United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Impact Investment in Cherry

Large-scale community change takes broad collaboration and inventive approaches. And that’s the vision of social innovation at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Through initiatives like Southern Dallas Thrives and our Social Innovation Accelerator, United Way Dallas has long served as an investor in and supporter of innovative solutions that strengthen education, income and health in our region. And we’re always eager to identify and support forward-thinking companies that are looking to make a positive social impact.

That’s exactly what drew us to Cherry, a pioneering company that is helping support economic mobility for low-income women and their families. Cherry is an on-demand technology platform that connects consumers with independent nail technicians for in-home manicure services.

Cherry benefits women in several important ways, especially by:

  • Allowing nail technicians to set their own schedules
  • Providing higher pay compared to working in a salon
  • Helping technicians avoid harmful, long-term exposure to salon chemicals

Advancing Economic Mobility
Through this partnership, made possible by a generous donation from the Kleinert Foundation in 2020, United Way is both supporting Cherry’s operations and serving as an impact advisor, providing customized resources to improve opportunities related to professional development, financial stability, and transportation.

“At the heart of this successful model is a deep commitment to advancing economic mobility and financial stability for women,” said Jennifer Sampson, president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Together, we are helping ensure that these hard-working women have the access and opportunity to achieve their full potential.”

“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,” said Amber Venz Box, founding member of Cherry. “Partnering with United Way has helped Cherry focus on our social mission of enabling female entrepreneurs to independently develop their career path.”  

nail tech in Cherry coat paints another woman's nails

A Win-Win
United Way’s partnership with Cherry is our first impact investment—and the first investment of its kind among United Ways across the country. “Impact investing allows United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to help for-profit ventures create a meaningful social impact through their businesses,” Sampson said. It also enables United Way to re-invest any return on our investments into new impact initiatives.

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 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 said. “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 the “double bottom line” that impact investing affords, benefiting both Cherry and United Way.

“This is going to be the future,” said Ashlee Kleinert. “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 our partnership page or contact businessdevelopment@unitedwaydallas.org.

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