Recently something about the name “Pipeline Fellowship” caught my attention as I was surfing the net.

Well, in all honesty it brought to mind strains from the 60s Motown hit, “I heard it through the Grapevine.” I guess it was the rhyme of ‘pipeline’ and ‘grapevine’ that caught my musical ear – but that’s where I thought any similarity between the two entities would end. Nevertheless, I’m glad my ear, rather than my eye, made me stop and read. For here is where I found out about a remarkable organization that combines the best of three elements: women, philanthropy, and for-profit social ventures.

Founder and CEO, Natalia Oberti Noguera, launched the Pipeline Fellowship to activate more women angel investors and create more capital directed to women-led for-profit social ventures. Her mission is to train women philanthropists through education, mentoring, and practice.

Each year, 20 Pipeline Fellows, selected from around the country, commit and learn how to invest in a women-led, for-profit enterprise in exchange for equity and a board seat at the end of the training. To my way of thinking, it seems a Pipeline Fellow’s experience heralds in the next phase of Women’s Giving Circles and Impact 100 groups. While these groups provide an educational forum and group of resources to expand women’s philanthropy, the Pipeline carries the process further to offer ownership in a for-profit venture.

Perhaps there is a grapevine connection after all. When the women entrepreneurs get entwined with women social-venture philanthropists, the result may just be a philanthropic hybrid variety, good for the soul and the senses.

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