Matt Lesser is no stranger to investing; as senior investment manager at Ambassador Enterprises, a for-profit, philanthropic, private equity firm, he is tasked with seeking out partners and opportunities that align with the firm’s mission.
This mission is simple: use strategic investment to make Fort Wayne an attractive place for bright young talent, and a better place for established businesses.
Besides investing in a number of area manufacturers, startups and real estate properties, the firm is also responsible for developing The Summit, a collaborative workspace on the former Taylor University campus on the South Side of Fort Wayne. The property is currently home to a variety of organizations as diverse as the Big Brothers Big Sisters, Athletes With Purpose (AWP), WBCL, and Grace College.
Lesser had an opportunity to see GFW Inc.’s vision firsthand when he was invited to take part in a city tour to Des Moines, Iowa, in October 2014. City tours are short trips to thriving cities, organized by Greater Fort Wayne Inc., during which area leaders are tasked with identifying elements of success that they can bring back to, and help implement in, Fort Wayne.
For Lesser, the Des Moines trip “gave me a more concrete vision of what can happen when different sectors of the society come together and really are intentional about building a community that people are attracted to live in and contribute to.”
These champions must come from all over–business, nonprofit, government, academia–and Lesser said he believes that GFW Inc. is a catalyst that can bring together these various sectors and unite them toward a common goal. A goal, he added, that happens to go hand in hand with that of Ambassador Enterprises.
“We’re proud to partner with GFW Inc. because we know they’re focused on that,” he said. “Helping Fort Wayne become a place [where] people want to live.”