Livelihoods Announce FAQ

Here are responses to some of the most common questions we’ve received about the announcement of Unitus Lab’s new strategic partnership with Unitus Impact . Also, see Creating Livelihood Opportunities project.

Q: What did Unitus Labs announce regarding livelihoods?

Unitus Labs announced that it is investing in a new initiative to bring improved income-generating opportunities to millions of people battling poverty.  Unitus Labs is partnering with Unitus Impact Partners LLC (“Unitus Impact”), a new early-stage impact investing firm focused on creating new or improving existing livelihood opportunities at significant scale.

Q: Is Unitus Labs’s mission changing?

No. Unitus Labs’s (and the Unitus Family‘s) mission continues to center on reducing global poverty through economic self-empowerment. What’s new is our new investment commitment to generating new or improving existing livelihood opportunities, or what we like to call “livelihood acceleration.”

Q: Why focus on livelihoods? Why now? What are your strategies?

Unitus Labs believes that creating livelihood opportunities has the same or greater potential to reduce global poverty than Unitus Lab’s previous investment in microfinance acceleration. Unitus Labs also believes that livelihood acceleration is an area that is currently underserved and provides a strong opportunity for Unitus Labs to have a catalytic role in developing and validating new market-based solutions and business models in order to attract other organizations and investors to the space. More about Creating Livelihood Opportunities >

Q: What is the role/structure of the Unitus Labs going forward?

Unitus Labs will primarily function as a funder of mission-related early-stage initiatives and projects. To increase efficiency, Unitus Labs will outsource most activities including fundraising, programs, marketing, professional services and back office support. Unitus Labs will have very few employees working primarily through professional contractors and partnerships. Unitus Labs’s board will continue to approve and monitor strategies, projects and budgets to pursue and achieve its mission and goals. More about the Unitus Family >

Q: What is Unitus Impact?

Unitus Impact Partners LLC (“Unitus Impact”) is a new early-stage impact investing firm focused on creating improved livelihood opportunities to millions of people battling poverty in developing markets.  Its operating activities include fundraising, market research, investment due diligence and investment management. More about Unitus Impact >

Q: What is the difference between Unitus Labs and Unitus Impact?

Unitus Labs is a non-profit based in Seattle. Unitus Impact is a for-profit impact investing firm based in San Francisco.

Q: What is relationship between Unitus Labs and Unitus Impact?

The strategic partnership between Unitus Labs* and Unitus Impact is outlined as follows:

  • Unitus Impact provides services to Unitus Labs including fundraising, investment research, investment implementation, investment management and strategic advisory
  • Unitus Labs receives a portion of investment management fees and future profit share from investments in livelihood ventures managed by Unitus Impact
  • Unitus Labs has an option to invest in all Unitus Impact projects
  • Unitus Labs Board reviews and signs off on all Unitus Impact investments

* NOTE: The strategic contractual relationship is between Unitus Investment Management, a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit controlled by Unitus Labs, and Unitus Impact. More about Unitus Investment Management >

Q: Are Unitus Labs board members investing in new livelihoods ventures?

Yes.  Many members of the Unitus Labs Board are planning to be lead investors in livelihood ventures.  However, Board Members will not personally benefit from these investments. In order to remove any potential conflict of interest, personal benefit or private inurement, Unitus Labs Board Members will only invest through charitable vehicles such as foundations or donor advised funds.