Theory of Change
We see investment as a mechanism for societal change.
A Flexible Fund
We’ve designed a fund structure that allows us to invest flexibly across startups — for profit and nonprofit, mission-driven and political — for the greatest impact.
A 501c3 fund managed by ImpactAssets enables us to make grants to c3 nonprofits as well as early-stage investments in mission-driven, for-profit companies. Return on these investments helps to sustain our work over time. We also have a fund that enables us to support political action startups. New Media Ventures is a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Advocacy, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit public benefit corporation.
New Media Ventures Education Fund is sponsored by Tides Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. The Education Fund enables us to engage the community and provide thought leadership. In addition, New Media Ventures is a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Advocacy, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit public benefit corporation.
We invite our network to invest alongside us. By sharing deal-flow and diligence, we give individual and institutional investors the ability to make informed, strategic and impactful decisions.
Carlissia serves as President of New Media Ventures, bringing with her a 15-year background in politics, social advocacy, and operations. A former Obama staffer, Carlissia has held senior leadership positions across the federal government, nonprofit and start-up spaces with a focus on helping mission-driven orgs run at full speed.
A founder in her own right, Carlissia has spearheaded four startups while also shaping the operational governance of some of our nation’s oldest and most impactful institutions - Congress, US Departments of Agriculture and Energy, the White House, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. True to her southern roots, she has a deep love for adventure, agriculture, and racing.
Chief Investment Officer
Jessica Salinas is Chief Investment Officer at New Media Ventures. As Chief Investment Officer, Jess is responsible for the cultivation of early-stage deal flow and portfolio management, building mission-driven partnerships, and leading the growth and direction of the investment team.
Previously, she was a Partner at an impact fund moving the world towards zero poverty, zero disease and zero pollution. Jessica was also the founding Social Impact Lead at Headspace and the founding Director of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education Program.
Jessica serves on the Board of Words Uncaged, which provides programming for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in LA, and Plug in South LA. Jessica received her BA in Communication from Stanford and her MS in Social Entrepreneurship from USC Marshall School of Business.
As Partner, Phil is responsible for expanding our partnerships, our portfolio of funders, and our investment capacity as well as spearheading new initiatives to support early-stage startups working to expand and scale progressive infrastructure.
Phil served in a variety of roles at Ernst & Young and Rockwood Capital, managing financial duties for clients across technology, real estate, and venture capital. Before joining us, Phil was a Fellow at Kapor Capital and an Investment Accounting Manager at the Kapor Center, where he managed various aspects of investing and financial processes at the fund. Previous to becoming Partner, Phil was an Investment Principal at NMV.
Phil leverages his experience to advise early stage startups and serves as Board Chair at the Ella Baker Center in Oakland. This work allows Phil to bring together thought leaders, innovators, supporters, and investors to design communities and startups for good. Phil is from Chicago, Illinois and holds a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Bethune-Cookman University. When not at work , he enjoys his lifelong pursuit of the best cup of cappuccino and refining his cooking and salsa skills.
Director of Development
Brittany Grimm is Director of Development at New Media Ventures. She is responsible for creating and executing NMV's fundraising strategy, managing funder relationships, and developing new partnerships and opportunities for support.
Brittany has over 12 years of experience in fundraising, including for party committees, PACs, dozens of elected officials at the federal, statewide, and local levels, and non-profits of all sizes. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Ev is an Investment Principal at New Media Ventures, where he is responsible for leading investments in organizations building progressive power and supporting the growth and impact of NMV's portfolio organizations.
Prior to joining NMV, he held a variety of roles in progressive politics, civic tech, and academia. He was the executive director of LA-Tech.org, the associate director of a center on media and democracy at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the co-founder of Glassbooth, a civic education nonprofit that reached millions of voters.
Ev is passionate about movement politics and local organizing, especially in Los Angeles, and he continues to work with campaigns and leaders to tell their stories and boost their impact. He serves on the board of LA Forward Action, is a partner with Social Justice Partners LA, and was a co-founder of the LA District Attorney Accountability Coalition and a volunteer on campaigns like Reimagine LA and Eunisses Hernandez for LA City Council.
