Her idea: Helping others reach the ‘American Dream’

May 11, 2012 5:45 AM

Kathryn Hobgood Ray

“Quality health care insurance and a nest egg for retirement aren’t just the American dream, they’re part of creating a healthy society and building a stronger economy,” says Tulane Urban Innovation Fellow Julia McNabb. “Whether you work for a corporate entity, the government, a small business, or you are a self-employed artist, preparing for retirement is critical to your financial security.”


Julia McNabb

Tulane Urban Innovation Fellow Julia McNabb wants to help artists, musicians, small business owners and others plan for the future through her company, Benefactorial. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

For many American workers, finding affordable insurance and planning for retirement are daunting tasks, but McNabb believes she has a solution to this problem: funnel the collective power of multiple organizations and employees through an association.

She’s creating a startup company called Benefactorial to do just that.

McNabb is one of four Urban Innovation Fellows at Tulane who are working to solve problems in areas of urban revitalization, education, health and economic development, with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation.

She’s been developing the concept for Benefactorial since graduate school at Harvard and has fine-tuned it during the fellowship at Tulane.  

“People who aren’t working for a large entity — the musician, the artist, the nonprofit professional, the mom and pop store owners — don’t necessarily have options for saving for retirement,” says McNabb. “And small for-profits and nonprofits face the problem, too; they lack the skilled human resource staff and purchasing power of large organizations.”

New Orleans is uniquely suitable to launching Benefactorial, says McNabb, because of the large number of nonprofits and small businesses in the city. She is currently gathering interest from small businesses, associations and individuals through a website.

Says McNabb, “Leveraging the purchasing power of multiple organizations and hundreds of employees generates an economy of scale that is tremendously influential and impossible to ignore.”



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