United Way has always been about creating lasting change in the community.
That’s why their work focuses on improving the lives of individuals beginning with targeted educational initiatives that give children a good start, and through their health programs, promoting healthy living and providing much-needed access to care. But did you know United Way also focuses on financial stability? The organization provides economic mobility by giving people the skills they need to secure financial security — and helps them explore viable career pathways. These three areas make up what United Way calls the building block of opportunity that enable North Texans to reach their full potential.
Large-scale community change takes broad collaboration and inventive approaches. United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is always eager to identify and support forward-thinking companies that are looking to make a positive social impact.
That’s where Amber Venz Box comes in.
You may know Venz Box as the cofounder of rewardStyle, a technology platform that pioneered the influencer industry a decade ago by monetizing the original digital content of independent creators around the world. She’s one of the leaders in this 21st century industry and for good reason.
Amber Venz Box is recognized as a style influencer par excellence. She launched rewardStyle at the age of 23. It enabled her to monetize her fashion blog, venzedits.com. With a plethora of experience at every level of the fashion industry — from shop girl to editorial stylist, and from model, to retail buyer and even jewelry designer, Box brings a beyond unique perspective. This allowed her to craft the proprietary tools that would fuel rewardStyle’s global success.
Recently, Venz Box founded Cherry, a cutting-edge app that connects clients with independent nail technicians for mobile manicure services. One of the best parts of the new app? Cherry allows female entrepreneurs to independently develop their own career path. That’s what drew the attention of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
United Way and Cherry have now joined forces. Thanks to a generous donation from the Kleinert Foundation, United Way is both supporting Cherry’s operations and providing wraparound services for Cherry technicians related to career development and financial stability.
“United Way’s partnership with Cherry is our first impact investment in a for-profit venture with the aim of a financial return ― and the first investment of its kind among United Ways across the country,” says Jennifer Sampson, president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
“At the heart of this successful model is a deep commitment to advancing economic mobility and financial stability for women. Together we are helping ensure that these hard-working women have the access and opportunity to achieve their full potential.”
Cherry is helping support economic mobility for low-income women and their families. The benefits of this avenue for the technicians is immeasurable.
“Cherry provides a higher paying job and a more flexible schedule, in a safer environment, which ultimately benefits not only the women, but their children and families,” Venz Box says. “Partnering with United Way has helped Cherry focus on our social mission of enabling female entrepreneurs to independently develop their career path.”
Chris and Ashlee Kleinert, who established The Kleinert Foundation in 2017, were drawn to the opportunity to help women through an innovative tech platform, and saw this unprecedented partnership as an exciting new investment model.
“For us, it checked all the boxes: economic mobility, targeted for women, great business idea, great leadership. Everything about it lent itself to an amazing impact investment,” Chris Kleinert says. “And then to be able to do this through United Way to provide the Exhibit A for other foundations to want to do the same ― that’s really amazing.”
The Kleinerts are particularly excited about what they call the “double bottom line” that impact investing affords.
“Impact investing allows United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to partner with for-profit ventures to create a meaningful social impact through their businesses,” Sampson says. “It also enables United Way to reinvest any return on our investments into new impact initiatives.”
In other words, this pioneering partnership is the ultimate win-win.
“This is going to be the future,” Ashlee Kleinert says. “It is the start of something big. And if Cherry is bought or maybe goes public, that’s money back to United Way to continue to do more impact investing.”
To learn more about how your organization can partner with United Way to drive lasting impact, visit its partnership page.