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Growing up in the Caribbean’s blue hued waters I learned to swim with the help of an extended hand. Using my mom as a launching pad, I would daringly leap towards my dad’s outstretched arms. On moving to Texas, a friend relayed his dad just threw him into the deep end and bellowed, “Swim.”

We all diverge on how to best offer help. Consider the racial disparities in wealth, homeownership, income, education, and health. Today, median White families possess 8 times more wealth than median Black families. Black men are incarcerated at 5 times the rate of White men. Black teenage lives are frequently traded for stand-your-ground laws.

The disparities create an imbalance in our journeys. Our individual lived experiences lead some of us to believe the best way to remediate these inequities is to let you be. Others of us have had lived experiences that instilled the value of extending a hand. Based on these facts, you might understand why determining how to help right our wrongs is hard.

So, is there a third option out there? One that both lets you be and extends a hand? An option that enlarges the pie for everyone?

Data from the US Federal Reserve suggests there’s an extra $22 trillion in wealth that we could have added to the US economic pie since 1990 had we given others a shot. For context, US GDP in 2023 is $23 trillion. GDP could have doubled in 30 years time had we all helped decrease racial and gender inequality. Imagine if you currently had double your income.

To double your wealth, data points to supporting programs that aim to increase entrepreneurship, home ownership, career certifications, and/or preventative healthcare. So as I consider the data and the four plus decades of lived experiences that shape me, this third option compels me.

Raising and investing capital in entrepreneurial ventures defines my professional path. A journey that began twenty-five years ago in Argentina on realizing the power of entrepreneurship to shape economies, drive innovation and bring hope. On this journey I've engendered friends around the world, built many businesses, blazed new trails, and filled my cup with vibrancy and empathy.

Supporting entrepreneurship programs lines up with my path. So, when the opportunity emerged to lead The PAR Fund, I lept.

The PAR Fund is a professional membership organization, a national nonprofit. Our membership believes we can reduce racial and gender inequality by advocating for and increasing capital allocations to founders who lack relationships with venture capital investors. Relationships are critical in the venture capital industry. Investors generate returns by discovering exceptional startups. The primary means of discovering these startups is through professional relationships. These networks, however, are not very diverse. Network members are related by gender, race, education, & profession. Consequently, founders who don’t relate are less likely to raise venture capital.

Historically, venture capital has allocated 10% of investable assets towards startups founded by women, Black, Latino, LGBT, and Southeast Asian entrepreneurs–the very founders we support. These founders are underrepresented within the venture space and often struggle to endure the first five years of business because they lack access to capital. Data suggests that the pathway to increased wealth is significantly greater for founders who are empowered to create and grow their businesses in the first five years compared to salaried workers.

The PAR Fund exists because our members possess and are willing to share with underrepresented founders our networks to capital allocators. We are a group of institutional investors, corporate executives and seasoned entrepreneurs committed to paying forward the opportunities others provided to us throughout our journeys. To date, we have helped founders raise $10M in capital. Collectively, we aim to foment connections between underrepresented entrepreneurs and private capital investors in order to add trillions in business revenue to the US economy, and help expand the pie.


Care to join me in my journey alongside The PAR Fund?




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San Francisco, CA and New York, NY – Nonprofit The PAR Fund announced today that its Board of Directors has unanimously agreed to appoint Jorge Robert as Executive Director.


Mr. Robert is a strategic operator specializing in early stage ventures. He has started several companies including the mission-driven, micro-investment firm Bank’d and the long/short equity fund Drescher Capital. He also led global growth initiatives and new market entry as vice president and head of marketing for Asia at T. Rowe Price International. Additionally, Mr. Robert has held leadership roles on various nonprofits boards, including Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore.


With a career spanning more than 25 years across global markets, Mr. Robert (pronounced ‘Ro-bare’) will be bringing to The PAR Fund extensive experience building and leading an early stage organization.


At The PAR Fund, Mr. Robert will set and execute a strategy that capitalizes the newly formed nonprofit organization, implement its flagship mentoring program to drive an increase in the allocation of invested capital to exceptional startups led by female and minority founders, and create significant impact for The PAR Fund’s philanthropic partners.


