What is PRIME
PRIME Coalition is a 501c3 public charity that partners with philanthropists to invest charitable capital in extraordinary companies that combat climate change, have a high likelihood of achieving commercial success, and would otherwise have a difficult time raising sufficient financial support.
We believe that philanthropists hold a critical key to unlocking commercial products and services that can help avoid catastrophic climate change at scale. Since PRIME’s founding in 2014, we’ve facilitated charitable investments with over fifty philanthropic partners, most of whom had never used a recoverable grant or program-related investment before and some of whom had never designed an intervention for mitigation climate change. Our goal is to encourage as many philanthropists as possible to join our tribe – 1% of annual grantmaking from U.S. private foundations alone would eclipse traditional venture capital for climate-relevant companies globally.
PRIME’s long-term success will be measured by our portfolio companies’ impact on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. In the short-term, our success is defined by the number of first-time philanthropic investors and first-time climate investors we mobilize. We run four core programs to accomplish our goals:
Deal by Deal Investment Syndication
We scour the U.S. for extraordinary investment opportunities that are optimized for climate impact, attractiveness to follow-on investors, and fitness for charitable capital.
PRIME Impact Fund
We established the PRIME Impact Fund in 2018 to better serve philanthropists and companies alike. The PRIME Impact Fund diverges from traditional venture capital funds in terms of timeline, corporate form, returns expectation, compensation of staff, and investment criteria prioritization, where climate impact is paramount above all else. The Fund supports the same companies that PRIME has offered on a deal by deal basis, but is an opportunity for grantors to have exposure to a portfolio of companies with one disbursement decision.
Climate Impact Assessment
Our team is working to improve the tools available for early-stage investors assessing climate impact, including PRIME itself. Phase I of this program produced a methodology to estimate “Emissions Reduction Potential” or “ERP” for companies that are not yet deploying products in the field. Phase II imagines using the ERP methodology to build a software tool that will reduce cost, labor and expertise requirements for a wide range of early-stage investors interested to reduce global GHG.
Building a Marketplace for Philanthropic Investing
Since PRIME’s founding in 2014, we have learned about the mechanics of charitable investing by doing many complex transactions. This program endeavors to share what we’ve learned, lower the barriers to charitable investing for others, and suggest best practices.
Today, there are three ways for philanthropists to join in with PRIME:
• make an operating grant to support our team and core programs
• make a program-related investment, recoverable grant, or traditional grant, which PRIME can use in connection with one of the specific companies we support
• make a program-related investment, recoverable grant, or traditional grant as a capital commitment to our Impact Fund