Igniting Social Impact with Rosemarie Truman

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Julie Davitz
social impact
February 18, 2022 11:39:00 AM EST


Working in the social impact space for over twenty years has brought me great joy, but also a good amount of frustration. Access to the most effective, efficient solutions—whether nonprofit or private equity investments—was only available to individuals, foundations, institutions with connections or capital… and most often both.

I launched Plus Media Solutions (+Media) in large part to democratize this access. We cannot solve the world's greatest challenges—well-framed by the 17 UNSDGs—with philanthropic capital, public institutions or private investment alone. In order to truly move the needle on positive social impact, we must scale engagement.

Enter +Media.

+Media partners with inspiring content to move audiences from passive viewing to active engagement. Awareness-raising is everywhere these days. In fact, there is so much awareness that we are experiencing compassion fatigue. To combat this, +Media brings audiences immediate, appropriate calls-to-action at the moment of inspiration, going beyond the typical donation and volunteer options. In addition to opportunities to give and volunteer, we include options to invest, sign petitions, listen to podcasts, read books, take courses, or even apply for jobs.

Rosemarie Truman, Founder and CEO of Ignite Social Impact, has been a wonderful partner as I work on launching +Media. Ignite Social Impact offers the perfect conduit for Plus Media Solutions, Inc.’s investment opportunities. Now, thanks to Ignite, everyone can invest in a social entrepreneur without accredited investor classification (over $1M net worth, as required by private equity). Recently, I spoke with Rosemarie to learn more about how the landscape of funding and entrepreneurship can—and should—transform.

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Communities today want more options. Consumers demand immediate gratification. The world is looking for new paths to improve. It's time for a fresh impact campaign plan. Learn more about +Media’s campaign here on Ignite Social Impact.

Women founders account for just 2% of all venture capital funding. How do you want to see the industry transform to allow for greater diversity, inclusion and equity for women entrepreneurs? 

There are some steps being taken already by the Nasdaq to require diversity; this should be extended to Regulation Crowdfunding as well as Regulation D, especially 506B. That’s why the new Nasdaq listing rules, approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 6, 2021, are likely to have an outsized impact on the corporate governance world in a way that previous legislative mandates have not achieved completely. 

The rule requires most Nasdaq-listed boards (other than exempt entities and companies with boards consisting of five or fewer members) to have at least one woman in addition to at least one member of any gender from underrepresented groups defined by race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. In lieu of compliance, Nasdaq-listed companies can explain why they cannot or will not meet these requirements in public disclosure.

According to the SEC’s order, “the Board Diversity Proposal would establish a disclosure-based framework that would make consistent and comparable statistics widely available to investors… [which] are currently not widely available…even though the Exchange and many commenters argue that this type of information is important to investors.”

Under rule 506(b), issuers of securities are exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act for unlimited-size offerings. However, to qualify under this rule, the securities that are being offered can only be bought by accredited investors and no more than thirty-five unaccredited investors.

Why social impact? Why is it important for Ignite to focus on organizations with a social impact lens to their work? 

Under-represented minorities are under-estimated and under-employed, but they could make a significant impact with more funding. Case in point: women founders secured only 2% of venture capital in the U.S. in 2021, the smallest share since 2016.

Moreover, social change takes time. The UN SDGs were put in place and were to be achieved by 2030. This timeline has easily been pushed back by 10-20 years given the loss of progress we are experiencing during the pandemic.

What do you see as technology’s role in promoting positive social change and advancing the SDGs?

Every year in the U.S., we spend between $140-$160 billion in R&D. Technology is foundational to all the SDGs like, for example, clean water. If you take NASA as an example, they have created more than 20 water-related cleaning inventions. At Ignite Social Impact, we work with over 170,000 technologies across more than 150 institutions.

Rosemarie Truman is the co-founder and CEO of Ignite Social Impact. A self-described “startup catalyst, growth strategist, seasoned entrepreneur, and investor,” Truman founded Ignite Social Impact to establish a crowd equity funding portal for US-based "Tech for Good" startups with social impact in order to democratize impact investing. Ignite Social Impact showcases a wealth of innovative startups addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unlike donation platforms (like GoFundMe), each investment through Ignite Social Impact entitles crowd funders to equity, revenue sharing, and other potential returns.