Director of Communications & Marketing
Rye Ross is New Media Ventures’ Director of Communications & Marketing. She’s responsible for expanding the profile of the organization and our portfolio companies in order to attract high-quality investments.
Rye also helps bolster our fundraising efforts, expand our partnerships, and grow our influence in both the philanthropic and impact investing fields, particularly in progressive and BIPOC communities. Rye joins NMV from a civic tech nonprofit organization, where she leveraged her communications and marketing expertise to help enable more consistent and widespread voter participation. Previously, she also served as Digital Marketing Manager for the Andrew Goodman Foundation and Sector Communications Coordinator at Charity Navigator. Rye earned her B.S. in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University, with minors in French and Economics.
As an Operations Manager, Mia is responsible for supporting both the NMV fundraising and leadership team.
Mia joins from Mazel Immigration Law, where she was in charge of operations for the firm, including customizing the firm’s database, establishing best practices for data management, and analyzing workflows to increase case preparation efficiency. Previously, she worked in Community Support and Operations for Kiva where she assisted Kiva lenders and provided operations support to her team.
Mia earned a BA in Economics from Carleton College, where she also played on the Varsity Softball team. Outside of work, she loves to spend time in the ocean, play sports, and try new recipes.
Carlos Salinas is an Investment Analyst at New Media Ventures. He is the principal assistant to the Chief Investment Officer and supports the Investment team with intake and diligence reviews of potential portfolio organizations in the non-profit and for-profit sectors.
Prior to joining NMV, Carlos assisted the Houston Methodist Hospital’s neurosurgery department and University of Houston’s architecture/engineering departments in research and development of disability innovations. He was the co-founder of University of Houston’s first adaptive athletic wheelchair tennis team and served as President of the Adaptive Athletics organization. He has 10+ years of experience in the Supply Chain & Logistics sector.
Carlos is an advocate for disabilities rights and is passionate about ideas and actions that move communities forward. When not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, handcycling, karaoke, wheelchair tennis, traveling, and attending live music shows.
As Investment Associate, Abi is responsible for evaluating start-ups coming through our intake process, performing market research and assisting with portfolio support. She also works cross-functionally to support the fundraising, communications and operations teams.
Abi joined from RampRate, a consulting firm specialized in blockchain and natural wellness, where she managed project teams and helped develop client relationships. Before RampRate, she studied public policy at the University of Southern California. Most notably during her time in school, Abi founded Trojan Shelter, a shelter run by USC students for college students experiencing homelessness in the Los Angeles area.
When not at work, Abi enjoys trying new up-and-coming restaurants in Southern California, taking photos, browsing TikTok, and reading.
As an Executive Assistant, Christine is responsible for supporting the NMV team in day to day scheduling and operations.
Outside of work, Christine loves to spend time with her family, hit the gym, bake and drink coffee. She is also licensed Realtor in the state of Colorado.
Daaiyah Bilal-Threats (Co-Chair)
Senior Director for Education Policy, NEA
Daaiyah Bilal-Threats is a labor, social justice and public education advocate who currently serves as the Senior Director for Education Policy at the National Education Association (NEA), America's largest labor union.
For over 20 years Daaiyah has played a critical role in helping build and secure policy advances and programs that make our schools stronger and our political system more democratic. She has advised movement leaders, run winning political campaigns, championed the cause of quality public education internationally and has helped lead some of the progressive movement’s most important organizations.
As policy lead for the nation’s most powerful union, she currently oversees NEA’s research; health and safety program; international affairs; and its policy development and advocacy arms with a focus on domestic and international education policy. In previous NEA roles she led NEA’s philanthropic giving and strategic alliance programs: bringing in external funding to enhance signature NEA programs and facilitating NEA’s strategic engagement with more than 100 key national and international partners. In 2020 she built NEA’s largest-ever independent political campaign, highlighting educators as trusted members of every community. This campaign helped create the conditions necessary to elect a new U.S. president as well as numerous federal and state candidates that supported worker rights, racial and social justice, unions, and public education.
