Impact Ventures Wins the Dallas Foundation’s Annual Pegasus Prize

For the first time, the Dallas Foundation is using the $50K Pegasus Prize to go toward dismantling structural barriers that entrepreneurs of color face when trying to access capital.

The Dallas Foundation, which was the first community foundation in Texas established in 1929, has chosen Impact Ventures as this year’s winner of its Pegasus Prize. 

Through the Pegasus Prize, The Dallas Foundation intends to celebrate organizations that are applying new ways to solve ongoing problems for residents of Dallas County.

Dallas-based Impact Ventures is a nonprofit dedicated to creating more diverse and inclusive ecosystems. With the $50,000 that accompanies the Pegasus Prize, the organization plans to continue building its capital model, which challenges traditional financial markets.

Formerly known as Impact House, Impact Ventures was founded in 2017 by Benjamin Vann to close the income and wealth gap for minorities and women via tech career pathways, inclusive entrepreneurship, and capital investment. Last year, Vann and his team launched a new 12-week accelerator dedicated to assisting underrepresented communities looking to break into the tech industry.

It was widely praised as “North Texas’ first minority-focused startup accelerator program.”

The 12-week, mission-driven accelerator wrapped its first cohort this past spring, providing quality education, community, access to high-level mentorship, and more to women, minority, or social impact entrepreneurs. (You can meet those startups here).

Impact Ventures winning the Pegasus Prize is monumental, as it’s the first time the grant dollars are going toward dismantling structural barriers that entrepreneurs of color face when trying to access capital, according to the Dallas Foundation.

The Pegasus Prize is a premier award and social innovation grant that traditionally goes to nonprofit and for-profit organizations with a charitable purpose. Hybrid organizations that have applied innovative approaches to addressing community needs have also won in the past.

Impact Ventures hopes to use the funding to continue creating “more flexible integrative capital for minority-owned businesses, not bound to credit scores and collateral.” So far, Vann and his team have trained more than 125 entrepreneurs to create 46 new jobs and raise more than $458,000.

More than 70 professional mentors and Fortune 500 companies assist in the accelerator program, community events and workshops, and social-impact themed hackathons.

“Impact Ventures is immensely thankful to The Dallas Foundation and the Pegasus Prize committee for naming our organization as this year’s award recipient,” Vann said in a statement. “The grant awarded to Impact Ventures by The Dallas Foundation will allow us to jump start a $10 million effort to fund undercapitalized minority-owned businesses that increase household income, create local jobs, and close a 228 year wealth gap right here in North Texas.”

The Pegasus Prize has kickstarted several groundbreaking organizations in the past as an early investor, including Bonton Farms, After8toEducate, Yoga N Da Hood, and 2S Industries. According to the Dallas Foundation, Impact Ventures was selected as this year’s recipient based on its dedication to developing women and minority small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The Pegasus Prize also awarded two more grants of $10K to two additional nonprofits. The recipients were a joint venture between NPower Texas and Per Scholas, for their technology Help Desk, and AES Literacy Institute for its self-paced educational experience.

“The Dallas Foundation is proud to announce Impact Ventures as the winner of this year’s Pegasus Prize,” Matthew Randazzo, CEO of The Dallas Foundation, said in a statement. “The Dallas Foundation is committed to driving genuine change and impact across North Texas, and we are thrilled with the work Impact Ventures has done so far—and will continue to do—in furthering entrepreneurship for all in our region.”

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