Cincinnati-based Found Village is one of 16 mental health-focused startups from across the United States to receive $100,000 in grant funding from New Profit.
The 2023 Mental Health Equity Catalyze Cohort is a program led by New Profit with funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Pinterest, in collaboration with the Deloitte Health Equity Institute.
Each grant recipient is an early-stage innovator working to promote health equity by addressing factors that affect mental and behavioral health. Factors can range from a lack of basic, everyday needs to access to culturally competent mental health services.
Found Village works to empower traditionally hard-to-reach youth through relationship building. Its goal, according to co-executive director Iloba Nzekwu, is to help those young people develop a sense of “belonging, power, autonomy and self-sufficiency.”
Iloba founded the nonprofit with his wife, Katie Nzekwu.
“The vision to ensure that every young person and their future generations are no longer system involved, thriving in their communities, and have mobilized out poverty is being recognized by the biggest philanthropist in our county,” Iloba said.
New Profit is a venture philanthropy organization that backs social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America. For this investment cycle, the organization prioritized investing in leaders of color, emphasizing Black, Latino (or “Latinx”) and indigenous leaders.
Members of the cohort are working across a variety of diverse target populations, including, but not limited to minority groups, women, LGBTQIA+ youth, children in the foster care system, survivors of gender-based violence, formerly incarcerated individuals and those living in rural communities.
Each organization received $100,000 in unrestricted funding. Additionally, over the next year, members of the cohort will receive leadership and strategic coaching, as well as peer learning opportunities.
The Mental Health Equity Cohort held its first group at New Profit’s Boston office in May. The focus was on relationship building and on getting to know one another as individuals and organizational leaders as we collectively create a strong foundation for the rest of the year.
Since its founding in 1998, New Profit has invested more than $350 million in 200-plus organizations. It’s also helped unlock more than $1.9 billion in government funding through the America Forward Coalition’s collective advocacy efforts.