Boston Impact Initiative’s Impact Director, Aliana Pineiro was interviewed alongside entrepreneur and owner of CASABE Fruit Store & Deli, Wendy Luzon for a segment about Hispanic Heritage Month on Chronicle 5 on Sept 16th.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/IMG-8271-scaled-e1631901893367.jpg12671920deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-09-16 20:00:032021-09-17 14:19:35BII and Portfolio Company CASABE Featured on Chronicle 5
EmVision Productions creates video content that helps clients communicate their organization’s social impact. Cofounder Tariana V. Little holds a DrPH from Harvard, focusing on communications and innovation and this expertise informs their Social Impact Storytelling™ framework. Their clients include nonprofits, social enterprises, government agencies, and corporations. In 2021, BII provided a term loan to finance a production vehicle, equipment and team growth. Learn more
Caribbean Integration Community Development (CICD) is a non-profit housing and community development organization that creates and maintains affordable housing in areas of Boston with large numbers of people of Caribbean descent. The organization’s first affordable housing development is Cote Village in Mattapan, which will be permanently affordable and meet LEED Silver Sustainability Standards. In 2021, BII extended a line of credit to CICD to smooth cash flows and facilitate team growth. Learn more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/cicd-logo.png132131Monica Hinojos-Capeshttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngMonica Hinojos-Capes2021-08-11 16:28:462021-08-11 16:42:52Caribbean Integration Community Development (CICD)
Casabe Fruit Store & Delicatessen is a small grocery store in downtown Lawrence. It is owned and operated by two Latinx Lawrence residents with deep connections to the city as activists and community leaders. The store carries fresh produce and supports local food entrepreneurs by selling their products. In 2021, BII partnered with the Harvard Business School Impact Fund to provide a term loan for startup working capital to the newly opened store. Learn more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Casabe-Logo.png131131Monica Hinojos-Capeshttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngMonica Hinojos-Capes2021-08-11 16:22:422021-08-11 16:34:20Casabe Fruit Store & Delicatessen
Beantown Builders is a Brockton-based, Black-owned general contracting firm that specializes in residential remodeling projects in the Greater Boston area. The company works with first-time homebuyers who take 203K loans to remodel the homes, which are often distressed properties, thus making homeownership and home improvement accessible to more families. In 2021, BII made a term loan to Beantown Builders to refinance debt and support company growth. Learn more
Casabe Fruit Store & Delicatessen is a small grocery store in downtown Lawrence. It is owned and operated by two Latinx Lawrence residents with deep connections to the city as activists and community leaders. The store caries fresh produce and supports local food entrepreneurs by selling their products. In 2021, BII partnered with the Harvard Business School Impact Fund and LEAF to provide working capital to the newly opened store. Learn more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/IMG_8267-scaled.jpg25601920deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-06-25 12:00:112021-07-09 16:23:36BII Partners with HBS Impact Fund and LEAF to Support Lawrence Grocery Store
SCI’s mission is to strengthen communities by connecting diverse individuals and organizations through civic engagement initiatives. SCI provides communities with skills and tools to engage citizens to make a difference, with a priority on promoting youth success and healthy communities. In 2021, they recognized Betty Francisco for leveraging her social capital in support of healthy, equitable communities. Watch here.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/SCI.jpg6281200deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-06-15 13:49:002021-08-30 13:54:32CEO Betty Francisco Receives SCI Idealist Award
BII’s CEO, Betty Francisco was named on Latino Leaders Magazine’s national list of 100 Most
Influential Latinas 2021! She is in the company of other CEOs and business executives, politicians,
actors, writers and even Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor! Read more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/LLM.png433341deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-06-01 13:57:302021-08-30 14:03:13CEO Betty Francisco Named one of 100 Most Influential Latinas
