2021

Community
Update

01 — Looking Back

2020 in Numbers

42
Virtual events
Compared to 10 or fewer in-person events in previous years
A collection of Zoom profiles in one big screenshot
A collection of Zoom profiles in one big screenshot
393
Virtual Summit Attendees
The largest attended Summit to date
Cover art for the Virtual Summit
Cover art for the Virtual Summit
500K+
Readers and listeners of our covid-19 content
50x greater reach than any other previous Praxis content resource
50%
Increase in mentor engagement
Through virtual Accelerator and Academy events
$108M
Placed in portfolio ventures by praxis community to date
38%
Of praxis Fellows committed to rule of life
Cover Art for a Rule of Life
Cover Art for a Rule of Life
44
Total countries where our portfolio ventures have on the ground operations
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
$355M
Total revenue of ventures in praxis portfolio in 2019
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
5,057
Full time jobs provided by praxis portfolio ventures
A net job loss of only 1% from last year, despite the pandemic
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
191
Active business and nonprofit ventures in our portfolio (including 2021 classes)
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
94%
Survival rate of portfolio ventures (including acquisitions)
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
A map showing Praxis' global sphere of influence
A group of Praxis fellows talk together while seated around an outdoor firepit.

The Praxis team also pivoted in unexpected ways; and through it all, we've been incredibly blessed by the opportunities to walk alongside our community through both the good and the difficult.

Read more from our CEO & Co-Founder Dave Blanchard in the annual Letter to the Community.

A whirlwind
02 — community reflection

A Letter From Dave

This year has weakened and 
wounded everyone.

We’ve lost the embodied presence of our church communities, the “normal” rhythms of our organizational lives, and the bustle of our cities. Many have lost or nearly lost loved ones. For us in the United States we see it as divided as it’s ever been in our lifetimes; and we have had to confront injustices head-on that we all wish were not so deeply entrenched in our society. We have sometimes doubted our ability to create meaningful impact—feeling we are too small, too few, too slow, too late.

Despite being a perennial optimist, at times this year I’ve struggled to maintain hope that in this moment, light can triumph over darkness, unity can triumph over division, justice can triumph over brokenness. And while we on the Praxis team can gratefully say that our work has continued to flourish, it is hard to say that is true of us as individuals on any given day.

It has indeed been a year of deep challenges.These are the times when we most need a demonstration of the gospel, as Trueblood puts it—first among us, and then through us. We need God’s power to be “made perfect in [our] weakness” (2 Cor. 9). When our nation’s discord over issues of race compels us to practice what we’ve always been saying was true: that sometimes we are the ones who need to repent and repair.

Andy, Bernard, & Justin

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Andy Muhich
Andy Muhich
Vice President

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Bernard Worthy & Justin Straight
Bernard Worthy & Justin Straight
Co-Founders

A THOROUGH AND MUTUAL DISCERNMENT PROCESS RESULTED IN A FRUITFUL PARTNERSHIP.

In 2018, Co-Founders Bernard Worthy and Justin Straight joined the Praxis Business Accelerator with their fintech company, LoanWell. Their mission is to create wealth generation opportunities through better access to cheaper capital. In early February, after learning they were trying to close a $600K convertible note round, we introduced Bernard and Justin to Andy Muhich.

We had witnessed Andy’s spirit-led and patient approach to partnership in his support of Oye Waddell, a 2019 Nonprofit Fellow leading Hustle PHX. Andy had reached out to Praxis in June 2019 with a desire to shape his family office around redemptive principles. The Muhich Family office recently decided to focus their mission on funding small businesses led by entrepreneurial people of color.

Soon Andy and the LoanWell team began mutually discerning the possibility of financial partnership. The three met several times, praying and seeking counsel from others in the Praxis community. In April, Andy and his team committed to a $300K investment, making them the largest investor in LoanWell’s round. Andy shared “I was surprised at how deep we went in such a short time together. My respect for them grew enormously because of how vulnerable they were with me. It spoke a lot to their trust(worthiness) and that they want real partnership.”

