Equilibrium Impact Ventures (EQIV) received a $250,000 investment from The Winston-Salem Foundation (WSF) to support EQIV’s investments in BIPOC-owned businesses with sustainable social impact. This is the Foundation’s largest investment to-date from its Inclusive Economy Portfolio, a mission-aligned investment fund supporting local businesses and organizations working for social change.
The Foundation established the Inclusive Economy Portfolio in 2020 as a new tool to accomplish its community investment goals of Building an Inclusive Economy and Advancing Equity in Education. The initial funding earmarked for the Portfolio is $1.3 million, with the intention to increase the amount over time if needed.
Investing in entrepreneurs of color is one way the Foundation is working to reduce systemic barriers to wealth-building, as is helping people build financial resilience. Unlike traditional grantmaking, these mission-aligned investments leverage the Foundation’s own endowment assets to provide not only a social return, but also a financial return that can be reinvested in the community.
Kasem Rodriguez Mohsen, Founding Partner of EQIV says, “In 2021, only 2.6% of all venture capital funding went to Black or Latinx founders even though these groups have been proportionally starting businesses at a much higher rate. Not only is this inequitable distribution of capital and opportunity, but it’s extremely bad business.”
The Foundation’s Vice President, Community Investment Brittney Gaspari notes, “When we launched our work focused on creating a more inclusive economy, we recognized that grantmaking in the nonprofit sector is only one tool for making community impact. To channel resources to those most economically impacted, we’re using multiple approaches, including investing in the for-profit sector. We’re continuously learning and adding tools to our toolbox while aligning our investments with our mission.”
Dr. Shanté Williams, Founding Partner of EQIV agrees, “Equilibrium, with the help of bold philanthropic organizations like The Winston-Salem Foundation, will demonstrate the power of social impact ventures to not only change communities, but to transform our economy.”
"This investment paves the way for other creative, entrepreneurial-minded foundations to think differently about how they invest for impact,” says EQIV Founding Partner Adrian Smith. “Together, we're creating a new tool to address systemic issues that have affected Winston-Salem and similar communities for generations."
Equilibrium Impact Ventures (EQIV) invests in mission-driven startups to support sustainable social impact. EQIV aims to develop new, collaborative models; seeks to allocate at least 2/3 of all investments to Black, Brown, and women founders; seeks to balance financial returns and social impact; and scale ideas regionally and nationally. Investment decisions and performance measures are tied to globally-recognized metrics designed to generate positive community impact. Additionally, EQIV leverages an ecosystem of partners to provide support to companies. To learn more, visit www.eqiv.vc
The Winston-Salem Foundation is a community foundation that supports charitable programs in the greater Forsyth County area. Founded in 1919 with a $1,000 gift, it now administers more than 1,550 funds and had total custodial assets of $617.8 million at the end of 2020. In 2020, the Foundation granted $125.8 million to charitable causes, $3.2 million of which was through its Community Grants program. To learn more about the Foundation’s mission-aligned investments, visit wsfoundation.org/mai.