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The Path to Scale

Local Fund Goes Global & Launches Cohort Model -

Last week Ty Simmons and Kristin Giant, co-founders of the Family & Friends Fund (“FFF”) for Southeast Fort Wayne, were in Denver, CO sharing a panel with representatives from the United Nations and Citigroup -- featured as a Case Study on how to revolutionize and diversify capital. The panel, titled “The Future of Capital is Inclusive and Diverse” was part of the annual 3-day GlobalMindED Conference.

Simmons sharing the stage with the Janet Salazar, President of the Foundation for Support of the UN

Conference founder and CEO Carol J. Carter shared, “We were thrilled to invite the Fort Wayne, IN based Family & Friends Fund to this global conference as the exclusive case study for the ‘Foundations and Funders’ track to highlight their innovative approach and invite others to learn from their early successes and lessons learned.”

The panel featured Simmons & Giant, and was moderated by Janet Salazar, President of the Foundation for Support of the UN and also featured Yesi Morillo, Senior VP of Global Diversity & Talent Management at Citigroup.

“This panel and this conference were so much bigger than us,” says Simmons, “The energy in the building was like nothing I’ve ever seen. So many world-changers in one place. Millionaires, billionaires, global financial executives, teachers, and activists all gathered to share the work of equity and advancement for people who’ve been left behind.”

During the panel, Simmons & Giant were proud to announce the formal launch of a nation-wide cohort for donor-advised fund holders who are interested in investing in BIPOC founders and in learning and implementing the brass tacks of power sharing/distribution. While they have experienced early fundraising success in Fort Wayne, IN -- and will prioritize working with local donor-advised fund holders -- they are excited about the potential impact for the Southeast side of Fort Wayne by expanding their donor network nationwide.

Simmons & Giant attend the Inclusive Leader Award Dinner

Giant shares, “We have an incredible local community of supporters at the grassroots level but we’ve struggled to find the bigger dollar support locally -- from foundations and corporations -- that will help to sustain this kind of justice oriented work in our community. We think targetinging the $149 billion+ currently stagnating in donor-advised funds is a great place to start.”

FFF was first recognized on the national stage when they were selected to participate in the Economic Inequality Initiative with Common Future (formerly Uncharted) out of Denver.

“We selected Family & Friends Fund to participate in our program because they created a unique approach to closing the racial wealth gap in the U.S.,'' says Andrea Perdomo, Director of Portfolio Advancement at Common Future. “Kristin & Ty are incredible entrepreneurs. They have the courage to tackle a tough challenge, tenacity to speak up and not be silent, and dedication to being a part of something bigger.”

FFF will guide participating cohort members through their proprietary framework which includes auditing the fund’s current grantmaking and ideologies, identification and recruitment of key BIPOC stake-holders to become advisors, education for those advisors on the basic governance of donor-advised funds and the evolving best practices in grantmaking/investing, as well as providing support for the deployment of capital. Additionally, FFF will also provide ongoing legal, technical and philanthropic support for the duration of the cohort.

Applications open on June 30, 2022 – the two year anniversary of the launch of the Family & Friends Fund.

If you have money in a donor-advised fund and are interested in connecting with the team at Family & Friends Fund to learn how you can distribute the power and money in your DAF to BIPOC advisors in your geography or as part of the pilot in Fort Wayne, IN you can apply to be a member of the first cohort here:


The Family & Friends Fund for Southeast Fort Wayne is a field of interest fund hosted at, but not formally affiliated with or funded by, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. Founded during the racial reckoning of 2020, FFF’s vision is a world where all people, not just those connected directly to generational wealth, have the capital they need to be more innovative, more brave, and to take more risks for themselves and their community. They bring this vision to life by teaching philanthropists to give away their power and their money in the form of flexible ‘family & friends style’ risk capital invested by and into communities of color.

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