Through the support of the Muhich Family Office, Bernard and Justin have continued using technology to provide access to capital for those who have been left out. In their largest program, the North Carolina Rapid Recovery program, 65% of loans have been made to Historically Underutilized Businesses to date. Andy also recently became a Charlotte Guild Co-Founder, and the Praxis partnerships are helping him uncover the redemptive opportunity around access-limited communities hyper-local to the Charlotte Guild.

Blanca & Hadiyah

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Blanca Burch
Blanca Burch
Student

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Hadiyah Mujhid
Hadiyah Mujhid
Founder

A PRAXIS SUMMER OF LEARNING AND CONNECTIONS OPENED UP NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR BLANCA.

This summer, Blanca Burch went through Academy Venture after learning about the program from Leah Hernandez, a long-time Praxis Academy champion and Host Team member. Through the program, Blanca learned from established practitioners in the Praxis community and grew her imagination of how to build her venture in a redemptive way. Culturally Kreative publishes children’s books that better represent people of color, beginning with their recent release of Who Has Hair Like Mine?

During one Academy session, Blanca recognized Hadiyah Mujhid, Founder of HBCUvc, on the list of mentors because she had been following HBCUvc’s programs for some time. HBCUvc selects college-aged Fellows enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities based on their high potential for leadership and a demonstrated commitment to shifting the narrative of entrepreneurship and venture capital.

After a productive roundtable discussion, Blanca emailed Hadiyah to thank her and  share her intention of applying to the HBCUvc fellowship program. Hadiyah warmly encouraged her to do so and to keep in touch.

Earlier this fall, HBCUvc welcomed their fourth class of Fellows into the program, including Blanca! During the virtual welcoming and onboarding retreat, Blanca and Hadiyah had a chance to catch up during a one-on-one session. Blanca was so surprised that Hadiyah remembered her from their exchange during Academy and was thankful for the warm way Hadiyah welcomed her into HBCUvc.

With the Redemptive Frame in mind, Blanca is looking forward to the HBCUvc Fellowship, where she’ll learn how to help less-connected communities get access to capital in the future. In both her own venture and future ventures she hopes to support, she’s excited to go beyond the exploitative and ethical in pursuit of the redemptive edge. She’s especially passionate about supporting ventures in education technology to help bridge the education gap in the country.

Johnmark, Hudson, & Sarah

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Johnmark Oudersluys
Johnmark Oudersluys
Executive Director

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Hudson Baird & Sarah Saxton-Frump
Hudson Baird & Sarah Saxton-Frump
Co-Founders

PRAXIS ALUMNI LAUNCH A NEW JOINT PROGRAM DURING THE PANDEMIC.

Earlier this year, as they were each contemplating a sabbatical policy for their organizations, Johnmark Oudersluys of CityLink Center was introduced to Hudson Baird of PelotonU by Jena Lee Nardella of Praxis. Through that conversation, the two learned more about each other’s work. Johnmark was intrigued by PelotonU’s innovative model that made college degrees accessible to non-traditional students. As CityLink’s model uses partnerships to create a hub of social services for neighbors in need, Johnmark expressed interest in exploring a local implementation of PelotonU programs in Cincinnati. Hudson introduced Johnmark to his Co-Founder Sarah Saxton-Frump, who outlined their typical path for a replication site.

Then the pandemic hit. PelotonU quickly pivoted to provide remote coaching and were seeing strong results. Johnmark reached out to Sarah and asked if PelotonU would consider delivering the program remotely to CityLink clients. Sarah was on board and the two teams got to work right away to design a brand new partnership model for their organizations.

In just six months, CityLink and PelotonU were able to launch the program and are currently serving their first class of ten clients in Cincinnati. Through this partnership, CityLink was able to offer existing clients a next step towards increased prosperity, and bring in new clients interested in this unique opportunity during a time of tremendous uncertainty.

As leaders of organizations who went through the Praxis Accelerator program in different years, Johnmark, Hudson, and Sarah benefitted through shared language as outlined in the Redemptive Frame, the Rule of Life, and the Redemptive Nonprofit, which allowed them to quickly operate under an umbrella of trust. They have yet to meet in person, but this common foundation and mutuality of intent allowed them to launch this new partnership in pursuit of more individuals having opportunities to thrive.

