Letter from President
Dear Prospective Board Member,
On behalf of Gray Matters Capital’s Board of Directors, thank you for expressing an interest in becoming a Board candidate. Over the past 15 years, Gray Matters Capital (GMC) has developed a notable reputation of being a catalytic, early-stage impact investor and social enterprise venture builder across emerging markets with legacy roots embedded in microfinance and education.
We are excited to share that to date there have been $144 Million in investments made by Gray Matters Capital, across our School Finance Portfolio, edLABS, coLABS, and Calibrator initiatives. These investments have directly impacted 41 different companies across the globe, reaching over 21 Million lives.
As we conclude our Founder’s recent succession and enter the early phases of refining our strategy to better align with our mission of “Finding Purpose of 100 Million Women”, we recognize the importance of enhancing the overall governance and leadership of GMC. The work of the board helps to guide the path that ultimately shapes the future of GMC. To take forward such an ambitious mandate, we need committed, purposeful directors to provide the will and foresight to take on this challenge.
GMC relies on our globally dispersed and growing team, including investment professionals, program directors, operational and administrative staff, and special project consultants, to manage the organization’s day-to-day functions. As a policy-oriented Board, the GMC Board focuses on supporting the CEO, strategic planning, financial oversight, impact, organizational, and risk assessment as described in further detail in the attached Board job description. Our criteria for new board members seek to expand our capabilities in those areas. We will strengthen our connection with gender-forward ventures, prospect co-investment partners, impact-aligned corporate partners, and other impact organizations that can help us pursue our mission.
We foresee four significant opportunities for the Board of Directors to pursue in the coming years:
The development and approval of a three-year strategic plan that expands our brand and impact beyond our legacy investments roots; shapes our future investment mandate and accelerates our impact path to 100M women.
The planning and expansion of the Board of Directors and appointment of new members.
Establishing core board committees and appointment of additional Investment Committee members.
Developing a long-term succession plan for the CEO/President.
The following material is intended to provide additional information about our history, the Board of Directors’ roles and responsibilities, annual time commitment, and our process for considering Board of Director prospects and nominations. We also invite you to explore the links below to learn more about our history and current initiatives:
We appreciate your time and consideration of this opportunity to join in our mission.
Always looking forward,
CEO & President and Board of Directors Chairman, Gray Matters Capital
Gray Matters Capital Board Member Job Description
Our Mission and History
Gray Matters Capital (GMC) is a nonprofit impact investor that takes bets on extraordinary social entrepreneurs committed to improving the lives of women and girls in underserved markets. GMC was formed in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, by founder and entrepreneur Bob Pattillo. Our mission is to achieve "Finding purpose with 100 Million Women by 2036."
With such a grand and ambitious mission, we have defined purpose as the joyous discovery of things that are inspired within us and the realization of pathways to get there. We expect that this definition will evolve in years to come as we journey alongside women and learn from them. Over the next five to ten years, we’ve set our sights on discovering and investing in pathways for women and girls to get to where they are going next - in education, the workforce, and other critical areas of their lives that are key to their long-term health and financial stability. We will do this by investing capital, resources, and knowledge into highly scalable, gender-forward ventures and funds across emerging markets. We believe the convergence of profit and purpose will be essential to our achievement of creating lasting impact.
As a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation, GMC utilizes Program Related Investments (PRIs) to create a sustainable impact in the developing world and use international subsidiaries and various entities to ensure a tax-efficient structure and best practices from an international operating standpoint. To date, GMC has brilliantly and strategically invested over $150 million in ventures and initiatives that have helped make education accessible to low-income markets and make strides towards greater gender equality. GMC’s independent Investment Committee and team of extraordinary professionals has led our portfolio companies to collectively reach millions across India, Africa, and Latin America by creating affordable education products, innovative services, and by providing access to capital. Our history includes starting Gray Ghost Ventures, the Short-Term Liquidity Fund, Gray Ghost Microfinance Fund, GGV Doen Cooperative, First Light Ventures, Indian School Finance Company, Gray Matters School Rating System, Gray Matters Kenya, Village Capital, EdFin Microfinance Bank in Nigeria, Taleem Finance Company in Pakistan and the IDEX Global Fellowship. Current initiatives underway include coLABS’ Impact Fund and Calibrator’s Accelerator Program.
Our Impact to Date
As first movers in many markets, the dynamic nature of our activities requires a consistent refinement of our processes and procedures for measuring the impact of our present and future investments. Below are a few financial and impact metrics of GMC’s collective efforts to date.
coLabs: Investing in boundary-pushing innovation that demonstrably impacts women and girls at scale.
$2.5 in investments managed by coLABS in eight countries across three geographies - Asia, Africa, & South America.
1.29 M women have been directly impacted by coLABS portfolio companies in sectors as diverse as agri-tech, healthcare, and livelihoods.
20,000 jobs have been created of which approx. 90% of the beneficiaries are women thus, improving their incomes and creating sustainable futures.
