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

The latest science says we are living through an “endemic” not a pandemic, anymore (take a listen to Science Friday’s 9/17 podcast). Rather than finding this news thoroughly depressing, I’m doing my best to embrace it. I’ve never thought there would be some kind of magic getting “back” to normal: only “Build Forward Better” as we said in our June, 2021 impact investing conference. So, let’s share what we’ve learned over the last 18 months. I’ve learned that people really do want to take action and explore new ways of addressing society’s ills such as climate change and racial injustice. What did you learn? I’d love to hear. Tweet me @susan_hammel or email or leave a comment below.