DICK'S Sporting Goods, Inc. has announced a $12.5 million commitment to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation as part of an effort to close the racial wealth gap in the United States.
The funds will support the Black Economic Development Fund, an impact investing initiative launched by LISC earlier this year as a vehicle for corporations looking to make investments that help improve economic opportunity for Black Americans and contribute to the closing of the racial wealth gap. According to experts, racial disparities in wealth accumulation have cost the U.S. economy $16 trillion over the last two decades. LISC hopes to raise more than $100 million by the end of the year for the fund, which will provide financing for Black-owned businesses, charter schools, affordable housing projects, and athletic facilities.
"DICK'S started as a small business with just two stores in upstate New York, so we understand the critical importance of access to capital," said DICK'S chair and CEO Ed Stack. "We're pleased to be able to take action and help Black-owned businesses get the resources they need to grow and continue to be an essential part of communities."
"One of the most exciting aspects of this fund is the way that it offers companies like DICK'S, which already have a strong philanthropic commitment to the communities where they do business, an opportunity to also invest their assets in ways that help dismantle discrimination and promote inclusive growth and opportunity," said George Ashton, managing director of LISC Strategic Investments, the organization’s fund management and venture capital arm. "This isn't charity. It is a treasury strategy that directs corporate funds to businesses that fuel broad social and economic benefits. This investment strengthens the American consumer base, builds up our communities, and makes our economy work better for everyone."