The PAR Fund Co-Founder and Board Chair Kojo Appenteng, said, “Mr. Robert is an authentic and widely respected business builder with significant leadership experience. He brings experience as both an operator and an investor, which will benefit the entrepreneurs and venture capital investors we work with. His perspective and skillset are global, which allows him to see an entrepreneurs’ broader vision and the impact of our work on the global economy. Given these attributes, along with his Puerto Rican heritage and natural ability to connect with others, the Board was unanimous in its determination that he was the right leader to drive The PAR Fund forward.”


Incoming The PAR Fund Executive Director Jorge Robert, said, “I am thrilled to join The PAR Fund, a premier nonprofit with a world-class Board committed to catalyzing impact. When we connect venture capital networks to startups founded by women and people of color, we unlock a larger opportunity set of investments from which to drive better venture returns. We capitalize innovation that benefits all of our well-being. And we also actively improve the rate at which marginalized founders succeed five years post launch, and increase the probability that they realize upward economic mobility.”


Jilea Hemmings, an entrepreneur that The Par Fund has served, commented on the nonprofit’s impact, “The organization has been an invaluable partner for Nourish + Bloom Market as we sought to raise capital and grow our business. With their expert guidance, we were able to refine our pitch deck and craft a compelling narrative that resonated with investors. Their team was incredibly responsive and provided us with valuable feedback and insights every step of the way. They made warm introductions to a number of highly reputable investors and their support and expertise were instrumental in helping us achieve our goals.”


Mr. Robert added, “We are constantly sourcing brilliant entrepreneurs like Jilea Hemmings. I believe there is a tremendous opportunity to help our portfolio of founders continue to raise much needed capital, generate revenues and create thousands of new jobs. I’m excited to work closely with the Board to create a major impact in the venture industry.”



Mr. Robert Biography


Jorge Robert, 47, is a strategic operator specialized in early stage ventures. He joined The PAR Fund Board in 2021 and has since served as strategic adviser to its portfolio companies.


From 2017-2020, Mr. Robert founded Bank’d, a mission-driven, registered micro-investment firm. From 2016-2017, he led philanthropic partnership development and fundraising as Head of Development at D-Rev, a user-centered design nonprofit. From 2015-2016, Mr. Robert served as Chief Operating Officer at Drescher Capital where he supported the launch of a long/short equity hedge fund. From 2012-2015, Mr. Robert was Founder and Managing Director of BlackFire Partners, a strategic advisory firm where he consulted mission-driven companies on global strategy, capital raising and growth. From 2007-2012, he led global growth initiatives and new market entry as Vice President and Head of Marketing for Asia at T Rowe Price International. Prior to that, he invested in growing Latin American energy, transportation, finance, and telecom companies as a credit analyst for DC-based Latin American economic development banks. He advised and grew global social impact ventures in partnership with the UN, Endeavor, Ashoka, and Opportunity International. He began his career as a strategy consultant at Arthur Andersen and then a marketing strategist at Wells Fargo Private Client Services.


Mr. Robert gained insights into what connects and engages people by having lived in China, Argentina and Brazil. He earned his BA at Yale where he won the Master’s Prize for exceptional leadership. He earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he co-founded the Kellogg Microfinance Initiative. He is a native Spanish speaker, conversational in Portuguese, and has basic Mandarin language skills. Originally from Puerto Rico, Mr. Robert now resides in San Francisco with his wife and three children.



About the PAR Fund


The PAR Fund helps unlock the full range of investment opportunities by sourcing exceptional entrepreneurs found outside traditional venture networks. Members of the national nonprofit facilitate founders' access to private capital networks and business partnerships. Its philanthropic partners catalyze a reduction in the racial equity gap by improving the probability a traditionally overlooked founder builds a company with the exponential, long-term growth needed to propel upward economic mobility. Founded in 2019 by Wall Street executives and seasoned entrepreneurs who are all Kellogg alumni of color, The PAR Fund serves as a vehicle to pay forward the opportunities others provided to them.




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