Impact Investing

Impact investing allocates a portion of the Foundation's endowments to make strategic financial investments in businesses and organizations working for social change in Forsyth County.  

Unlike traditional grantmaking, these local impact investments generate not only a social return, but also a financial return that can be reinvested in the community. This program complements and augments the Foundation’s work to build an inclusive economy. 


Our impact investing approach integrates both a place-based lens and a racial equity lens. As an organization deeply rooted in Winston-Salem, we have extensive knowledge of community issues. This enables us to actively support initiatives that will lead to greater economic mobility for local residents.

We also recognize that many of our community members have long been denied access to resources and opportunities based solely on their race. For decades, public and private institutions have perpetuated discriminatory policies and disinvested in Black and Brown neighborhoods. This history continues to exacerbate the racial wealth gap in our community today. Read more about redlining in our Community Matters blog post.

Through this work, we’re serving as a catalyst for change by investing in projects that will benefit communities of color, while mobilizing additional capital and taking meaningful steps to reverse racial inequities. Our role goes beyond financial support; it’s about sparking systemic change and fostering a more just and prosperous future for all.

Guiding Principles

The Foundation seeks and makes investments in enterprises and economic opportunities that:

  • build the civic, social, and financial capital of communities of color
  • support ownership and governance by communities of color
  • are focused in Forsyth County and/or significantly benefit the population in Forsyth County
  • provide investment growth that can be used to support the Foundation’s grantmaking  

We invest in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations that operate in line with the above principles.

Investment Information

Loans and equity investments will typically range between $100,000 and $1,000,000, with flexible terms and rates.

For Loans:
  • The maximum loan duration is 10 years, with a preference for shorter durations
  • Interest rates will aim to be offered below market rate; the Foundation is committed to setting interest rates that meet an organization's need while also meeting the portfolio's mission
  • Guaranty of loans are permissible at no charge as long as the applicant complies with all loan covenants
For Equity Investments:
  • Investments are available in equity funds only (no direct equity ownership)
  • Quarterly reporting will be required to evaluate the most current value of the equity investment


Applicants will be asked to submit basic project information that allows the Foundation to determine if the project is eligible for an impact investment. If the project is determined to be eligible, Foundation staff and consultants will work with the applicant to assemble materials for a full underwriting application for the proposed investment.

Submissions are accepted at any time. After receipt of initial materials, organizations will be contacted within 30 days as to whether they are invited to submit a full proposal. The process will take three to four months from receiving initial materials to closing an investment.

Impacting Investing FAQs

Can you give examples of past impact investments?

Typically, our impact investments provide capital for minority-owned businesses, homeownership programs, and educational pathways in Forsyth County. Examples include credit guarantees, deposits in community banks, loans to community development financial institutions, and equity investments in funds.

Some of the Foundation's past investments include:

  • Piedmont Business Capital – $100,000 investment to provide loans to businesses that are owned by and benefit communities of color in Forsyth County
    Read press release
  • The Do School – $32,650 loan guarantee to renovate a home in the Boston-Thurmond Neighborhood, which will serve as a live training site for apprentices
    Read press release
  • Equilibrium Impact Ventures – $250,000 investment to support investments in BIPOC-owned businesses with sustainable social impact
    Read press release

How can I support the Foundation's impact investments? 

If you have a project that aligns with our goals and criteria, please contact us to start the application process. If you know about a project or organization that could be eligible for an impact investment, please let us know! We’re always looking for new opportunities to  make an impact with our capital.

Can we apply for an impact investment if we’re based outside of Forsyth County?

If your business or organization is based outside of Forsyth County but serves a wide geographic area that includes Forsyth County, the Foundation will consider an investment for the portion of the project that impacts Forsyth County. If you are based outside of Forsyth County and you also don't serve Forsyth County, you are not eligible to apply for an impact investment.

Who makes the final funding decisions?

The Foundation's Mission Aligned Investing Subcommittee evaluates each proposal on a case-by-case basis and makes the final investment decisions. Our staff serve as dedicated liaisons for each funding opportunity.

for more information
Charlie Gardner
Program Officer, Inclusive Economy 607-5118
Elaine Summerfield
Vice President, Community Investment 231-0491