Calibrator: A 6-month blended accelerator program for mobile EdTech startups aimed at improving user engagement.
17 companies accelerated by the Calibrator program since its launch in 2018.
$5.23 million raised by cohorts as post-program investments from various "non-GMC" venture capitals.
3 million women impacted by Calibrator cohort companies.
School Finance Portfolio: Promoting global education finance across South Asia, East Asia, and Pakistan.
$30 Million in investments managed across three countries-Pakistan, Nigeria, and India.
7125 school customers actively supported by the School Finance Portfolio since its launch in November 2019.
$2.24 Million female student lives impacted by investments to date.
To learn more about our work, visit www.graymatterscap.com.
The Future of GMC
After fourteen years of impactful service, Bob Pattillo has decided to embark on a journey outside of his passion for impact investing and unceasing love for GMC. As of October 2019, Erika Norwood has succeeded Mr. Pattillo as the company’s President & CEO.
Erika Norwood continues to hold the mission and vision of GMC close to her heart. We are at an exciting point in our journey of shifting from a founder-centric foundation to a mission-centric organization that continues to take risks, invest in innovative solutions, and co-create with the customers we aim to serve while building infrastructure across the organization that will take our company into the future.
Board Composition, Roles and Responsibilities
Current & Future Board Structure:
GMC currently has a two-member board consisting of (1) Our President & CEO as a standing board director and Chair of the Board and (2) one director that has been appointed and named by the Founder. GMC has established an independent Investment Committee, in which its members are appointed and approved by the Board of Directors, to guide investment-related decisions including overall investment strategies, investment, and divestment policies, and larger-scale investment transactions.
Our desire is to grow to a five-member board in an effort to create a board more independent from the Founder and establish three board sub-committees: Nominations & Governance Committee, Audit Committee, and Compensation Committee. We anticipate that sub-committees will be chaired by board directors and committee members will include a mix of board members, internal GMC team members, and external advisors and industry practitioners.
Board Member Roles and Responsibilities
Board Governance Roles and Responsibilities
Assist the President and board chair in identifying and recruiting other Board Members.
Ensure GMC’s commitment to a diverse board and staff that reflects the goals and initiatives of GMC.
Serve on committees and take on special assignments.
Review the board’s performance annually and take steps to improve its performance.
Organization Oversight Roles and Responsibilities
Ensure the organization has a clear vision, mission, values, ethos, and strategic direction.
Approve the mechanisms for measuring GMC’s impact and review and approve annual reports to evaluate impact and financial effectiveness.
Support the GMC’s Strategic Planning process by identifying priorities, establishing goals and objectives, finding resources, and allocating funds as necessary.
Oversee the execution of the Strategic Plan and monitor its implementation.
Provide financial oversight and oversee long-term financial planning
Approving the organization’s annual operating budget and ensuring that necessary financial controls are in place for audit reports, business decisions, and sustainability.
Conduct or contribute to the President’s performance review and evaluation and approval of the President’s compensation.
Approve relevant governance policies including the Code of Conduct.
Review and approve GMC’s annual audit and 990.
Participation Roles and Responsibilities
Review meeting agenda and meeting materials prior to Board and Committee meetings.
Advocate for GMC to stakeholders by clearly articulating GMC’s mission, PRI accomplishments, and venture and ecosystem building to expand visibility and deepen network understanding of GMC’s position in the industry.
Contribute 20 days of board service annually: Attend quarterly board meetings, 3-4 special meetings, retreats. Quarterly Board Meetings (approx. 3 hours) and Special Meetings (Approx. 1-2 hours)
Travel to meet with specific investees once per year (to resume with international travel bans lift)
Core Legal Responsibilities
Duty of Care: Members are committed to following through on promises and assisting the organization to the best of their abilities. Actively stays informed and is prepared to participate in decision-making and oversight.
Duty of Loyalty: Be prepared to place organizational objectives above self-interest and avoid conflict of interest situations.
Duty of Obedience: Understand and support the mission of GMC, and comply with governing documents, including bylaws and code of conduct. Comply with state and federal laws governing foundations and nonprofit organizations, including registration and reporting requirements.
Board Terms and Time Commitment
GMC Board Members will serve a 2-year term and up to 3 consecutive 2-year terms. The board has a quarterly meeting cadence. Currently, all board meetings are virtual; however, at least one board meeting will be in-person annually once regular travel resumes.
Complete the GMC Board of Directors orientation process.
Attend and actively participate in at least 75 percent of board meetings and in committee meetings and related work.
Represent the Board of Directors at special events (local and/or national).
Assist with new board member orientation and provide mentoring services to new Directors, as requested.
Meet with potential investors/network contacts to make a case for supporting or collaborating with the organization, answering questions, etc.
As the GMC board is expanding, in the future, Directors will be asked to become members of a Board Committees (e.g., Audit), where appropriate. This may represent additional responsibility and time commitment.
Commit to up to 20 days of board service annually including quarterly board meetings, special meetings, strategic planning meetings, organizational knowledge acquisition, and portfolio investee travel as necessary.