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East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) donors are using their Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) to make program-related investments (PRIs) in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. PRIs are an important type of impact investment that can help entrepreneurs or small business owners scale their business. 

Shifting capital and resources can lead to asset building, ownership, and generational wealth creation for those that have historically experienced barriers to these concepts. Impact investing is a vehicle to not only advance equity and justice but also to help our community thrive well into the future.  

In partnership with EBCF, fund advisors can advance the work of entrepreneurs and projects that are often overlooked by traditional investment models. By using a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) to make program-related investments (PRIs), fund advisors can increase access to capital for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) business owners and BIPOC-led community benefit projects.  

“Our purpose is to move capital and support economic development in the Bay Area,” said EBCF Chief Financial Officer Valerie Red-Horse Mohl. “I am thrilled when I see local entrepreneurs and community leaders build businesses and community benefit projects that narrow the racial wealth gap.”    

To raise awareness about impact investment opportunities, EBCF periodically holds events where fund advisors can meet local social entrepreneurs ready to take their business or social enterprise to the next level. One of those events is the Inclusive Economy Showcase, which amplifies the voices of innovators from priority communities by heeding their expertise, tapping into their passion, and sharing their stories across a selected group of fund advisors, investment managers, and funders. 

Program-related investments (PRIs) can be an important means of raising capital for a business or community benefit projects because the terms are more flexible than traditional loans or equity investments. Impact investments also help BIPOC entrepreneurs and community benefit projects that might not be able to access traditional capital nor satisfy “Wall Street-style” investment requirements such as long-term historical financials, equity assets available for security liens, and robust cash flow margins often realized at the expense of employees and customers.  

Our Inclusive Economy Showcases have included both for-profit and non-profit enterprises seeking program-related investments (PRIs) capital (not grants). PRIs are unlike grants in that investments can be made to business owners, entrepreneurs and social enterprises, and 501(c)(3) organizations. PRIs can take the form of loans, loan guarantees and private equity, structured for returns to the DAF at below-market terms and rates. These investments must be mission-aligned and concessionary but do not have to be directed to charitable nonprofit organizations. Any returns generated are returned to a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). 

“As a community development corporation, traditional funding sources often overlook and undermine our real estate development projects, which makes impact investments and philanthropic support critical to our work,” said Chris Iglesias, chief executive officer of The Unity Council. “Our latest project, Juntos Fruitvale, will activate a 10,000 square foot community hub for entrepreneurs, local businesses, nonprofits, and artists. We’re seeking impact investments to bring our projects to the finish line.” 

Our most recent Inclusive Economy Showcase, hosted on June 29, 2022, featured presentations of promising impact investment opportunities from five companies and nonprofits across the East Bay that are generating positive, community-based outcomes for the region. As of July 28, three of the featured enterprises: The REAL People’s Fund, Something Better Foods, and Firebrand Bread—had received a program-related investment from EBCF fund advisors.  

“Something Better Foods manufactures plant-based proteins. Our mission is to democratize the access to plant-based products in the communities that need it most,” said Chef Chew, founder and chief executive officer of Something Better Foods. “We have lots of opportunities at our door, stores like Whole Foods want to sell our products at a national level, but our capacity is limited by our current manufacturing facilities. This investment will help us grow our manufacturing capacity to take advantage of the opportunities we have in the pipeline.” 

We invite you to learn more about and support these businesses and organizations by using your Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) to make a program-related investment.  

Make an Impact Investment! 

To use your DAF to make a program-related impact investment, contact Chief Financial Officer Valerie Red-Horse Mohl or Impact Investing Manager Elizabeth Burger.