Executive Director, GreenLight Fund Philadelphia
Omar Woodard is the Executive Director of GreenLight Fund Philadelphia, a nonprofit venture capital firm that works at the intersection of community need and social innovation.
GreenLight Fund Philadelphia is a member of the national GreenLight Fund network. In each of the nine cities where the firm serves, a local team seeks to understand the most urgent challenges facing low-income children and families.
“In Philadelphia, we spend the first three months of the year having conversations with individuals experiencing poverty,” says Woodard, “and we’re very clear that the needs that we’re solving for are for individuals that are experiencing poverty.”
Once priorities are identified, GreenLight Fund surveys the country in search of nonprofits that are best suited to make a transformative impact around those needs. They invest funding, time, and strategic assistance to ensure the organizations that they select develop strong community connections and are aptly positioned to produce meaningful change.
GreenLight Fund’s support continues over time and they measure the effectiveness of their investments, sharing that information with investors, partners and the local community.
Currently, GreenLight Fund Philadelphia supports a portfolio of local initiatives, which includes: The Center for Employment Opportunities, Compass Working Capital, ParentChild+, Year Up, and Single Stop.
“We feel confident that as long as we continue to focus on what’s important, which is framing the needs, engaging with individuals experiencing poverty, and authentically synthesizing what those needs are, we think that is an increasingly powerful deliverable for the City of Philadelphia,” says Woodard
Prior to his work with GreenLight, Woodard was a principal at Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic investment firm where he co-managed a $20M portfolio to achieve social impact across education, youth development, and health. In addition to his leadership work at GreenLight Fund today, he also teaches at the Temple University's Fox School of Business and serves as a board member for the Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia, the Global Philadelphia Association, the Maternity Care Coalition, and the Girard College Foundation.
In this episode, Woodard talks about GreenLight Fund Philadelphia’s model and approach, how early life experiences guided him towards a career in philanthropy, how COVID-19 is impacting the community that GreenLight Fund Philadelphia serves, and what Philadelphia needs from leadership to pull itself through the distress of this current moment.