March 2021 | Field News & Resources
This page features this month's highlights, announcements, resources, and general news related to advancements in the impact investing field.
- In a podcast interview with Bryce Butler, Founder of Access Ventures, Melanie Audette, Senior Vice President at Mission Investors Exchange, discusses the power of building strong relationships to advance equity and impact.
- The Ford Foundation announced a commitment of $15 million to launch the Black Feminist Fund - a first-of-its-kind global fund that aims to increase funds for Black feminist organizations across Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
- In the 2021 MacArthur Foundation President's Essay, John Palfrey calls fellow donors and investors to transform philanthropy’s systems, structures, and practices in an effort to rebuild a more equitable future.
- Philanthropy Northwest’s new report explores racial, gender, and social equity issues as they relate to foundation investment committees. The report distills key processes and decision points that committees encounter, based on interviews with trustees, CEOs, and finance staff, along with foundation financial advisors and advocacy groups.
- The new Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund aims to raise $150 million to provide capital and free business support for small businesses and nonprofits in the south rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial grants and loans are provided by Capital One, Microsoft, the F.B. Heron Foundation, Fidelity Charitable with support from CapShift, the Heifer Foundation, Mercy Investment Services, Woodforest National Bank, Ceniarth, and the Jacksonville, Florida-based Chartrand Family.
- An article by ImpactAlpha highlights how impact investors are turning to revenue-based financing to bridge capital gaps for founders of color. For example, Kim Folsom, the founder of Founders First Capital Partners, wants to use revenue-based financing to fund hundreds of diverse-led operating businesses rather than produce a few tech unicorns.
- Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy published new data and analysis that examines philanthropic funding in 2020 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report shows an increase in giving to communities of color and a total of $20.2 billion in global COVID-19 giving by grantmakers and high net worth individuals.
- Living Cities' Blended Catalyst Fund (BCF) announced a $2 million commitment to Advance, a regional, inclusive place-based fund managed by impact investment firm Mission Driven Finance. BCF's investment in Advance is intended to close racial income and wealth gaps in U.S. cities by supporting strategies that invest in small businesses, social enterprises, and nonprofits.
- Founders First Capital Partners announced its initial close for a Series A financing led by the Rockefeller Foundation to support diverse, underserved, and underrepresented entrepreneurs. This group of 400 service-based small businesses led by women, indigenous people, people of color, and military veterans benefited from a $9 million impact fund anchored by the Rockefeller Foundation.
- The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and its partners hosted Grow AR Own: Access to Capital in Arkansas, the first installment of a virtual series examining why the money needed to sustain small businesses isn’t reaching businesses run by people of color and women and what we can do to close that capital access gap.
- Kresge Foundation issued a $4.5 million guarantee to ensure local nonprofit, United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC), is able to help Detroit residents facing eviction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with Lake Credit Union, which has provided a $5 million loan to UCHC, these dollars will ensure UCHC has the liquidity needed to move quickly and responsibly to help as many metro Detroit families as possible.
In a Worth Magazine Q&A with Merton Capital Founder, Sean Davis, Davis highlights why philanthropic capital is tied up with high net worth individuals and how venture philanthropists — a new breed of investment and philanthropy advisors — can help deploy capital quicker and more effectively.
- Surdna Foundation’s Don Chen explains how the Foundation is mobilizing additional resources through mission-related investments and redefining risk to better respond to the world’s urgent needs laid bare by the pandemic. In an interview with ImpactAlpha, Chen says “We’re now able to free up a lot more resources to our grantees and make sure they can weather these various storms.”
- Goldman Sachs announced a $10 billion commitment in its new 'One Million Black Women' initiative — the largest ever investment to focus exclusively on Black women. Through this initiative, Goldman Sachs aims to narrow opportunity gaps and contribute to the advancement of racial equity by making investments in access to healthcare, housing, job creation, broadband, education, student lending, financial health, entrepreneurship, and small businesses.
- Jill Soffer, a Climate Action leader and philanthropist, urges foundations and high net worth individuals to hold their banks accountable. In a Philanthropy News Digest article, Soffer explains that while individuals and foundations give generously in support of climate activism, most of their wealth is parked in banks that use those funds in ways that exacerbate the problems they're trying to address.
- Living Cities' Shané Harris and Dwayne Proctor of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation share insights collected by the Narrative Change Working Group — a coalition of 16 foundations, financial institutions, and partners — which highlight harmful narratives that corporations need to confront if they want to meaningfully advance racial equity.
- In response to the overlapping crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Social Finance's Tracy Palandjian and colleague Danny Grossman highlight the need to use all sources of capital — especially the vast resources available in donor-advised funds (DAFs) — to advance equitable recovery in an Inside Philanthropy article.