Colin Powell School and Commonweal Ventures Launch Venture Fellows Program

The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at The City College of New York and Commonweal Ventures have partnered to launch a Venture Fellows Program to recruit and train the next generation of venture investors.

The Commonweal Ventures & Colin Powell School Venture Fellows program integrates students into the Commonweal Ventures team, exposing them to the full range of investment activities. Fellows will participate in research, deal sourcing, due diligence, and investment decisions. They also get exposure to Commonweal’s Advisory Board, which is comprised of former White House officials, U.S. cabinet secretaries, mayors, and members of Congress, as well as successful entrepreneurs and industry executives.

"The City College Venture Fellows Program reflects Commonweal’s commitment to fostering a diverse pipeline of leaders into the venture capital industry, starting right here in our hometown," said Nate Loewentheil, founder and managing partner of Commonweal Ventures. “But this is not just about diversity. We see a competitive advantage in tapping into the best and brightest of an institution such as City College. We are committed to building this program for the long term and fostering the next generation of leaders in the New York City venture community.”

“Our central mission at the Colin Powell School is to train a cohort of future leaders with the diversity of backgrounds and experiences needed to tackle society’s challenges,” said Andrew Rich, the Richard J. Henley and Susan L. Davis Dean of the Colin Powell School. “We believe in the power of hands-on learning, and we’re thrilled that Commonweal Ventures is providing a substantive entry point into the venture capital industry for City College students.”

The venture capital industry is among the least diverse professions in the United States. This challenge is acute in New York City, as the New York City Economic Development Corporation recently highlighted in a white paper, Diversity in Venture Capital.

Responding to this opportunity, Commonweal Ventures recently joined the city’s Venture Access Alliance, in addition to partnering with CCNY on this fellowship program.

Diversity “significantly improves financial performance” within investment firms, a Harvard Business School study reported in 2018. Diverse teams are more likely to surface a wider range of potential investment ideas and to engage in productive disagreement such that the group as a whole avoids the biases of any one individual.

The program is currently accepting applications at this link until March 15. The inaugural cohort of fellows will join the Commonweal team starting in June 2024.

About Commonweal Ventures
Commonweal Ventures is a venture capital firm based in New York City. The firm focuses on sectors where government investment creates venture-scale opportunities, like clean energy, healthcare, and manufacturing. Commonweal invests in pre-seed through Series A rounds in these markets and supports portfolio companies’ growth through a national network of former government officials, industry veterans, and technology executives. The firm was founded in 2022 and is led by General Partners Nate Loewentheil and Ron Bloom. Operating partners include Jim Connaughton, Carol Browner, Mary Nichols, and Steve Koch.

About the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
Established in April 2013, the Colin Powell School is home to the social science departments at CCNY as well as the core leadership development and public service programs of the College. With almost 4,000 students, and graduating the most CCNY students annually, the Colin Powell School mission is to transform the nation’s most diverse student body into tomorrow’s global leaders. Half of our students are immigrants; most come from lower income backgrounds. More than seventy percent are first-generation college students, and eighty percent are people of color. The Colin Powell School and City College remain among the most effective engines of economic and social mobility in the United States. The School is led by a faculty dedicated to the highest standards of research and to the university’s democratic and public obligations. Read more about the Colin Powell School.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. Education research organization Degree Choices ranks CCNY #1 nationally among universities for economic return on investment. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi (now Lightcast) puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. This year, CCNY launched its most expansive fundraising campaign, ever. The campaign, titled “Doing Remarkable Things Together” seeks to bring the College’s Foundation to more than $1 billion in total assets in support of the College mission. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.

Syd Steinhardt