Return on Inclusion | October 24, 2023

UnitedHealth Group backs Enable Ventures to invest in disability solutions

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, October 24 — New funds are emerging to invest in positive impact for the global disabled population, which often face ableism, discrimination, poverty and exclusion.

UnitedHealth Group, the largest health insurer in the US by revenue, will allocate $5 million from its balance sheet to Enable Ventures. Enable, a market-rate impact venture fund, was launched last year by Sorenson Impact’s Jim Sorenson and former disability rights lawyer Regina Kline to close the disability wealth gap.

Just one in five disabled individuals is employed. Enable is looking to raise $75 million to invest in disabled entrepreneurs as well as in technology to assist people with disabilities at work. “Employment directly equates to improved health outcomes,” UnitedHealth’s Catherine Anderson told ImpactAlpha

Investing in health

UnitedHealth is looking to advance health equity by addressing the social determinants of health, including the quality and availability of affordable housing, food systems and other social services.

In May, the insurer invested $25 million in Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund’s $42 million round to finance inclusive housing in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. UnitedHealth has also backed Invest Appalachia, which promotes economic inclusion, health equity and climate resilience in the Central Appalachia region of the US.

Growing ecosystem

“Unlike other minority groups, disability is the only one that many of us can become a part of at any point in time,” said Diego Mariscal, a Mexican-American paralympic athlete who is raising a fund to prove that having a disability can offer a competitive business advantage. Mariscal’s 2Gether-International, a Washington, DC-based impact accelerator, supports a pipeline of nearly 600 disabled founders. 

Christopher McKelvy, a grandson of Patricia Kennedy Lawfordis raising a $35 million fund to invest in startups that provide services for disabled Americans.

ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese contributed reporting.