Earlier this year, NPQ featured an article that reviewed a report by the nonprofit Transform Finance on grassroots community engaged investment—impact investing that builds community power while raising capital for BIPOC-owned businesses. Vann, quoted above, is a member of a team participating in a Fund Building Cohort that has been organized by the Boston Impact Initiative (BII). BII, one of the funds profiled in that report, aims to use the cohort to help make funds like itself far more common throughout the country.

Since 2017, BII has helped finance 30 local businesses in greater Boston, the majority of which are BIPOC-owned. As founder Deborah Frieze has put it, the aim of BII has been to “take an integrated capital or a blended finance strategy and deploy every tool in the capital toolbox to help close the racial wealth divide in my community.”

Now BII is actively seeking to spread the model well beyond Boston. Teams in the cohort stem from a dozen places.

Launched in the spring of 2020, the cohort was originally envisioned as taking place through a series of in-person meetings. Instead, due to COVID-19, the meetings took place virtually. But the cohort has carried on, and cohort members will “graduate” this month, with many graduates launching their own funds this fall.

Each fund is unique. There are many reasons for variation: In some communities, capital is plentiful and BIPOC business capacity is in short supply; in other places, the reverse is the case. The nature of the funds also depends on the composition of the teams themselves and their specific capabilities. To provide a sense of the range of the efforts, three community-based efforts are profiled below.

Read the full article about the impact investing model by Steve Dubb at Nonprofit Quarterly.