Advancing Justice Through Collaboration

Promoting social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion is core to our mission and culture. In order to improve structural inequities around race, gender, and other forms of discrimination, Uplifting invests in diverse business leaders as well as innovative enterprises and fund managers who are combating social justice challenges. Although we are true believers in the power of impact investing, we recognize that solving the world’s biggest challenges requires deploying multiple levers.

To that end, Uplifting joined forces with REFORM Alliance to bring together a group of people to discuss and reimagine criminal justice and public safety. REFORM Alliance aims to transform probation and parole by changing laws, systems, and culture to create real pathways to work and wellbeing. Much like Uplifting, REFORM Alliance strives to build a better, more equitable world.

The event itself was simple. About 30 people representing a wide range of professional sectors, personal backgrounds, and lived experiences sat down for dinner to share food and ideas. What happened during the course of the dinner, however, was remarkable. One by one, people shared personal stories of how their lives had been affected by the criminal justice system. A couple had been incarcerated and talked about how their experiences and criminal records continue to affect their lives today. Others shared stories about how overcriminalization and racial disparities in the criminal justice system have impacted their families. Although most people had just met that evening, a trust was quickly established that allowed everyone to be open and vulnerable.

When you intentionally bring people who are committed to a common goal together, powerful things happen. The collective knowledge around that long table spanned from deep understanding of the criminal justice system, public safety, advocacy, and philanthropy to years of experience working on for-profit impact capital allocation and impact investing frameworks. For a few hours, people generously offered up their time and energy to help one another. Ideas were shared about how to rethink policies and public safety, critically examine what solutions should come from for-profit enterprises and which are better left to philanthropy, and how to better allocate funding to support systemic change.

Our Impact Dinners bring together leaders from the public and private sectors and civil society to drive engagement and increase collaboration. Together, we combine our unique knowledge and experiences to develop innovative solutions and form strategic partnerships. The group that came together to discuss criminal justice and public safety continues to meet, share knowledge and ideas, and grow. At the same time, we are building additional working groups of people who are committed to protecting the planet and empowering its people. Together, we can elevate our impact.

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