Blakely Thornton on building civilly.

As founder of Civil Jewelry, Blakely Thornton was encouraged to form its mission around access and empowerment. “My goal is to make our country’s allocation of wealth and corporate makeup better reflect our people—there is very little diversity in board rooms, C-suites, and venture capital firms and it’s a serious problem.”

The Civil Fund, benefitted by 20% of Civil’s proceeds, is about early stage investments in underrepresented entrepreneurs. “We’re betting on us and want to fill a serious gap in the ‘friends and family’ round funding early-stage companies need to gain traction, which comes from the challenges of creating intergenerational wealth in a context of systemic oppression. We’re betting early and boldly, but we’re confident we’ll have access to some incredible founders and companies with real insights into consumers of color. We also want to focus on select financially compelling creative projects, which I see as undervalued in the market and a real space for all of us to harness our cultural leadership for community gain.”

Before launching Civil Jewelry, Blakely was a creative director independently and for fashion and media companies. He graduated from Wharton School of Business, where he played fullback on the football team. As a gay man, Blakely has built Civil with an eye not only toward issues of racial equity but also their intersectional relationship to gender, class, and disability.

Blakely says, “I like to think of Civil as trickle-down diversity—a concept that actually works.”

Blakely Thornton