The51 has appointed Danielle Gifford as its new executive director for Movement51 (M51), The51’s sister not-for-profit organization dedicated to financial feminism.
Launched in May last year, M51 aims to drive change in the areas of financial acumen, financial education, and entrepreneurship, and investing through an inclusive lens. Its initiatives include using partnerships to provide opportunities for woman-identifying and gender-diverse people to acquire tools, practice skills, and build their financial confidence.
M51 was created by The51 Ventures, which describes itself as a financial feminist platform that builds mutual wealth, creates social and environmental impact, shares knowledge and experiences, as well as practices intersectional feminism through financial action.
“Having built accelerator labs … and technology products from zero, I have a deep appreciation for what it takes to scale an organization like this to the next level.”
– Danielle Gifford
Co-founded by Shelley Kuipers, Judy Fairburn, and Alice Reimer in 2019, The51’s first fund focused on individual limited partners, investing in a number of women-run businesses from a range of verticals. With its second fund dedicated to food and AgTech innovations, The51 is expanding its scope by bringing in institutional investors and investing in not only women, but a diverse set of founders that tend to be “under-funded.”
To date, The51 claims that it has deployed $17 million in capital across 38 ventures.
The51 announced Gifford’s appointment on Tuesday, around four months after outgoing M51 executive director Salima Shivji announced her departure in May. Shivji will now transition to a seat on M51’s board of directors.
Shivji, who was involved in the creation of M51 and its flagship program the Financial Feminism Investing Lab, said that that she knows Gifford will “amplify the organization and take it to the next level.”
As one of her main priorities, Gifford said that her first step in taking over the executive director role will be to ensure a smooth transition between herself and Shivji and focus on taking M51 to its next growth phase across Canada.
Gifford will also be leading the upcoming cohort of the Financial Feminism Investing Lab’s Investor Edition Early-stage Investing Course that is set to begin on September 28th; as well as the Lab’s first pilot of a Founder Edition starting in early September.
“Having built accelerator labs, teams, and technology products from zero, I have a deep appreciation for what it takes to scale an organization like this to the next level,” Gifford said. “I look forward to working closely with … the rest of the leadership team to create the blueprint for how women and gender-diverse people build their confidence and capacity as investors and founders.”
Prior to joining M51, Gifford was the first team member hired to build an Artificial Intelligence Talent and Experimentation Accelerator with AltaML, serving organizations in both the private and public sector.
Over the course of two years, AltaML claims that the lab has trained over 240 people across Canada in AltaML’s Applied AI Methodology and developed proof-of-concept models for 70 AI use cases in digital media, finance, renewables, energy, supply chain, marketing, and industrial operations.
Gifford also previously worked at the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) as a venture manager and head of site recruitment. There, she was responsible for sourcing and managing a portfolio of ventures across the energy, agriculture, FinTech, and healthcare sectors, leading to over $250 million in equity value creation.
Featured image from Movement51’s blog post.