We believe that we can best support the creation of resilient local economies by using a range of integrated capital tools: loans, credit enhancements, equity investments, royalty finance, direct public offerings, crowdfunding, grants and more. By using this “whole portfolio” approach, the Boston Impact Initiative Fund is able to choose the best capital instrument for the age and stage of each organization we invest in. If you are an entrepreneur seeking capital, please tell us about your business via our introduction form.
Impact investors often look at the “ triple bottom line” of people, planet and profit. At BII Fund, we also consider the triple bottom line—with a twist:
Who has the opportunity to own and control their future? In our community, wealth disparities are highly racialized. So we use a race-based lens when we consider the ownership structure of the enterprise, the quality of opportunity for meaningful livelihood and advancement, and the degree of participation workers having in allocating resources and setting direction.
How well will the local economy adapt and thrive in the face of unexpected change? We seek to support businesses that maximize local production and consumption in their place, safeguard nature through ecological stewardship and engage in diverse, cooperative relationships throughout their community, including customers, clients, suppliers, employees, business partners and even competitors.
Are people taking wise risks, being creative and engaging one another in solving complex problems? We assess the well-being of our enterprises by considering the health of their finance and capital structure, the quality of trust and interdependence among leadership and employees, and the organization’s capacity to support innovation and appropriate risk-taking.
Over the past decade, many methodologies have emerged for measuring impact. Unfortunately, few have adequately addressed economic justice, which is at the heart of our work. In partnership with our portfolio companies, the Boston Impact Initiative Fund is experimenting with innovative approaches to assessing how the enterprises we support contribute to creating asset-building opportunities for communities of color.
Every year, our portfolio companies participate in a 40-question Impact Assessment. The purpose of this survey is to help increase the impact each enterprise can have on closing the wealth gap. That’s why we focus our attention on such metrics as ownership by people of color, access to quality jobs for economically marginalized groups, closing the gender wage gap and more. We view these assessments as a learning process rather than a scorecard, so our focus is less on the answer we get today than how those answers change over time.
While we’re happy to see our companies meet their financial goals, we’re thrilled when they meet or exceed their impact ambitions. Our portfolio companies are trailblazing models of shared ownership, right livelihood and zero waste—values that we hope become the foundation of new standards for business.
BII Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable loan fund that raised $7 million from a range of non-accredited investors, high net worth individuals, family offices, foundations and faith-based institutions. The Fund is now closed to new investments.
Boston Impact Initiative Fund
P.O. Box 300443
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130