Former GM CEO, Home Depot co-founder are deeply invested in this philanthropic initiative

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John Simon worked countless hours making a sanction for himself successful nan for-profit assemblage arsenic nan managing head astatine Boston-based Sigma Prime Ventures. But what he's doing in nan nonprofit world tin beryllium seen — by galore accounts — arsenic an moreover greater effort. 

And it's catching nan attraction of manufacture titans, from erstwhile General Motors CEO Rick Wagner to Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. 

They're among a fistful of salient figures throwing their weight and money down Simon's GreenLight Fund, which is tackling immoderate of society's biggest challenges pinch its task capital-like attack to philanthropy. 

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Leveraging his business acumen, Simon identified early connected successful his profession that while location were organizations that were successful astatine tackling economical aliases group inequities, location wasn't an infrastructure successful spot to get them into nan communities that needed them most.  

He wanted to span that spread by creating a web connecting societal entrepreneurs and communities, truthful they could replicate alteration astatine scale. 

"Having worked successful nan nonprofit sector, I knowledgeable firsthand nan challenges of bringing societal invention to nan communities that request it most," Simon said. "Time and clip again, societal entrepreneurs proceed to create innovative technologies and solutions that lick nan world’s top problems; and, yet, they are constricted by nan distribution of those ideas."

Founded successful 2004 by Simon and nonprofit executive Margaret Hall, nan money first identifies needs wrong a organization for illustration broadening acces to food, education, creating occupation security and tackling intelligence wellness issues by leaning connected section leaders. 

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They past root organizations pinch a proven way grounds of successfully addressing that request and 1 they judge will person nan champion chance of making a affirmative effect locally. It's a strategy that nan money has already executed successful a twelve cites astir nan country. 

Marcus, known for backing countless philanthropic endeavors, is nan astir generous philanthropist to GreenLight Fund Atlanta and describes nan undertaking arsenic "brilliantly simple."  

"The conception struck our squad arsenic brilliantly elemental — place a societal services spread successful a organization for illustration Atlanta, reside that spread pinch a champion of breed solution already proven successful different communities and money that solution pinch an earned gross exemplary truthful that it is sustainable successful nan agelong tally without relying connected ongoing donors," Marcus told FOX Business. 

A driver of nan fund's success, Wagner explained to FOX Business, is that it acts successful "a mode which empowers section teams to take nan highest effect projects for their communities' needs."  

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After nan money identifies a program, GreenLight will rumor multiyear startup superior and guarantee nan organizations create ongoing measurable societal effect and semipermanent sustainability. 

PAR Capital Management founder Paul Reeder described nan fund's strategy arsenic "a pathway to prosperity for hundreds of thousands of Americans." 

When nan money kicked disconnected 2 decades ago, Simon's scheme was to commencement successful Boston and tackle 1 problem wrong nan metropolis each year. 

"I started to envision, ‘Well, if we could do this for Boston, we could do this successful cities crossed nan country.' And if we could do this successful cities crossed nan country, we would fundamentally create this invention superhighway," Simon said. 

Quickly, his efforts proliferated. Within nan adjacent 2 years, nan money expects to person projects wrong 15 cities. It's besides connected way to "reach astir a cardinal children and families a year," Simon added. 

They are milestones wrong his eventual extremity of becoming "one of nan astir important poverty-fighting organizations successful nan full country."

GreenLight has invested $37 cardinal successful its 53 portfolio organizations to date. It's besides leveraging an further $259 cardinal raised by its portfolio organizations. That fig accrued by much than 25% past twelvemonth contempt nan uncertain economy.