The Winston-Salem Foundation (WSF) announces the first investment from its new Inclusive Economy Portfolio, a mission-aligned investment fund created to support local businesses and organizations working for social change. The Foundation’s $100,000 investment is being made to nonprofit community lender Piedmont Business Capital (PBC) to provide loans to businesses that are owned by and benefit communities of color in Forsyth County.
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 Foundation has earmarked $1.3 million for the Inclusive Economy Portfolio 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 systematic barriers to wealth-building and to help people build financial resilience. Unlike traditional grantmaking, the Foundation’s mission-aligned investments leverage its own endowment assets to not only provide a social return but also a financial return that can be reinvested in the community.
The Foundation’s Vice-President of Community Investment Brittney Gaspari says, “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’ll use 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.”
PBC Executive Director Wilson Lester says, “We’re excited to see more funders recognizing this need and making strategic investments in new ways. By investing in Black and brown owned businesses, we can build a stronger local economy that works for everyone.”
Piedmont Business Capital is a community development financial institution (CDFI) dedicated to supporting underserved communities in the Piedmont Triad Area. The organization seeks to create shared economic prosperity by providing flexible loans, consulting, and training workshops to community-minded entrepreneurs committed to starting and building locally-owned small businesses and organizations.
PBC’s Black and Brown Ownership Loan Program is a resource for communities that often lack access to conventional financial services from mainstream institutions. These loans will provide an important source of capital to allow small businesses to purchase equipment, hire employees, and provide additional services. PBC will launch the loan application process in January 2021.
To learn more, visit piedmontbusinesscapital.org/2020-lending-programs.
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 $606.5 million at the end of 2019. In 2019, the Foundation granted $58.4 million to charitable causes, $2.1 million of which was through its Community Grants program.
To learn more about the Foundation’s mission-aligned investments, visit wsfoundation.org/mai.