Stand Together Foundation announces $750,000 investment in RiseKit to help break employment barriers

Stand Together Foundation announced a $750,000 investment in RiseKit, a technology startup that aims to remove employment barriers for underserved communities. RiseKit connects underemployed job candidates to careers, training, and resources while providing valuable analytics for employers, nonprofits, and grantmakers.  

Individuals in our communities are seeking fulfilling career paths but must navigate a fragmented and complex network of resources to make progress. To combat this, RiseKit created a single platform connecting users to a breadth of career and social resources, like transportation, housing, and childcare, while also collecting valuable outcome data to understand what’s most effective. With the investment from Stand Together Foundation, announced on October 8, RiseKit will be able to quickly ramp up growth in core markets and aims to expand into more than 50 new markets by 2025. The goal: to help millions of individuals who come from underrepresented communities across the United States by building predictive career and resource suggestions to make it easier for them to find and stay in a fulfilling career path.  

People looking for employment need more than just a job board, which can be overwhelming and time-consuming, and limits career opportunities based on their history or zip code. RiseKit provides access to case managers, career coaches, and employers that can help job seekers navigate a career path successfully, without unjustly disqualifying them.  

Not only is the technology a valuable tool for job seekers, but also for nonprofits, employers, grantmakers, and city governments looking to build strong communities where everyone can find meaningful work. The software provides valuable insight into their communities and helps to hire often overlooked local talent.  

Since 2016, Stand Together Foundation has partnered with the country’s most effective nonprofits to help accelerate their work and maximize their impact with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. Stand Together Ventures Lab, which is supporting the foundation’s investment in RiseKit, works with ventures that are driving bold innovations with the potential for high impact and scale. Both organizations support entrepreneurs with community-driven solutions to help people create fulfilling lives through satisfying work and local engagement, making this partnership a natural fit.  

“We believe that each and every person has unique gifts to offer the world, and we are eager to find new ways of helping individuals experiencing poverty discover their talents to contribute and rise. RiseKit offers a compelling new model to help connect those struggling to find opportunities with meaningful work,” said Evan Feinberg, executive director of Stand Together Foundation. 

RiseKit has proven the viability of its platform and business model in the Chicago area, adding more than 1,250 individual users and signing deals with more than 16 partner institutions to provide job opportunities. Akia Young, a RiseKit user living in Indiana, used the software to find a job and housing in Chicago. Through the platform, she was able to get a job at Apple. 

Another user had difficulty finding a job after coming out of prison. He found RiseKit through a Chicago nonprofit called Teamwork Englewood and was able to move from part-time work to full-time work, which lead to a promotion. He accredits this achievement to RiseKit because of the resume building and other employment support he received. 

RiseKit is led by a team of social entrepreneurs who are dedicated to helping overlooked communities thrive. While volunteering at workforce development organizations, co-founder and CEO Matt Strauss learned how difficult it was for Chicagoans to navigate the path to employment. Those experiences led Matt and his team to build RiseKit — a platform that now has more than 300 employer and NGO accounts, and has helped over 1,200 jobs seekers either find employment or get connected to workforce training programs.  

“Poverty and access to jobs is a complex problem,” Strauss said. “With the use of predictive analytics, we will be able to transform the way unemployed and underemployed job seekers understand what it takes to get and maintain a job while creating more trust in the ecosystem of supporting schools, training providers, employers, government systems, and foundations.” 

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