Business & Careers

Purpose Driven Investing: How Nancy is Raising $25 Million to Help Autistic Children

BY Kay Makishi

Nancy Carey

Nancy Carey is an IBM executive, co-founder of Stonebridge Capital Consulting where her and her husband are in the process of raising $25 million. Stonebridge Capital Consulting is a commercial real estate consulting and advisory firm. Nancy’s vision is to provide sustainable personal care homes for adults on the autism spectrum like her son Michael.

Ok, first of all — Nancy is boss for being a boss in a very male-dominated industry.

Secondly, “side hustle” to Nancy means raising $25 Million as part of her purpose driven investing initiative.

I know, I know… ​who is she?​ I thought the same, which is why I hopped on the phone with her to learn more about her story.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as 1 of 4 girls, Nancy lost her parents at a very young age. So she’s very close with her sisters and having close family connections is vital to her. Her son Michael was born in the early 90s. At 3 years old, Michael was diagnosed with autism.

While most soon-to-be parents would go into panic mode, Nancy says there “was not going to be a stone unturned” regarding what they could do, as parents, to support Michael.

At an early age, Michael’s autism presented itself through self-injurious behaviors. “He would run into walls, overturn furniture, not sleep,” explains Nancy, “Michael looks normal on the outside but he will forever be a child that needs support”.  Having a lot of energy, he needed to expend to curtail some self-injurious behaviors, we took him to the park every day for 9 months and let him “run it out”. The self-injurious behaviors seemed to stop overnight. He got into a good sleeping pattern, and no longer felt the need to over sensitize himself.

Doctors were recommending Nancy to load Michael up on medicines. She refused. Nancy also didn’t want to drag her son through a series of therapists either. She wanted for her son what we all want – a healthy, thriving life.

So she raised Michael working full-time as an IBM executive then coming home to her full-time job as a mother with the added attention, care, and support needed for her autistic child.


How Nancy Carey Started Stonebridge Capital Consulting

It all started because Michael was getting ready to graduate high school.

Nancy and her husband were so busy making sure Michael had a happy and healthy childhood growing up. They succeeded. But from making sure he could get on soccer and baseball teams to juggling regular household and job responsibilities, long-term planning had escaped Nancy.

They realized Michael had no options once he graduated high school. No government support services. No communities. No programs. Nothing.


Nancy Carey

Nancy with her son Michael when he was a child

“Once autistic children graduate,” Nancy explains, “they sort of drop off the face of the Earth.”

That beyond worried Nancy. “I realized that WE have to take this into our own hands. WE have to build financial resources. WE need to create a business to sustain personal care homes so that when we can no longer care for Michael, he can contribute to an environment and community without us,” Nancy passionately describes.

So that’s how it started. They are actively working to raise $25 million of capital over the next 2-3 yrs to build sustainable personal care homes for adults on the spectrum.

Kay Makishi:​ You’re really inspiring, Nancy. I love how experiencing a personal issue motivated you to help solve that for others experiencing something similar. Can you share with our entrepreneurial community how you are planning to raise your initial $25 million?

Nancy Carey:​ It’s always going to come down to building a network. That network can consist of everybody – friends, family, colleagues, former colleagues, former classmates etc. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by Autism. Its prevalence is ramped and statistics are alarming. In the US, approximately 1 in 40 children receive a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. With the ever climbing rate of Autism, the children and young adults that are diagnosed today will be part of everyone’s lives.

Our mission is to tackle the challenges’ autistic adults and their families face by providing an environment that allows those like Michael to live as independently as possible, hold down useful jobs, be connected in their communities, and have the opportunity to live full and meaningful lives.

As our business, Stonebridge Capital Consulting, continues to grow, we will fund and accelerate the development of safe and sustainable housing for adults with autism and other intellectual developmental disabilities.

Nancy Carey — The Visionary

Now what? Nancy’s actions speak for itself. She’s acquiring property and getting it built out.

She wants to create a ‘protected community’ meaning that adults on the spectrum will have opportunities to be part of a social community outside of their homes.

Currently, Michael volunteers and goes to the YMCA regularly throughout the week, and when community members run into Michael at local places like the supermarket and restaurants, people know him and will look out for him.

“Having Michael engage with people other than family, therapists, professionals, etc means a greater possibility that he will have a more successful, happier life in the future,” explains Nancy.

How Does She Do It? 

Kay Makishi:​ I love hearing you talk so passionately about building your vision. How do you juggle everything?

Nancy Carey: ​I’m good at managing my calendar and keeping up with my daily tasks. You have to prioritize. Keeping a daily journal of what you’re doing, and tracking what’s important is critical.

Kay Makishi: I believe nothing great is achieved greatly so am assuming you overcome lots of​   obstacles along the way. Did you have any doubt?

Nancy Carey: ​The difference is the people who can really excel are the people who believe in the ultimate goal. ​If you believe that the end goal is going to achieve the results that willbenefit yourself and others, the doubt and uncertainty will go away. 

There’s always going to be setbacks and missed opportunities. My husband and I take all the steps we know that will help us get our message out there so that we can achieve the dream of building sustainable personal care homes.

Kay Makishi: ​Do you have any advice for our readers looking to embark on entrepreneurial endeavors like yours?

Nancy Carey: ​Have no fear. You only learn from your mistakes. You never have a success and look back and say, “what could I have done differently?” It’s always your failures that you say, “damn, I should’ve done that instead”. So take every opportunity as a blessing and build it into your arsenal of NO FEAR.

Kay Makishi: ​Thanks for being a great example of that, Nancy!

Nancy’s looking for the right investors to be part of Stonebridge Capital Consulting for commercial real estate opportunities to build out her vision. If interested, contact her at: ​[email protected]

Have you ever raised capital from investors before? Let us know your story and experiences below in the comments!


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