Learning & Convening

Funding the Future of Care: Convening the Chicago Impact Ecosystem

Insights gleaned from a convening of investors, fund managers, and entrepreneurs, exploring innovative approaches to advance health equity and care models.

On Tuesday, November 14th, we joined forces with Good Chaos to host Funding the Future of Care, an evening of conversation and connecting for supporting caregivers, communities, women, and families. Our panel was moderated by Gratitude Railroad’s Managing Partner, Thomas Knowles, and featured three female founders from our portfolio: Ashely Bittner, co founder of Firework Ventures,  venture capital firm driving social and economic mobility through transformative technology; Maya Hardigan, founder of Mae, a culturally competent digital health platform for Black expectant mothers; and Shara Cohen, CEO of Carallel, a platform providing essential personalized support for family caregivers.

The conversation delved into the complexities and opportunities within the care economy, unveiling the innovative solutions and compassionate approaches to healthcare. Below are the main takeaways:

Multifaceted Nature of the Care Economy: The care economy encompasses childcare, elder care, work-life balance, and mental health, and requires thoughtful implementation to address individual needs. Community-based doulas serve as a tangible example, showcasing the effectiveness of such caregivers in improving health outcomes and highlighting the challenges in funding and scaling these solutions.

Holistic Approach for Enduring Impact: Investing in the care economy necessitates a comprehensive strategy, transcending traditional skill-focused approaches. Success hinges on recognizing and addressing diverse facets, spanning caregiving, financial support, and overall well-being. Beyond software solutions, a holistic approach involves deploying qualified staff, navigating channels like Medicaid and Medicare, and collaborating with employers. The objective is to create an impactful strategy supporting individuals, families, and communities in the intricate landscape of the care economy.

Navigating Complexities in Healthcare, Policy, and Funding: Successful navigation in the caregiving market involves selecting investors who understand healthcare intricacies, aligning with mission-driven syndicates, diversifying revenue streams, and prioritizing quality execution over rapid scaling.The speakers underscored the importance of advocating for trusted patient relationships, preventive health, and regulatory support for long-term outcomes and value-based care, and emphasizes building scalable solutions and impact investing in the care economy, with the example of community-based doulas showcasing effective and compassionate interventions.