Beantown Builders is a Brockton-based general contracting firm that specializes in residential remodeling projects in the Greater Boston area. The company works with first-time homebuyers who take 203K loans to remodel the homes, which are often distressed properties. In 2021, BII made a loan to Beantown Builders to support company growth. Learn more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Beantown_3-1.jpg7681024deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-06-01 12:00:122021-07-08 21:25:14Beantown Builders Receives Financing for Growth
Since 1995, as part of its mission to promote and celebrate the achievements of women, YW Boston has held the Academy of Women Achievers celebration. This is an event through which they recognize and honor some of Boston’s brightest, boldest, bravest and most influential women. BII’s CEO Betty Francisco was among the Honorees for the 26th Annual Celebration in 2021.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Francisco_Betty-crop.jpeg12801280deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-05-25 13:42:122021-08-30 13:47:57BII's CEO Inducted into YW's Academy of Women Achievers
Caribbean Integration Community Development (CICD) is a non-profit housing and community development organization that creates and maintains affordable housing in areas of Boston with large numbers of people of Caribbean descent. The organization’s first affordable housing development is Cote Village in Mattapan, which will be permanently affordable and meet LEED Silver Sustainability Standards. In 2021, BII extended a line of credit to CICD to smooth cash flows and facilitate its growth. Learn more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/CICD.jpg11252000deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-05-05 12:00:272021-07-08 21:22:16CICD Receives Line of Credit to Support Affordable Housing Development
Caraballo Accounting provides accounting and HR services and training to Latinx small business owners in Eastern MA. Through cultural competence and Spanish-language instruction, they are addressing barriers for local entrepreneurs looking to launch, grow or expand their businesses. They have partnered with various Latinx organizations to address the need for advisory support and small-business coaching and serve the communities of Lowell, Lawrence, and Worcester. In 2021, BII made a loan for expanding the team and building out an online training platform. Learn more
Roundhead Brewing is the first Latinx-owned craft brewery in Massachusetts. The solar-powered brewery will open in 2021 in Hyde Park. The brewery aims to be a community space that will sell a variety of craft beers and fresh pizza in the taproom and beer in cans to-go. In 2021, BII invested in a term loan as part of a larger equipment financing facility in partnership with RSF Social Finance to purchase electric brewing equipment. Learn more
Waku produces and sells horchata lojana, an ancient Andean herbal beverage that promotes a healthy gut. A Latinx-owned business, Waku sources its herbal ingredients from small-scale indigenous farmers in Ecuador at fair prices and has pursued organic certification for many of its ingredients. After producing and bottling its products in Ecuador, Waku distributes them in New England stores and through its website direct to customers. In 2021, BII provided a line of credit to support the company’s continued growth in the years to come. Learn more
Boston Impact Initiative published its 2020 Impact Report highlighting the resilient community of small businesses in Eastern Massachusetts and nascent economic justice investment funds across the country. 2020 was no ordinary year! The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, paired with the renewed struggle for racial justice, made 2020 particularly challenging for BIPOC leaders. Through the generosity of supporters, we came together to provide BIPOC small businesses and workers with much-needed assistance by disbursing grant funds, putting in hundreds of hours of technical assistance and collaborating with partners to advocate for the needs of BIPOC-owned small businesses.
“Despite the odds, our portfolio companies demonstrated courage and resilience by creatively pivoting business models, relentlessly pursuing relief funds, and surviving–until they can once again thrive. Amid the uprisings in their cities, [fund-building] cohort members demonstrated leadership and engaged new and broad-based support for investing with a racial justice lens. We are living through a defining moment, and our collective ability to act with care, generosity and justice is being tested.”
– Excerpt from the letter from BII President and Founder, Deborah Frieze
In the BII Fund, our impact continues to have a positive effect on the community:
The portfolio is majority run, governed and staffed by people of color;
Total compensation in the portfolio was $28.5 M;
The portfolio pays the vast majority of its workers above living wage; and
Despite the pandemic, most companies grew revenue and raised follow-on capital.
Every so often, a moment arises when an organization takes a giant leap into its future. This is one of those moments for the Boston Impact Initiative.
