Calvert Impact Capital (formerly the Calvert Foundation), in partnership with Urban Advisors, a mission-driven fund manager, has announced the launch of an impact investing vehicle designed to increase financing available to entrepreneurs of color, with a focus on the southeastern United States.
Minority business owners have a harder time accessing affordable credit than their non-minority peers, making it more difficult for them to succeed and build wealth. The UP Community Fund will address these disparities by providing qualified minority-owned businesses with access to affordable credit that they can use to grow their businesses and expand wealth-building opportunities for their employees and communities.
To that end, the fund will make loans ranging between $250,000 and $1.2 million to small businesses and community organizations within its target geographic market, which includes the Charlotte, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Baltimore metro areas. Initial investors in the $12.15 million fund include Riverside Church in New York City, New Resource Bank, MetLife Investment Management, and Calvert Impact Capital as lenders.
"The vision of the UP Community Fund is to create a sustainable financing vehicle that can generate focused and long-term impact in communities of color," said Calvert Impact Capital vice president of syndications and strategy Beth Bafford. "We are investing — and bringing other lenders to the table — because of the strength of the fund's mission and the team's deep experience in lending to under resourced communities. The UP Community Fund will create economic opportunity in a part of the U.S. that has historically lacked strong financing infrastructure."