In reflecting upon my first year at Boston Impact Initiative, two things have stood out: our role in moving the impact investing field towards the arc of economic justice; and our responsibility to advance financial, social and political power among the New Majority – which we define as people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latino/a, and Asian.
Since 2013, Boston Impact Initiative has pioneered innovative ways to promote the flow of capital to small businesses as a tool for closing the racial wealth divide. While doing this, we have centered the values of solidarity and mutuality, bringing the relationships with our stakeholders into the center of our work. In 2021, we did this in our three core program areas: our local impact investing fund; the Integrated Capital Fund-Building Cohort; and our national field-building work.
As we navigated through another year impacted by COVID’s aftermath, our portfolio stood strong, showing resilience and adaptation to our ever-changing economy. As we look back at 2021, we are proud to have invested $1.4 million in 14 social enterprises, and a total of $7.1M into 63 investments over the life of our fund. We strengthened our technical assistance program to provide the knowledge and social capital needed for our enterprises to stabilize and increase their impact. In October, we completed the Integrated Capital Fund-Building Cohort Program with participants from initiatives all across the U.S. and we are providing ongoing support to the Cohort. We expanded our national practitioner and funder learning by hosting numerous Integrated Capital Card Games.
Our mission of using integrated capital to build regenerative and equitable local economies has never been more important. The deep relationships with entrepreneurs, partners and communities who reflect the voices of the people we serve, is the foundation for advancing our mission. As we look to the future, we will focus on expanding our work with a second integrated capital fund and by influencing the field of impact investing through education, policy and practice that drives economic justice.
GREW AND EXCELLED
BII Fund makes impact investments into small businesses in Eastern Massachusetts in order to help close the racial wealth divide. We believe we can build a sustainable, inclusive and equitable economy by investing integrated capital in regenerative local enterprises that restore the productive capacity of communities of color.
BII has been an essential player in filling the gap between traditional lending & mission based capital. They’ve helped the Chelsea Business Foundation to execute on our mission; supporting folks that drive the economy. Because of their assistance, we’re able to put $1M into the hands of the Latino and small businesses of Chelsea. BII’s ability to be creative, and provide innovative solutions allowed us to serve the essential businesses of Chelsea in one of the most dire moments of their existence, COVID.”
CEO, Chelsea Business Foundation
Sunwealth was named to the 2021 ImpactAssets 50, a national leading list of impact fund managers. They were also named Member Company of the Year by Solar Energy and Business Association of New England (SEBANE) for their work bringing solar access and green jobs to our communities.
CERO Cooperative won two large university composting contracts: Northeastern University and Boston University. These partnerships helped them divert over 5,000 tons of food waste from landfills.
Meetcaregivers raised over $1M from Mass Mutual’s Catalyst Fund and other investors, making CEO Florence Furaha one of relatively few Black women to raise over $1M in 2021.
Caribbean Integration Community Development’s opened their first affordable housing development to residents. The majority of residents at Cote Village in Mattapan make 60% or less than Area Median Income (AMI).
CareAcademy was named on Inc. Magazine’s Best in Business list in the Education category.
Futuro Media Group won awards and recognition for their original podcasts: episodes of Latino USA won an Edward R. Murrow Award and a Gracie Award; and Futuro Studios podcasts landed on the Atlantic’s Top 50 Podcasts of 2021 and New Yorker’s Best Podcasts of 2021.
Boston Impact Initiative has been an instrumental partner for us in growing a company that walks the talk of equity and transparency being as crucial to the success of our company as our revenue and growth. They are truly an investor at the intersection of purpose and profit.”
CEO and Co-founder, Care Academy
PORTFOLIO IMPACT DATA
37 enterprises — including for profits, public benefit corporations, nonprofits and cooperatives — participated in a 45-question Impact Assessment to measure their effectiveness in increasing wealth and power for communities of color. Here are highlights from what we learned about our portfolio.
FUND FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
As of December 31, 2021, BII Fund sold $6.45 notes to over 115 community investors, high net worth individuals, foundations, and faith-based organizations since inception.
VISIT OUR PORTFOLIO
LEARNED AND FLOURISHED
The Integrated Capital Fund-Building Cohort was an 18-month program that engaged 33 existing and prospective fund managers in developing the financial rigor and multi-stakeholder engagement processes to structure, raise and manage a blended capital fund. Some participants launched pilots in 2021, and several are poised to raise investment capital in 2022. These funds are supporting BIPOC small businesses and building sustainable, inclusive and equitable local economies across the country.
This was the first time I was called a fund manager. It is so hard to break into this work as a person of color. It was great to all learn about finance together. [The cohort] made me believe that I can be a fund manager myself.”
The Guild in Atlanta, GA
Black Farmer Fund partnered with Fair Food Fund to raise a $1M pilot fund and deployed to eight transformative, Black-owned food and agricultural businesses across New York State.
Kheprw Institute launched the Kheprw Integrated Fund, a 0-1% short-term loan for small businesses and nonprofits in Indianapolis, IN.
The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative launched an effort to support 1,000 Black-owned businesses in Atlanta either hire their first employee or offer living wages to current workers.
Impact Ventures received several sizable grants to support business accelerator programs and capital investment into underrepresented founders in North Texas, including $450,000 from Communities Foundation of Texas’ W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund.