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A trend toward diversity is always something to celebrate, whether in the world of investing or the movies. The Oscars have not always produced an inclusive slate of nominees, but this year’s lists offer a diverse array of firsts: The Power of the Dog director Jane Campion became the first female filmmaker to receive two Oscar nominations. CODA’s Troy Kotser is now the first deaf actor to receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination. It’s the first year that two LGBTQ-identified women (West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose and Spencer’s Kristen Stewart) received acting nods. And, the majority of Best Actor nominees are men of color.

And some progress, albeit slow, is also being reported in the investing ecosystem. The growing influence of Black and other diverse investor networks is visible in the record number of funds led by women and people of color. We have long shined a light on the deficit in the venture capital that goes to companies founded by women and people of color and this continues, but it is also important to celebrate both the firsts — like Susan M. Collins, who was named the first Black woman to lead a Federal Reserve Bank — and the increasing diversity of the leadership of those funding the next generation of entrepreneurs. These are key elements in efforts to build and expand the inclusive entrepreneurship movement
 
 
 
 
FEARLESS FEATURE
 
 
 
 
After performing the national anthem and “America the Beautiful” in sign language at last year’s Super Bowl, deaf “dip-hop” rapper Warren “Wawa” Snipes will be back on football’s biggest stage again this Sunday. This time, he’ll be part of the first-ever live American Sign Language performance of the Super Bowl halftime show—a landmark moment for disability rights advocates and hip-hop fans alike.
 
 
 
 
IMPACT INVESTING
 
 
 
 
Making Climate Tech Affordable
Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures announced that it had mobilized more than $1 billion in capital to help scale climate tech solutions from expensive alternatives to the new, budget-friendly normal.
 
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Themes vs. Lenses
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ Patrick Briard examines the distinction between an asset-specific impact theme vs. a portfolio-wide impact lens in a recent Q&A about the future of impact investing.
 
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INCLUSIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
 
 
 
 
Fintech for Students
Mos, a platform connecting students to financial opportunities, raised $40 million to expand into a “challenger bank” that will offer its student users a fee-free option for day-to-day spending. The power-to-the-people mission is important to founder Amira Yahyaoui, a human rights activist who was exiled from her home country of Tunisia before she could complete high school.
 
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Resources for Black Female Founders

Blanc Media founder Teneisha Carr is curating content by, about, and for Black female entrepreneurs on “All the Hats,” a new project with Inc. Magazine.
 
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BEFORE YOU GO
 
 
 
 

Alternative Approaches to Gender Funds

Based on her recent research with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, GenderSmart cofounder Suzanne Biegel breaks down the implications of two new trends in gender lens investing: alternative fund structures, and more diverse types of capital.
 
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Celebrating Black VCs
In honor of Black History Month, the nonprofit Venture Forward is highlighting 15 Black venture capital investors making a big impact with their portfolios and in the fight for racial equity.
 
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