Portfolio Partners' Statements on Racial Justice and Equity
June 17, 2020
*Compiled and updated as of June 10, 2020 *
Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, many organizations and individuals across the globe have raised their voices, calling for justice for Floyd as well as generations of Black Americans who have faced violence and discrimination as a result of systemic racism in the US. The protests and movements that have erupted across the nation and around the globe have shined a spotlight on the need for profound structural change, not only as it relates to systemic racism in law enforcement but also in education, healthcare, housing, and more.
Calvert Impact Capital is focused on amplifying the voices and solutions offered by our portfolio partners who are deeply embedded in and committed to their communities. Many of our domestic portfolio partners trace their roots back to tackling disinvestment in communities of color and see their work – providing housing, healthcare, education, access to finance, a healthy environment - as a response to structural racism in the U.S. We’ve compiled our portfolio partners’ recent statements on racial justice and equity below as a way to further highlight their work and commitments.
1. Aeon: Aeon is a nonprofit developer, owner, and manager of high-quality, affordable apartments in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Aeon is a leader in preserving “naturally occurring affordable housing” or NOAH, an effort focused on preventing displacement of low-income residents and securing affordable homes for the future. During this time, Aeon has announced that it stands with its community members fighting for justice for George Floyd. They are dedicated to keeping their residents safe during this time, and recently collected 10,000 water bottles that were distributed at George Floyd’s memorial services. The team at Aeon also painted a mural in Minneapolis in honor of George Floyd.
2. Artspace: Artspace is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create, foster and preserve affordable and sustainable space for artists and arts organizations around the U.S. With its headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, Artspace has joined in Minneapolis’ collective mourning for George Floyd and stands in solidarity against the unjust circumstances that lead to his tragic death. The organization has reiterated its commitment to anti-racism, and has created a resource page on its website entitled, “Artspace for Change” which includes resources for people to donate funds, time, and/or supplies to the local organizations safeguarding communities in the Twin Cities and seeking social change.
3. BRIDGE Housing: BRIDGE Housing's mission is to strengthen communities by developing, owning, and managing high-quality, affordable homes for working families and seniors in California, Washington, and Oregon. In their recent statement entitled, “We Must Do Better” BRIDGE Housing writes, “One thing we do know is that BRIDGE’s work is part of the antidote to systemic racism. We believe in sustaining and creating communities where people feel welcomed, respected and valued. We are committed to fair treatment and access to opportunity and advancement. Our core values guide us to respect the rights and dignity of others, to be accountable for our actions and to demonstrate compassion.”
4. Camino Nuevo Schools: Camino Nuevo is a nonprofit Charter Management Organization and operates seven public charter schools and one early childhood center in California. Calvert Impact Capital invested alongside lead-lender Capital Impact Partners to help rehabilitate the Jane B. Eisner Middle School, part of the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy’s network of high-performing charter schools in Los Angeles. Camino Nuevo Schools recently released a statement condemning the murder of George Floyd, in which CEO of Camino Nuevo Schools, Adriana Abich writes, “Camino Nuevo has a 20-year history of supporting vulnerable communities. Our organization is rooted in social justice. In partnership, we have imagined and created a new road – un camino nuevo – to give our students an education toward a bright future. To achieve this vision, we teach our students to raise their powerful voices, and to speak out against the inequities that they experience.” In her letter, she offers a resource guide for parents and students during this time.
5. Capital Impact Partners: Capital Impact Partners is an independent, nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that partners with local communities to create equitable access to health care and education, healthy foods, affordable housing, and dignified aging for those in need. Through mission-driven lending, incubating social impact programs, impact investing, and policy reform, champions social and economic justice for underserved communities. Capital Impact Partners recently released a “Response to Recent Violence Against Black Lives,” in which they state, “These incidents serve as a reminder of why racial justice is so central to our mission. As a mission-driven organization focused on building equity and power for our communities, these moments reaffirm our resolve and commitment to stand against racism in all its forms, and work with our neighbors to create a reality in which everyone can thrive.” They also released an Equity Statement governing the organization and its work.