When BII first launched our pilot fund in 2013, there was no such thing as a racial justice lens in impact investing. What a long way we’ve come since then! With eight years and over 60 investments under our belts, we’ve learned a great deal about what it takes to invest to close the racial wealth divide in our communities. Over the past few years and especially in 2020, that’s emerged as a central thesis for many funds in Massachusetts and throughout the nation.
Today, our fund and the entrepreneurs we’ve invested in continue to thrive, despite the challenges of COVID-19. Our Integrated Capital Fund-Building Cohort members are well on their way to launching their own place-based funds. So now our work is about transforming the field so that closing the racial wealth divide becomes integral to any community-focused investing strategy. That means sharing what we’ve learned about how to source, diligence, structure and manage investments based on the principles of economic justice. It includes helping to rebalance the relationship between financial and impact returns so entrepreneurs are rewarded for the social and ecological impact they create. And it includes exploring innovative governance structures that disaggregate capital from power so that the patterns of the past aren’t recreated in the funds of the future.
Over the past 18 months, I’ve been working closely with our Board on identifying a new leader for the organization with the skills, passion and relationships to take BII into the future. We feel enormously fortunate to have found that leader in Betty Francisco, who I am honored to announce as BII’s incoming CEO.
If you haven’t crossed paths with Betty yet, you probably will soon enough. Betty comes to us from Compass Working Capital where she has served as General Counsel for the last 3½ years. She is also the co-founder of Amplify Latinx and sits on the boards of BILH, the Boston Foundation and Nellie Mae Education Foundation, among others. Boston Magazine named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Boston in 2020 and 2018, and the Boston Business Journal named her as one of the 2020 Power 50 – Extraordinary Year Extraordinary People. Betty is no stranger to BII, as we’ve been blessed to have her serving on BII’s Investment Committee since January 2019.
Since the onset of COVID-19, Betty has been a force of nature on behalf of entrepreneurs of color who have disproportionately endured the ravages of COVID-19 on their economic well-being. I’ve witnessed her light a fire underneath lenders and angel investors, technical assistance providers and researchers, philanthropists and policymakers to take action to correct structural inequities in our communities. Betty will begin her tenure as CEO on May 17th, when she’ll bring that passion and dedication to BII as a platform from which she can continue to build multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaborations throughout our state and beyond.
I will continue in my role as Board President to partner with Betty in transitioning BII into its next stage of growth. Please join me in welcoming our new CEO.
Founder and President
Message From Our Incoming CEO
I am excited to join BII as its next CEO and grateful to Deborah and the Board of Directors for putting their confidence in me to lead the organization at a pivotal point in time for Boston and the nation.
A little over two years ago, Deborah Frieze opened the door for me to dive into the impact investment space when she invited me to join the BII investment committee. I was a budding angel investor with a passion for supporting female founders and entrepreneurs of color. I aspired to become a venture capital investor to grow the bench of Black, Latinx and immigrant investors as a pathway to wealth-building in communities of color. The opportunity to steward BII’s mission and to be part of investment decisions that were transforming small businesses has been a blessing and privilege. BII helped me develop a deeper understanding of how to move beyond traditional impact investing towards creating restorative capital that puts power, ownership and control into the hands of founders and communities that have been overlooked and underinvested in for far too long.
This past year, the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis and racial reckoning have given me clarity around where I want to make the most impact at this time: transforming the capital landscape for entrepreneurs of color to close persistent racial and gender wealth gaps. As a business leader, ecosystem builder and diversity, equity and inclusion advocate, I look forward to bringing these skills and experiences to my new role. BII provides a fertile ground to grow a powerful investing and systems change model to uplift communities and businesses of color that are the backbone of our economy. This is the right moment in our nation’s history to shape and advance bolder, community-driven solutions to address systemic wealth gaps at scale. I am proud of the achievements and pioneering work of BII’s board, staff and advisors and excited to partner with this exceptional team which has created one of the most innovative and impactful funds in the industry. As I join BII, my goal is to amplify its mission and to help steer it towards its next strategic phase.
