Addressing systemic racism through impact investments

2023.02_MPF_VCLF GBV employees

Black History Month recognizes the contributions and tribulations of generations of African Americans throughout history. Acknowledging the injustices perpetrated by systemic racism in U.S. financial systems, Mercy Partnership Fund investees have developed numerous products and initiatives to address these inequities.  


  • Vermont Community Loan Fund’s Justice Forward Fund (JFF) directs a portion of its impact investment capital to Black Vermonters, Indigenous Vermonters, Vermonters of Color, and Immigrant Vermonters – those traditionally and generationally excluded from conventional financial markets and services. Global Village Foods, an African specialty food enterprise, received a JFF loan to help support its growing business. “The Justice Forward Fund was the answer to our burning need. It saved the day for us,” says Mel Harris, one of the owners.  
  • The Forward Community Investments (FCI) Emerging Developer Loan Program reduces racial and socioeconomic disparities for people of color and women who face barriers (networks, technical assistance, and access to capital) to develop real estate projects and transform Wisconsin neighborhoods. Through their partnership with FCI, Greg Davis and David Griggs started One 5 Olive to revitalize and stabilize neighborhoods in Milwaukee’s North Side through real estate development, where residents continue to be impacted by the consequences of the area’s racial disparities. 
  • Cooperative Fund of the Northeast recently launched the Co-Op Navigator Fellowship, a three-year program to build the capacity of BIPOC-focused and -led economic development organizations to encourage and create co-ops in their communities. The program responds to the bias and racism that has limited access to culturally relevant co-op development support and investment to marginalized communities and offers diverse entrepreneurs culturally and linguistically appropriate technical assistance. 


Vermont Community Loan Fund, Forward Community Investments, and Cooperative Fund of the Northeast are just a few of the more than 60 mission-driven organizations in Mercy Partnership Fund’s global community investing portfolio. Learn more here

Pictured above, Global Village Foods employees, including co-owner Damaris Hall, prepare the filling for samosas. 


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