6. Chicanos por la Causa: Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) is a diversified community development corporation that serves individuals and families with low to moderate income in the southwestern U.S. CPLC’s core mission is to drive economic and political empowerment in the people they serve to help them achieve self-sufficiency. CPLC’s roots come from the 1969 walkouts against an unfair and unequal education system for Latinos, and their continued and enhanced advocacy efforts still address inequities in education, housing, health & human services, financial stability, economic opportunity and community empowerment. In their “Statement on Protests Against Police Brutality” their President and CEO writes, “In the spirit of Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr., Chicanos por La Causa believes in the power of peaceful protests. We stand beside those seeking monumental and lasting change to end racism once and for all. There is no other road forward for this nation.”
7. Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF): Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is committed to spreading economic equity across the country, to generate more investment in the communities that need it most. For more than 30 years, CRF has helped reinvent the flow of business funding, eliminate barriers to economic mobility, and build community wealth through empowering people, breaking the cycle of inequity, and fighting for economic justice. In a recent solidarity statement, CRF affirmed, “our commitment to the people, small business owners and community development organizations of South Minneapolis is firm: we will fight the systemic and institutional racism that still permeates and destroys the community we love.” Learn more about the systemic changes that they seek.
8. Enterprise Community: Enterprise Community is an affordable housing nonprofit with a mission is to create opportunity for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities. Enterprise not only provides affordable housing, but also provides residents with the tools for success: easy access to transit, good jobs, education, and health care services. In their Statement on Systemic Racism, they write, “[Racism]shows up in the legacy of housing policy and disinvestment we confront every day in the communities Enterprise has worked in for nearly 40 years. These injustices underscore a basic truth: our mission as an organization and the progress of our country are not achievable until we address the racist structures that have led us here.” Additionally, Enterprise has committed to making racial equity central to their work as one of the leading pillars of their forthcoming strategic plan.
9. Equal Exchange: Equal Exchange is a pioneering Fair Trade and organic food company with a mission to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers, and to demonstrate the contribution of worker co-operatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic, and sustainable world. They recently released a statement expressing their solidarity with those “fighting for racial justice, against police brutality, and those bravely working to create necessary change.”
10. Global Communities: Global Communities is an international nonprofit with a mission to serve as a catalyst for long-lasting positive change in low- and moderate-income communities around the world, helping them improve their social, economic, and environmental conditions. Global Communities runs a multitude of programs that encompass financial services, economic development, global health, food security, and humanitarian assistance in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. In a co-statement with Global Communities Partner, PCI, the two organizations’ CEOs write, “The two of us who sign this letter state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter and that the loss of life, entrenched violence and unequal treatment of the Black community must end now. That commitment is engrained in our DNA as organizations committed to community-led change and honoring the dignity and common humanity of all people.”
11. Grameen America: Founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America is a nonprofit microfinance organization dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families. The organization offers microloans, training and support to transform communities and fight poverty in the United States. In a statement entitled, “Black Lives Matter” Grameen America recommits itself to prioritize anti-racism in its work to scale financial inclusion in underserved communities across the country.
12. IFF: IFF, as the largest nonprofit CDFI in the Midwest, finances a variety of community facilities that range from affordable housing to community centers, particularly in the south and west side of Chicago. Under-resourced communities need housing, schools, community centers, and health centers, and IFF works as a lender, real estate consultant, and developer to provide loans to nonprofits. In a statement from the CEO and Board Chair, IFF recognizes its role as a nonprofit lender and writes, “Other institutions – in particular, the financial sector – must also engage in this kind of reckoning. We must step beyond what is legally required of us to correct the longstanding systemic bias that has led to the unequal wealth and health of Black communities and other communities of color.” In the same statement, IFF pledges a more explicit focus on racial equity, reiterating the importance of its staff anti-racism training and committing their core team to working on an action plan that will, among other things, examine their internal and external policies and programs to ensure a grounding in equity and inclusivity.
13. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC): LISC connects local organizations and community leaders with resources to revitalize neighborhoods and improve quality of life. The LISC model assembles private and public resources and directs it to locally defined priorities through loans, grants and equity investments local, statewide and national policy support, and technical and management assistance. In the wake of George Floyd's death, executive directors from LISC's local offices have issued calls to their communities to commit to the “work of upending racial injustice and to rebuilding a society where every life is sacred.” In a video entitled, “In Pursuit of Shared Humanity,” President and CEO of LISC, Maurice A. Jones says, “We need to keep the central message, that those who do not share my race, do not share my religion, do not share my gender, still share my humanity..” Learn more about LISC’s Safety and Justice and Economic Development initiatives.
14. Opportunity Finance Network: Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is the nation's leading network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), with a mission to lead CDFIs and their partners to ensure that low-income and low-wealth people and communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services. In an article entitled, “CDFIs—Bringing About a New Season in America” OFN President and CEO Lisa Mensah notes that George Floyd’s murder has “put on full display the unfinished work of our country to confront our systems of racial and economic injustice. ” She writes of the powerful histories of CDFIs, noting that “many CDFIs were born out of the civil rights movement and the protests of the 1960s and 1970s. CDFIs are Financial First Responders in times of crisis. During recessions, natural and man-made disasters, and periods of civil unrest, when banks restrict lending, CDFIs lean in.”
15. Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH): Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and steward affordable rental housing to provide stability, hope and economic security to low- and moderate-income individuals and families. In POAH’s recent “Statement on Racial Justice” their President and CEO Aaron Gornstein writes, “We must continue to use our platform to advocate for racial justice, to invest in Black and other minority-owned business and contractors, to amplify the voices of our residents and community members, and to stand in solidarity with our community partners across the country. We have always been in this work for the long term and we are recommitting to that promise today.”
16. Social Enterprise Foundry (Urban Land Conservancy): With funding from Calvert Impact Capital, The Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) financed the Social Enterprise Foundry, which hosts several social enterprises that employ nearly 150 total people in Sun Valley, CO—one of the poorest neighborhoods in the state. The mission of the Social Enterprise Foundry is to improve lives in the Denver metro area and focus on environmental sustainability, job training and job creation. In a statement entitled, “Solidarity in the Name of Justice,” President and CEO of ULC, Aaron Miripol writes, “We envision a region where people of color and those targeted for displacement may remain in place, in the neighborhoods they love, through affordable real estate options. Accomplishing this vision means we must work urgently to counterbalance the prevailing market norms and bring resources and systems to bear to create these opportunities.” In this statement, ULC re-commits to dismantling oppressive systems and calling out racism as the biggest threat to this vision they hold.
17. Volunteers of America: Volunteers of America is a faith-based nonprofit organization that provides hundreds of services to disadvantaged communities, including housing assistance, healthcare, and housing. VOA recently released a “Statement of Commitment to Justice”, in which they write, “Despite the need to return to “normal,” it cannot mean returning to old injustices. Under pressure from dual national emergencies – with the COVID-19 pandemic followed by civil unrest – we face an opportunity of a lifetime to change course and finally make a true difference.”
18. Wildflower Schools: Wildflower is an ecosystem of decentralized Montessori micro-schools that are teacher-led and offer child-centered learning environments to support children and families from diverse backgrounds. The model combines Montessori methods in one-room, neighborhood shopfronts with a focus on parent engagement, intentional student diversity, teacher empowerment and data-driven instruction. In a statement entitled, “Justice for George Floyd,” Wildflower Schools writes, “Are you a parent of a white child? Talk to your child about the ways racism plagues our country. Are you the parent of a black, brown or bi-racial child? Communities of color are grieving, for our collective loss and for the impact this has on every child. The Wildflower community is here to support you.Are you a teacher? Learn about your own racial identity, build your consciousness of how this impacts your practice, and teach your students to be anti-racist.” Teachers and Wildflower partners are taking action and invite others to join them by using this collection of resources.