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in Social Impact

Sagamore was launched via the Foundation for American Renewal which was founded by Dan and Marsha Coats to promote effective compassion through business savvy nonprofits and smart philanthropy.  And Sagamore’s first big grant was in partnership with the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University to build the capacity of faith-based and community organizations to deliver high impact services.  Since then, Sagamore has operated programs that have generated over $125M in social impact in Indiana and beyond.

Scholarships for Education Choice

Sagamore operates the Scholarships for Education Choice program to increase donations to Indiana’s K-12 private schools so that they can provide scholarships to low- and middle-income families.  To date, we have generated $69.6M in donations and provided 24,372 scholarships.  We serve 70 schools across the state ranging from sophisticated college prep schools to emerging schools where the head of school is wearing many hats.

J-1 Visa Program

Sagamore operates another program to benefit K-12 education by offering J-1 Visas to high performing teachers from other countries to fill gaps in urban and rural schools.  These teachers increase the global competency of students and return to their home countries with a deep appreciation for America.  To date, Sagamore has recruited 227 teachers from 27 countries who are placed at 145 different schools.

Commonwealth Impact Investing

Commonwealth is an impact investing business operated by Sagamore Institute.  Its mission is to help entrepreneurs start and scale companies to build better communities and solve some of the world’s biggest problems.  To date, Commonwealth has invested $46M in 42 companies (65% owned by women or entrepreneurs of color).  See Commonwealth’s portfolio company page to see how companies are selected by impact area.

Purposeful Design

Purposeful Design was founded by David Palmer to rebuild lives while building custom furniture.  Upon exceeding $1M in annual sales, Purposeful Design became an operating division of Sagamore Institute.  Since then, annual sales have doubled and we received a $4.5M grant from the Lilly Endowment to scale PD’s enterprise solution to poverty in Indianapolis.


The world’s biggest problems such as the wealth gap, mental health care and meeting the workforce needs of tomorrow’s economy are complex and interrelated.  These challenges resist straightforward definitions, have no end to potential solutions and can’t be solved by a single organization acting independently.  As such, Sagamore has formed an operating partnership with Indianapolis-based Metaimpact to advance digital tools to scale impact networks taking aim at the biggest challenges facing society.