Programs & Events

Deep Dive on Deals: Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth


MIE is pleased to present “Deep Dive on Deals,” a program series that showcases our members’ investments.

Through Virtual Learning Opportunities and separate foundation member-only gatherings, we are bringing first-hand experiences that showcase the nuts and bolts of impact investing. 
To kick off this series, MIE presented the Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth, which offers Black/ African American first-time homebuyers access to no-interest down-payment funds that can be used toward the purchase of a new home. Dearfield helps build a foundation of intergenerational wealth and financial well-being. Investors include Gary Community Ventures, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, Denver Foundation, and The Colorado Trust. To learn more about Dearfield, visit MIE’s investment spotlight here
MIE members and special invited guests joined our Virtual Learning Opportunity (VLO) on Dearfield. Through a moderated conversation with Dearfield investors led by James Wahls, MIE’s senior vice president of programs and initiatives, we discussed the problem addressed, investment structure and terms, investment scaling, due diligence and underwriting, legal and closing dynamics, and post-closing monitoring. We also held a related follow-on program, “How the Deal Gets Done - Internal Foundation Practices”, for our foundation members.


Intentional impact investing models give private foundations a unique opportunity to address the racial wealth gap and promote racial equity.
  • The Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth serves as an example, focusing on homeownership to build wealth for black households. By providing down payment assistance, the fund removes a major barrier to asset acquisition and aims to close the racial wealth gap.
  • Drawing its name inspiration from Dearfield, a town 60 miles north of Denver where black families came together in the early 1900s to own land, the Fund brings an explicit consideration of race that fuels its mission driven purpose.
Foundations seeking to develop similar impact investing models must think beyond traditional frameworks and adopt new approaches.
  • Equity PRIs can provide an opportunity for strategic partnership in sharing risk with intermediaries and the communities they serve.
  • Work with MIE and peer organizations to discuss operationalizing models like Special Credit Purpose Vehicles that allow for explicit lending to address past harms and operate within regulation.
Clear and concise impact measurement requirements can be less burdensome for Fund Managers.
  • Clear key measures, set up early can increase lending, trust, as well as illustrate scalability.      
  • Building the deal agreement around clear measurements and reporting not only helps grantees but also finance departments, legal teams and additional backend support strengthening overall transparency.
Final takeaway—While starting a new impact investing model intentionally addressing the racial wealth gap may be challenging, providing the invaluable risk capital to build inclusive economic solutions is worth it.

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