ArdentCause Scores New Investment From Philanthropic Accelerator

ArdentCause, the Ferndale, MI-based startup that has developed software to help nonprofits manage resources and track the progress of grantees, recently received funding from the Southfield, MI-based Mission Throttle, a philanthropic accelerator, by way of the Detroit Development Fund.

Though ArdentCause co-founder Kathleen Norton-Schock declines to specify the amount of the investment, she will say it’s “pretty substantial, but less than six figures .” ArdentCause, which Norton-Schock says is “grateful” for the funding, will use the money to improve its CauseEffectz software, a cloud-based product that enables funding foundations and the nonprofits they support to accurately measure activity and resulting outcomes, graphically communicate those outcomes, and better chart progress and successes.

Ray Waters, president of the Detroit Development Fund, says his organization was interested in ArdentCause because of the potential impact of its sofware platform. “Small nonprofits, in particular, have a hard time reporting out,” he explains. “Even the Detroit Development Fund plans to use CauseEffectz.”

The Detroit Development Fund typically offers loans and grants to small retails businesses and to contractors seeking to rehab vacant houses, and has invested a total of $19.4 million into Detroit companies since 2002. Waters says 75 percent of the funding goes to minority-owned businesses, while 53 percent goes to companies owned by women.

Founded in 2009 by Norton-Schock and Rosemary Bayer, ArdentCause was a primarily self-funded startup until an investment in 2011 from the First Step Fund. Norton-Schock says the company, which employs 11, continues to grow and refine its software. ArdentCause was one of Michigan’s first L3C corporations, a designation given to “low profit” companies with a stated goal of achieving social good ahead of profit.

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