I look forward to continuing to build on the foundation set by BII to advance social, racial, and economic justice, and to meeting the larger BII community in the coming months.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/circle-bii-favicon.png200200deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-04-12 20:37:252021-04-14 10:16:29BII announces our new CEO
Waku produces and sells horchata lojana, an ancient Andean herbal beverage that promotes a healthy gut. The Latinx-owned business sources its herbal ingredients from small-scale indigenous farmers in Ecuador at fair prices and has pursued organic certification for many of its ingredients. After producing and bottling its products in Ecuador, Waku distributes them in New England stores and direct to customers through its website. In 2021, BII provided Waku with a line of credit to even out cashflow as the company grows.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Waku-Owners-scaled.jpg17092560deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-03-24 12:00:562021-05-03 13:49:15Latinx Drink Company, Waku, Receives Line of Credit
Boston Impact Initiative condemns the racially motivated murders in Atlanta on March 16th. This act is another case of the uniquely American plague of mass shootings, which tragically occurred again just days later in Boulder. But the Atlanta attack was a mass shooting mixed with white supremacy – something that we also witnessed in Charleston in 2015, Pittsburgh in 2018, and El Paso in 2019. We stand with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their grief, and we lift up the experiences of women, for whom this violence is appalling yet its misogynist roots are familiar. For the AAPI community, this is another horrific incident in a long history of being targeted, excluded, and scapegoated in this country.
For me, I feel a personal connection with the AAPI community. My grandmother, Fredisvinda, came to the U.S. from the Philippines as a war bride in 1951. The U.S. held the Philippines as a colony from 1898 to 1946 and maintained an enormous naval base there until 1992. My American grandfather was in the U.S. Navy during WWII, stationed at Subic Bay.
When my grandparents moved back to the States with their daughters, they settled in Pennsylvania and my grandmother made her new home despite being faced with anti-Asian sentiment. This harassment ranged from neighbors protesting when my grandparents purchased their house to people yelling “Die, Japs!” and making machine-gun noises when my grandmother was out with her daughters. But my grandmother loved the U.S. She was the first in her family to emigrate and she encouraged many Filipino relatives to become U.S. citizens by serving in the U.S. Navy.
I am sharing this personal story to say that the people who were murdered on March 16th, most of them Asian-American women, each had their own story. And like my grandmother, many were striving for a decent life despite the anti-Asian harassment and violence perpetuated by their neighbors and the government.
At BII, we are standing in solidarity with the AAPI community in the Boston area, which has suffered harassment, economic hardship, and lack of access to capital, especially in the last year. Here are some organizations that are doing exceptional work in Eastern MA. Please join us in supporting them.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/circle-bii-favicon.png200200deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-03-20 17:10:502021-04-13 14:11:52BII Stands with the AAPI Community
Roundhead Brewing is the first Latinx-owned craft brewery in Boston! The solar-powered brewery will open in 2021 in Hyde Park in the former Powerhouse at Westinghouse Plaza. The brewery aims to be a community space that will sell a variety of craft beers and fresh pizza in the taproom and beer in cans to-go. In 2021, BII invested in a term loan as part of a larger equipment financing facility in partnership with RSF Social Finance to purchase electric brewing equipment. Learn more here
Roundhead also raised over $100,000 from over 240 investors through Mainvest, platform that connects communities with local, brick and mortar businesses. Their success bodes well for a neighborhood that will embrace the new local brewery. Watch the video about Roundhead Brewing here.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/RHB-scaled.jpg19202560deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-03-17 12:00:042021-05-03 14:07:19BII & RSF Partner to Provide Roundhead Brewing with Equipment Financing
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/T25.png356640deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-02-11 13:36:322021-08-30 13:42:01BII Fund Makes Transformative 25 List
Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) is a nonprofit organization that supports small businesses and nonprofits through inclusive English/Spanish programming across Massachusetts and in Colorado. EforAll’s one-year accelerator combines immersive business training, mentorship and access to an extended professional network. EforAll’s pitch competitions are fast-paced, fun community events that help early-stage entrepreneurs gain valuable exposure and feedback on a business idea. BII provides an annual grant to EforAll to support programming. Learn more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/logo-E4All.png131189deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-01-27 11:25:222021-01-27 11:25:22E for All
The Chelsea Business Foundation invests in the development of the business community in Chelsea, MA and fosters increased access to resources for Chelsea’s Latino business community and other small businesses. Its goal is to create an engaged community by hosting events and providing resources, technical assistance, and financial support. CBF is an enabler for small business owners to grow and scale their businesses. In 2020, BII provided a loan and a line of credit to Chelsea Business Foundation. Learn more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/logo-chelsea.png131189deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-01-27 11:24:452021-01-27 11:24:45Chelsea Business Foundation
El Planeta is an integrated Latinx news company producing content and events relevant to the Latinx community in Massachusetts. Its reach spans to more than 200K people on a weekly basis through print, television, and digital. During the pandemic the readership has increased to 500K. With more than 10 countries represented in the staff, El Planeta is an essential link between organizations, companies, and government to the Latinx community and highlights stories of under- represented Latinx communities. In 2020, BII provided a line of credit to El Planeta. Learn more
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/logo-elplaneta.png131189deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-01-27 11:24:122021-01-27 11:24:12El Planeta
Caraballo Accounting provides accounting and HR services and training to Latinx small business owners in Eastern MA. Through cultural competence and Spanish-language instruction, they address barriers for local entrepreneurs looking to launch, grow, and expand their businesses. Owner Franklin Caraballo has partnered with various local Latinx organizations to address the need for advisory support and small- business coaching in the region. He currently serves the communities of Lowell, Lawrence, and Worcester. In 2021, BII made a loan for expanding the team and building out its online training platform.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Final31_MG_1322-scaled.jpg17072560deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-01-18 16:31:282021-02-08 11:41:38build your hand
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Final43_MG_1463-scaled.jpg17072560deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-01-18 16:31:182021-02-08 11:41:44play your hand
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Final37_MG_1401-scaled.jpg17072560deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2021-01-18 15:55:112021-02-08 11:41:31role play
The Chelsea Business Foundation is a nonprofit organization that invests in the development of the business community in Chelsea, MA and fosters increased access to resources for Chelsea’s Latino business community and other small businesses. Its goal is to create an engaged community by hosting events and providing resources, technical assistance, and financial support. CBF is an enabler for small business owners to grow and scale their businesses. In 2020, BII provided a loan and a line of credit to Chelsea Business Foundation to support its technical assistance for small businesses.
https://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/logo-chelsea.png131189deborahhttps://bostonimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BII_logo_2018_square_RGB-hdr.pngdeborah2020-12-31 15:47:332021-02-08 15:53:37Nonprofit Chelsea Business Foundation Receives Loan from BII
El Planeta is an integrated Latinx news company producing content and events relevant to the Latinx community in Massachusetts. Its reach spans to more than 200K people on a weekly basis through print, television, and digital. During the pandemic the readership increased to 500K. With more than 10 countries represented in the staff, El Planeta is an essential link between organizations, companies, and government to the Latinx community and highlights stories of under- represented Latinx communities. In 2020, BII provided a line of credit to El Planeta.
El Planeta’s Javier Marin on working with Henry Noel Jr. to close his loan from BII:
“[Henry] knows exactly how to speak to a small minority business owner. We are small in size but giants in spirit. Our companies are our life. Henry managed to convince me that BII was more a partner than a lender. At the end, we both worked tirelessly to get the loan efficiently closed before year-end. I will always be grateful to him and BII. You guys bring more than just funding, it is like air to breathe, energy to think and force to grow.”