Donna & Rob

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Rob Peabody
Rob Peabody
CEO

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Donna Harris
Donna Harris
Co-Founder

A SACRIFICIAL INVESTOR-INVESTEE PARTNERSHIP LED TO BIG IMPACT.

Rob Peabody and Donna Harris met in 2018 as Fellow and Mentor on the scenic porch of Minnewaska Lodge in upstate New York. They immediately connected over their desire to foster deeper engagement in local communities.

Fast forward 18 months—Donna had joined the board at VOMO after Builders + Backers made an investment in the organization—when the pandemic took hold of the country. Rob and Donna jumped on an evening call in March to contemplate what they could offer local communities in crisis. They turned to a campaign that VOMO led just a few months earlier. The “Be a Neighbor” campaign was a one-day service event in partnership with the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

For two weeks straight, the VOMO team and the Builders + Backers team worked around the clock to redesign and launch the platform to connect those in need with volunteers. Rob chose to provide VOMO for free “for such a time as this because it was the right thing to do.” At the same time, Donna and her team “rolled up their sleeves with Christ-like yieldedness and exemplified sacrificial leadership” to support VOMO every step of the way, even stopping all other projects to give full attention to the campaign during March and April.

As a result, they received 20 million “Be A Neighbor” views, which translated to 300,000 volunteer hours on 250,000 volunteer projects in 30 countries, creating an economic impact of $9.8M! Rob and Donna hope VOMO can continue to mobilize even more people to become neighbors who serve and make a meaningful impact in their communities.

Pam & Andy

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Andy Crouch
Andy Crouch
Partner, Theology & Culture

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Pam Parish
Pam Parish
Founder & CEO

WITH ANDY’S HELP, PAM REDEVELOPED HER PROGRAM MODEL WITH A REDEMPTIVE LENS.

Pam sat with rapt attention as Praxis Partner Andy Crouch shared his “Authority vs. Vulnerability” framework (also known inside Praxis as simply “The 2x2”) during a Nonprofit Accelerator event last September. She began to imagine how mentoring families could identify their own hopes and fears through this lens of authority and vulnerability as they served youth aging out of foster care in her organization. What she couldn’t figure out was how to apply this idea directly to the youth, simply because they had so little authority to begin with, only vulnerability.

Determined to find a solution, Pam spent an hour with Andy with a pen and sheet of paper, sketching what would become the Redemptive Connections Framework. They determined that there are two primary value drivers that determine a vulnerable youth’s ability to thrive – Belonging and Self-Efficacy. A Redemptive Connection is formed when mentoring families step into the life of a vulnerable youth, offering unconditional Belonging while giving them the space to develop Self-Efficacy.

Pam knew this insight was a gamechanger for her organization. At her annual staff retreat in November, she introduced her team to the Rule of Life and the Redemptive Frame before diving into the newly developed framework. Over the course of a few days, Pam’s team completely rewrote their training manual for mentoring families.

Since then, the Redemptive Connections Framework has become a critical tool for Connections Homes. Today, you’ll often see Pam and her team scribbling the framework on a napkin in the middle of sessions with their mentoring families. Ultimately, Pam hopes to bring flourishing to the lives of more youth as the organization invites families to intentionally step into brokenness and connect with a sacrificial spirit so that another can experience restoration.

04 — Our Focus

Initiatives

A deeper look into Praxis Programs and Content

Accelerators

Supporting founders in the growth stage of their ventures.

Praxis Academy

Vocational training and formation for builders, creators, and early stage founders.

Redemptive Imagination Summit

Annual ideas festival for leaders in our community.

Guilds

Groups of entrepreneurial Christians motivated by their faith to renew culture and love their neighbors.

Capital

A community of investors and philanthropists creating redemptive impact.

RE/frame

Launching in 2021! Expanding the reach of redemptive entrepreneurship through local formation.

Resources

Defining and distributing the core ideas of redemptive entrepreneurship.

Praxis Journal

The ideas, models, practices, and people powering today’s redemptive ventures.
The Praxis team talking

Thank you again for your support and commitment to the work of advancing redemptive entrepreneurship.

Praxis is a 501c3 nonprofit — if you would like to further support our work, please donate here or reach out to our Community Manager Mary Elizabeth Goodell at maryelizabeth@praxislabs.org.

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