Blackstone Charitable Foundation Announces 2016 Innovation Grant Recipients

Thirteen Organizations Awarded $2 Million to Support Entrepreneurship and Innovation

New York, February 8, 2016 – The Blackstone Charitable Foundation today announced that it has awarded grants totaling $2 million to non-profit organizations that strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems and support promising entrepreneurs. Now in its fourth year, the Blackstone Innovation Grants program supports innovative regional initiatives and events that foster entrepreneurship.

Through these grants, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is helping outstanding organizations pilot, expand or replicate programs and convene high-impact events that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries, and communities in their regions. As part of this program, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is working to create a global network of entrepreneurship-focused organizations across sectors in which participants can share best practices, methodologies and intellectual capital.

“Over the past four years, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is proud to support a diverse set of dynamic organizations that complement the work of our Entrepreneurship Initiative and build momentum around entrepreneurship in their regions,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “This year’s cohort of Blackstone Innovation Grant recipients have already helped hundreds of companies and entrepreneurs to create over 9,000 jobs – we couldn’t be more excited to support them as they continue that work in the year ahead.”

For the 2016 grants, more than four hundred and fifty organizations submitted proposals through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process established by the Foundation for both program and event-focused grants. The reach of the grantees’ programs and events extend across eight U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and the United Kingdom, and the entrepreneurs supported by these programs represent communities from across the globe.  

The grant recipients are:

  • 4.0 Schools (New Orleans, LA and New York, NY), $200,000 – Our grant will support expansion of 4.0’s Communities of Innovation program to 10 local ecosystems across the US and expand capacity and diversity of 4.0’s entrepreneurship training program for leaders creating breakthrough schools, learning spaces and ed tech companies.  
  • Ashoka (London, England), $75,000 – Our grant will fund Ashoka’s Change Maker Summit in November 2016, which convenes world class social entrepreneurs for a two day conference in the UK to share best practices, showcase entrepreneurs global impact and strengthen the Ashoka community of social entrepreneurs and supporters.
  • Coalition for Queens (Queens, NY), $175,000 – Our grant will help catalyze low-income entrepreneurship by funding a product development track within Access Code, a program to teach low income, diverse participants how to develop their own custom-built mobile apps.  
  • Idea Village (New Orleans, LA), $100,000 – Our grant will fund Idea Village’s New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week in March 2016, a unique festival experience that celebrates and elevates the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem through a week of entrepreneurship focused programming.
  • Iowa Startup Accelerator (Cedar Rapids, IA), $150,000 – Our grant will fund the next iteration of Iowa Startup Accelerator, an intensive program that matches tech-based startups, with world-class mentors, Midwestern work ethic, seed funding, and development expertise to take entrepreneurs from concept to successful launch in 90 days.
  • Launch Tennessee (Nashville, TN), $75,000 – Our grant will fund Launch Tennessee’s 36 | 86 conference in June 2016, which brings together top talent from across the south to further the conversation about entrepreneurship, investment and culture, and to identify and highlight some of the top early stage companies throughout a 12 state SE region.
  • Mass Challenge (Boston, MA), $75,000 – Our grant will support the MassChallenge Awards in November 2016, an event which brings together key stakeholders and top entrepreneurs at the conclusion of the 4-month accelerator program to share best practices and pitch their companies for $1.5 million in no-equity cash awards.
  • Rising Tide (Trenton, New Jersey), $200,000 – Our grant will fund the programming and expansion of the Start Something Challenge – a statewide initiative across New Jersey that teaches entrepreneurship to business owners through a yearlong interactive program focused on the power of technology,  social media and marketing.
  • Social Capital Markets (San Francisco, CA), $100,000 – Our grant will fund Social Capital Markets’ SOCAP 2016 Conference in September 2016, which convenes a global community to share best practices in entrepreneurship, social enterprise and impact investing.
  • Social Innovation Summit (Washington, DC), $75,000 – Our grant will fund the Social Innovation Summit in June 2016, which brings together cross-sector entrepreneurs and leaders to come together to investigate solutions for the world’s most pressing problems and to catalyze inspired partnerships.
  • TEDWomen (San Francisco, CA), $200,000 – Our grant will fund TEDWomen in October 2016, which will gather some of the world’s most insightful and influential women to celebrate the vital ideas percolating through their dynamic and diverse communities. Through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s support, TEDWomen 2016 will offer structured opportunities for female entrepreneurs and game-changers to meet, learn and share.
  • Penn Medicine and DreamIt Ventures (Philadelphia, PA), $325,000 – Our grant will fund the Dreamit Health Philadelphia 2016 program.  In this cohort, Dreamit will partner with Penn Medicine and Independence Blue Cross to reimagine and expand a world class health care entrepreneurship program.
  • Village Capital (Houston, TX), $250,000 – Our grant will fund the Village Capital Energy: US 2016 program, a three month venture development program that will find, train, and fund US-based entrepreneurs solving major energy problems nationally and globally through a unique peer-selection methodology. 

About the Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For more information, see

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