The organization finds emerging leaders with the best ideas for social innovation as early as possible and sets them on a path to lifelong impact. Echoing Green’s community of nearly 1,000 social innovators includes past Fellows such as First Lady Michelle Obama and the founders of Teach For America, Center for Black Innovation, BlocPower, and One Acre Fund. Built and refined over three decades, Echoing Green discovers tomorrow’s leaders today, and then funds, connects, and supports a new generation of social impact leaders.

About Angel City Advisors:
Angel City Advisors is an impact-first advisory firm that facilitates the flow of capital and expertise between social entrepreneurs and catalytic investors to expand opportunity, elevate community-generated ideas, and achieve equity. They place a premium on market-oriented solutions to social challenges, and take pride in executing their vision at the highest levels with integrity and humility.

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