She has worked in large-scale social change her entire career beginning with the World Wildlife Fund, American Red Cross, and the Health Information Network.
She has served in leadership positions with numerous progressive political and civic organizations. She currently serves in leadership roles with the Color of Change PAC, the American Prospect Magazine, New Media Ventures, Partnership for the Future of Learning, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
John Schwartz (Co-Chair)
John has a long background in conventional media, dating to his start in community radio. He founded Free Speech TV, the country's leading progressive television network. He also founded a group of organizations known as Voqal that provides low-cost wireless broadband service to schools and non-profit organizations. Voqal is also known for its grants program, including funding that seeded New Media Ventures.
President, BMK Consulting
Julie Kohler is the president of BMK Consulting, a philanthropic and nonprofit strategy consulting firm. With more than two decades of experience working in philanthropy, advocacy, and higher education, Julie helps clients hone strategy, strengthen partnerships, and attract resources in order to build a more inclusive economy and stronger democracy.
Before founding her consulting firm, Julie served for more than a decade as Senior Vice President and Managing Director for the Democracy Alliance, a progressive donor network, and as a fellow in residence at the National Women's Law Center. Previously, she served as Director of Education and Civic Engagement at NEO Philanthropy and as Acting Director of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s National Venture Fund.
Julie is an acclaimed writer whose articles on gender justice, policy, and politics have appeared in a wide variety of outlets, including CNN, The Washington Post, Fortune, and The Daily Beast. She is also the host of the Wonder Media Network podcast, White Picket Fence. The podcast was listed in Apple's coveted "New and Noteworthy" collection, made Luminary's list of top five recommended podcasts, and won a Communicator Award for Best Society and Culture podcast.
Julie serves on the advisory boards for several organizations, including New Media Ventures, Family Story, and the Pipeline Initiative. She has a Ph.D. in family social science from the University of Minnesota and lives in Washington, DC with her family.
President, Firedoll Foundation
Sandor Straus is the Managing Member of Tigmera, LLC and President of the Firedoll Foundation.
Sarah M. Williams
CEO, Propel Capital
Sarah is co-founder and CEO of Propel Capital, which invests in entrepreneurs, innovators, and changemakers building a more just and equitable society. Propel has deployed $50+m in blended capital (political, investment, philanthropic) and invests 100% of its assets in alignment with its mission. Portfolios include Propel Democracy to build progressive power in the US and Propel Ventures to invest in early stage social impact companies.
Previously Sarah led her own consulting firm, working with foundations, donors, and corporations to strengthen giving and impact investing strategies. She also launched and led the Pfizer Foundation, with over $320 million in assets, and worked in government and as an organizer.
Sarah worked in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in NYC, at the state level for access to health care, for various candidates for elected office, and with people and families affected by the criminal legal system. She serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Color of Change, and New Media Ventures, among others. Sarah has a B.A. from Wesleyan University, was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs, and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.
CEO, Impact Seat Foundation
Cheryl Contee is The Impact Seat Foundation’s CEO and award-winning Founder & Chair of the mission-driven digital agency Do Big Things. Cheryl is the Amazon bestselling author of Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success. Passionate about creating new tech and new narrative for a new era, Cheryl uses her vast experience in startup entrepreneurship and community engagement to lead our portfolio companies and funds to success, provide resources for underrepresented founders, and build the new economy.
Previously, Cheryl was CEO of Fission Strategy, which brought Silicon Valley startup culture to the world’s leading causes and campaigns. She’s the co-founder of Attentive.ly, the first tech startup with a black female founder to be acquired by a NASDAQ company, the National Board Chair for Netroots Nation, a Senior Advisor for Astia and the first portfolio company board member of New Media Ventures.
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Founders in the News
Blavity acquires Travel Noire, a travel and discovery platform for black millennials. — TechCrunchRead More (opens in a new window)