It’s Time For A New Marshall Plan

Joe Milam
3 min readApr 16, 2020

Peter Brooke, one of the ‘fathers’ of the venture industry and who recently passed away at the age of 90, was right.

He thought venture capital is like the Marshall Plan, when one views their role as a venture capitalist as more than just about making money.

Mr. Brooke also believed that venture capital firms had a responsibility to improve communities and nations, and to “have an underlying philosophical concept that adds value.”

“Making money is not enough,” he said in the mid-1990s when he was inducted into the Private Equity Hall of Fame. “Making a contribution to industrial growth, employment, and society is what will distinguish an industry and sustain it over a long period of time.” Bryan Marquard, Obituary, Boston Globe April 6, 2020.

COVID-19 Is Simply The Catalyst

The economic toll from COVID-19 is incalculable right now, yet few think it won’t be the worst economic contraction in 75 years.

It’s time to start planning for ‘what’s next’ for our economy, where will we place our priorities, where will we invest to re-establish more resiliency in our economy.

And we need to act now.

We need a new Marshall Plan, but this time for America.

Growing Recognition To Act

Larry Kudlow, Director of the United States National Economic Council, in response to an exchange on CNBC, said “This is a time, it seems to me, to sell bonds in order to raise money for the war effort, in this the pandemic effort,” Kudlow said. “I’m all for it.”

Following Kudlow, Former Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen confirmed that she believes war bonds would be “an appropriate approach” as long as its done in a way so that the interest burden will be “manageable” for years to come.

Phase IV To Have More $’s

The Treasury Department is asking Congress for $250 billion more to aid small businesses, and Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expects the House and Senate to act as soon as this week (4/7), as reported by Bloomberg.

Legislation Proposed

Recently there was Legislation introduced to mobilize Federal $’s to support startups, particularly in those under funded regions around the country.

Big Tech Can Participate

Nick Bastone of The Information newsletter wrote an interesting piece recently on how cash-rich ‘Big Tech’ could also participate and support startups in ‘Cash-Rich Tech Giants Could Provide Alternative to Federal Loans’.

Impact Investors Looking For a Solution

For some time now the wealthiest families in the U.S. and abroad have been interested in allocating meaningful portions of their net worth to Impact Investing.

Given an opportunity, there could be $Trillions available from well-intended, civic minded foundations, families Community Foundations, and Donor Advised Funds available to be mobilized and be part of the solution.

Americans stand ready, if given the right opportunity.

Courage And Leadership is All That is Needed

The capital is there, the need is there, the tools and tactics are available.

The only question is do we have the courage of leadership to step into the solution.

Makes one wish Peter Brooke was still around.

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Joe Milam

Multi-family office originally at 3000 Sand Hill, mid-wife to Band of Angels, now looking to mobilize ‘legacy angels’ into the ecosystem.