October 18, 2018
Today Blue Meridian Partners is announcing plans to become an independent, (501(c)(3) enterprise. With this step, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation is entering the next and final stage of our limited-life strategy. But EMCF’s work is not yet complete.
First, we will fulfill our commitments to longtime grantees in our Youth Development Fund (YDF) over the next three to four years. We will do so with assistance from the newly formed Blue Meridian Partners, Inc., which will enable us to continue offering high-quality strategic counsel and partnership to all of our YDF grantees. We believe the portfolio of organizations EMCF has invested in since 2001 continues to represent some of the most promising interventions for disadvantaged children and youth in the country.
We are also invested in seeing that PropelNext continues beyond the life of the Foundation, since we are excited by the progress the initiative has made in proving out its evolving model. After a successful evaluation this summer, PropelNext is launching two new cohorts this fall―one in Northern California, and a second soon to be announced. We have begun a search for a new home for the initiative that will help PropelNext spread its vital work.
Inside Philanthropy reports on EMCF and Blue Meridian’s plans to expand efforts to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
In the coming years we also have a responsibility to capture and share some of the most important insights we have gained from developing our investing approach―from the difference that business planning and deeper, longer-term investments can make for nonprofits, to assisting grantees with evaluation and evidence building. Look for more announcements in the months ahead.
Finally and most directly, we will also bring to bear our 18-plus years of knowledge and experience building our performance-based investment approach for identifying and supporting the growth of high-performing organizations transforming the lives of children and youth mired in poverty. Many members of EMCF’s staff will transition to new roles and take on new leadership positions to help grow Blue Meridian Partners, Inc. In light of our limited-life strategy, we have also decided to eliminate several positions, taking care to provide colleagues who will not be moving over with the resources and flexibility to pursue new opportunities.
In our December 2016 letter announcing our limited-life plans, we noted it was our founders’ intent to pursue the greatest impact for children and families, including, in the words of Hays Clark, “betting the farm on it.” In the two years since, we have seized the opportunity to do even more than we anticipated by moving swiftly to build and grow Blue Meridian Partners.
The news we are sharing today was carefully considered. It is the culmination of more than 40 years of work to improve the lives of the most vulnerable among us. During those decades we have supported a wide variety of critical and life-saving initiatives, from tackling infectious tropical diseases, to fighting against discrimination in the criminal justice system, to promoting student achievement and ensuring child protection, to supporting the creation of the SAFE strategy that is set to eradicate the blight of trachoma.
We believe our founders―Edna McConnell Clark; her husband Van Alan; and their sons Hays, Van Alan, Jr., and James―would share our confidence and conviction that our mission is best accomplished by putting all of our capital behind the best of what works, right now. As we enter this final stage of EMCF’s work, we know we are contributing to something much more meaningful than a namesake: a future in which every child has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential.
We look forward to the important work ahead and will continue to keep you informed as we take these last exciting steps.
Nancy Roob, President & CEO, EMCF
Larry Clark, Chair, EMCF
See our brief FAQ if you’d like to learn more about Blue Meridian Partners’ structure and transition plans.