citybiz+ 1863 Ventures and 4 Other D.C. Groups Get Grants from Citi Foundation

1863 Ventures, a Black-led nonprofit business accelerator and venture capital fund for minority entrepreneurs, has received a $1 million grant from Citi Foundation.

The U.S. bank’s nonprofit arm gave each of five organizations in the national capital region similar grants under a program called Community Progress Makers, which has committed $115 million over four years.

Besides 1863 Ventures, the other recipients of Citi’s grants are: Capital Area Asset Builders, Community Lodgings, HomeFree-USA and Montgomery Housing Partnership. The groups will receive the grants over a period of three years. All recipients will additionally have access to a learning community to collaborate and share best practices.

Ambitious Target

Founded in 2016 by Melissa Bradley, 1863 Ventures emerged from Project 500, which aimed to identify 500 D.C.-based Black entrepreneurs over three years. 1863 Ventures focuses on helping so-called “New Majority Founders” — individuals, including Blacks and Latinos who have been historically underestimated. It aims to create $100 billion in new wealth by 2030.

“Through its Community Progress Makers initiative, the Citi Foundation is making a philanthropic investment in the greater Washington, D.C. area and inspiring organizations that are committed to improving the lives of underserved communities,” said Jason Fedash, head of North America Emerging Corporates for Citi Commercial Bank.

“We know that when we work together across the public, private and philanthropic sectors, we can bring about real and lasting change,” said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, while thanking Citi.

So far, 1863 Ventures has aided over 3,200 entrepreneurs whose businesses have generated raised over $35 million in equity, over $300 million in revenue and created 2,000 jobs.

“Our thesis is that entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly viable pathway for the New Majority to build wealth. Our goal is to facilitate this trend by reducing barriers and risks for these founders across the nation,” said Bradley, who previously co-founded a social impact agency called Sidecar Social Finance.

Broader Goals

The vision of creating $100 billion in new wealth by 2030 is “not just about financial milestones but about uplifting communities, changing lives, and shaping a more inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Bradley, who has degrees in finance from Georgetown University and an MBA from American University’ Kogod School of Business, has previously said.

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“Our objective is to improve the state of innovation & entrepreneurship for both New Majority founders and ecosystem builders alike. Whether you’re a corporate brand, non-profit, venture capitalist, or something in between, we have a variety of pre-packaged and custom services that can be rapidly deployed nationwide.”

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Emmanuel Kaska, who has previously advised Google and the World Bank on entrepreneurship, serves as a partner at 1863 Ventures. He previously co-founded Paradigm Labs, a Washington, D.C. startup advisor.

Saudia Davis, a senior adviser to Goldman Sachs’ Black in Business program, serves as operating partner of 1863 Ventures. Davis has a degree in law from UC Berkeley.