The Urban Farming Institute of Boston, located at the historic Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan, provides farmer training, creates green collar jobs and engages urban communities in building a healthy, local food system. The non-profit organization reclaims and restores vacant lots, transforming them into functioning urban farms. In May 2018, BII Fund provided bridge finance to support the acquisition of equipment and supplies for the farming season. Learn more
Gregory Bloomfield originally hails from Toronto, where he began his career as an auditor for Ernst & Young. He has over 20 years’ experience in bookkeeping, accounting, auditing, taxation and finance across many industries such as real estate, investments and non-profit organizations. Previously, Gregory was senior auditor for a local CPA firm as well as the Director of Finance for two performing arts organization in Boston. Gregory is an avid jazz fan and plays saxophone at his church and various gigs. He also is a youth mentor and motivational speaker. Gregory handles finance and administration for the Boston Impact Initiative Fund.
Delectable Desires Pastries provides gourmet home-baked goods from scratch, specializing in event cakes. The company opened its first retail store in West Roxbury in 2015, followed by a South Station kiosk a year later. Owner Carlene O’Garro, a Mattapan native, says that her Caribbean roots influence her use of ingredients and baking style. In 2017, BII Fund partnered with a local CDFI to provide a growth capital loan to expand her workforce and increase marketing. The company is focused on increasing local sourcing and providing good, fair jobs.
In October, the Transformative Culture Project merged with Epicenter Community, a long-time portfolio member of the Boston Impact Initiative. The non-profit organization now focuses on the economic potential of the creative economy, providing award-winning arts and economic development programming for youth and adults. A key program is AccelerateBOS, which provides entrepreneurs of color with a cohort-based model for advancing their business ideas. BII Fund provided bridge finance to support the transition
Wash Cycle Laundry is a commercial laundry service that provides second-chance employment for vulnerable adults in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC. The company relies on high-efficiency washers and driers and delivers laundry by bike-saving thousands of gallons of water a year as well as fuel. In 2017, BII Fund made an equity investment to support the company’s expansion to the Boston metro area.
Democracy Brewing is a start-up worker-owned brewery and pub committed to providing great beer and hosting community conversations about democratic ideals of liberty, justice and equal opportunity. As a cooperative, the business creates the opportunity for all its workers to enjoy the profit and pride that comes with ownership. The Brewery will open its doors at 35 Temple Place in March 2018. In 2017, BII Fund purchased Direct Public Offering shares.
DoneGood, a certified B Corp, is an app and browser extension that harnesses consumer purchasing as a force for change, helping consumers discover vetted companies with ethical practices across eight categories: Go Green, Give Back, Support Workers, Nontoxic, Made in USA, Cruelty Free, Organic, and Diversity. BII Fund made a convertible debt investment to support the platform in its efforts to redirect consumer dollars toward businesses owned by people of color and women.
The Fields Corner Collaborative (BII is a member) is seeking a local business owned and/or operated by woman or person of color to occupy a prime retail space at 1452 Dorchester Avenue in the Fields Corner neighborhood of Dorchester. The award includes: up to 40 hours of pre- and post-launch business coaching; 6 months free rent starting November; reduced rent for 5 years; $50,000 capital contribution.
Applications are due September 15. Learn more
What would it look like to take back our economy? To put ordinary folks in control of the goods and services they wish to produce and consume? To keep knowledge and capital circulating within the neighborhood rather than draining out to multinational corporations?
If that’s a vision you believe in, then join the Boston Impact Initiative in becoming members of the Ujima Project, a model for a community-controlled economy in Boston. This audacious experiment is an opportunity to demonstrate a viable alternative to an economic system that extracts resources and wealth from our nation’s most vulnerable communities. Watch video
Over the last two years, more than 500 residents have participated in Ujima events and workshops to help build a shared vision for a People’s Economy in Boston. Now it’s your turn to participate. Become a Founding Member or join us on September 8-9 for Ujima’s Founding General Assembly, Dreaming Wild.
WeSpire is an employee engagement platform that supports large organizations to design, deliver and measure the benefits of positive impact programs like sustainability, corporate social responsibility and well-being initiatives. BII Fund made a convertible preferred investment in the platform to ensure that its diversity/inclusion module has the quality of content and influence that can transform the way hundreds of thousands of corporate and nonprofit employees think about racial and economic justice.