Racial Equity & Impact Investing

ON September 9, 2020

Seeing a lot for sale signs lately around your neighborhood? 

But the prices are astronomical? 

The more you look, the more you notice that your neighborhood isn’t truly yours anymore. 

It seems as if your neighborhood is being gentrified. 

Gentrification is the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.

If you look across America, this is slowly becoming the standard: pushing Black, Indigenous, people of color (“BIPOC”), and other marginalized groups out of their own neighborhoods. However, this shouldn’t be the case at all! 

Marginalized groups should have the opportunity to grow and strive within their own places with true ownership. 

This is where people can use capital for social justice. Foundations create mission-related investments (MRIs), program-related investments (PRIs), and other types of impact investment to help those who typically do not have access to traditional capital markets. For example, some foundations, such as Duluth LISC have used impact investing to create storefronts in Downtown Minneapolis for minority and female business owners. Also, social entrepreneurs use impact investments to “buy back the block”, meaning buying and re-vitalizing the block for those in the community at a non-inflated price. These types of investments allow marginalized groups to stay and flourish in their neighborhoods. 

Impact investing gives marginalized groups opportunities for which they wouldn’t normally be considered It is quite interesting how Black women are the most educated group in America but have the least venture capital. They are also given less support in the financial world compared to their white counterparts. Foundations and other organizations can help Black people receive proper support. The traditional sources of financing have denied marginalized groups suitable access to the investment world for too long. It’s time for people to put their money where their mouth is and use their capital for justice. Create an opportunity for marginalized groups to generate wealth for their future generations. The time for change is now and that change is impact investing at the forefront.

Take Action

To learn more and dive deeper into these topics, learn more about:

  • Shared ownership models as a key tool for social change. Check out a group we admire: The Democracy Collaborative
  • Community land banking as vehicles to retain community ownership such as Land Bank Twin Cities
  • Shop and buy local. Amazon is NOT helping your neighborhood’s vitality!
  • If you own your own business, consider converting to a shared ownership structure.
  • If you’re an investor, consider asking potential investees if they would consider a shared ownership model.

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What I'm doing now

Top of my mind these days is investing in line with Diversity, Equity, Inclusion values. Many institutions promised bold moves after George Floyd was murdered. Who is following through and doing this well? Racial justice requires new pathways for capital flows. I’m excited to be part of the McKnight Foundation’s Groundbreak Coalition, aiming to deploy $2b in flexible capital over 10 years to disrupt the status quo. In Minnesota we are a generous state, a charitable state, a hard-working state: we need to try new approaches to create that famous quality of life for all. We are leading a session on Place Based Impact Investing at the Mission Investors Exchange conference in Baltimore. Reach out if you’ll be there so I can include you in the informal MN meet-ups.