Urban Advisors and Calvert Impact Capital Announce Additional Funding for UP Community Fund Focused on Entrepreneurs of Color in the Southeastern U.S.

The Fund has lent over $7 million to 14 businesses owned by men and women entrepreneurs of color in its first year and a half

​Calvert Impact Capital, the mission-driven investor dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable world, and Urban Advisors, a community-based fund manager, announced a second close for the UP Community Fund, a lender that provides financial and technical assistance to entrepreneurs of color in the southeastern United States. The additional $7.35 million from new lenders brings the total fund size to $19.5 million to meet demand in this under-resourced market.

“We are incredibly excited about new lenders joining the UP Community Fund,” said David Sharp, CEO of UP Community Fund. “Over the last 18 months, we have helped businesses grow through acquisition, create generational wealth transfers, and solidified foundations for long-term growth. We look forward to working with our new partners to broaden our community impact.”

The UP Community Fund was launched in May 2018 to address income inequality and catalyze wealth creation in communities of color in the southeastern U.S., the region with the highest concentration of low economic mobility in the country. To date, the Fund has deployed more than $7 million to 14 entrepreneurs of color – six of whom are women – operating in construction, infrastructure, transportation and logistics, healthcare and business services sectors.

“The UP Community Fund has helped my company grow sales, establish a new business unit and plan for the future – they are a great partner,” said Tawanda Scott, CEO of ASAP Staffwear, which provides company uniforms and business promotional items.

The Fund is designed to address challenges that disproportionately affect entrepreneurs of color: lack of access to capital, lack of small business advisory services and limited relationship networks. The Fund provides flexible loans between $250,000 and $2 million to high-potential small businesses where there is a major gap in the credit market, along with technical assistance tailored to each borrower.

“The UP Community Fund has helped me shift my thinking from sole-proprietor-focused to corporation-focused. The capital helped me purchase two additional dump trucks, equipment and hire additional workers. In addition, the technical assistance has allowed me to grow my business and expand my business network,” said Don Britton, CEO of Luvall Asphalt Services.

Businesses are supported to grow sales, but also to expand their network of advisors and peers. The Fund has developed informal peer-based resource sharing between the businesses, their employees, and members of their local communities. To date, the Fund has created five contract opportunities within the existing portfolio.

“The UP Community Fund’s relationship lending model and focus on deploying innovative financing and services to increase wealth-building opportunities is creating real impact in communities and inspiring other lenders to join us,” said Caroline Yarborough, Syndications Analyst at Calvert Impact Capital. “We are excited that experienced, mission-driven lenders like Olamina Fund, Living Cities, Pi Investments, American Baptist Home Mission Society and BSW Wealth Partners clients have joined us, MetLife, Amalgamated Bank and Riverside Church to support the Fund’s growth.”

“Our goal is to create a community of borrowers that can spark positive change in their respective communities. We look forward to seeing how much impact these businesses can create when capital is not an issue,” said Sharp.

Calvert Impact Capital would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of Morgan Lewis & Bockius, the legal counsel who helped make this transaction possible.

About Calvert Impact Capital

Calvert Impact Capital (formerly Calvert Foundation) invests to create a more equitable and sustainable world. Through our products and services, we raise capital from individual and institutional investors to finance intermediaries and funds that are investing in communities left out of traditional capital markets. During our 22-year history, we have mobilized nearly $2 billion of investor capital. Calvert Impact Capital has recently expanded our services to include loan syndications, where we originate and structure loans for institutional and accredited investors seeking environmental and social impact. Since the launch in 2017, we have syndicated more than $210 million of capital across 13 transactions. Learn more at https://www.calvertimpactcapital.org/invest/syndication-services.

About Urban Advisors

Urban Advisors is an impact investment consulting firm focused on solving economic inequality for communities and people of color. We have been in the impact investment space for the past 12 years and have participated in over 100 impact investment-related transactions. The UP Community Fund represents an expansion of our impact-focused fund management business. Business owners seeking financing can visit https://www.upcommunityfund.com/ to learn more about the lending criteria and the process for applying for a loan.

For lender inquiries:
Caroline Yarborough

For loan inquiries:
David Sharp 

For press inquiries:
Cindy Stoller​ ​
Confluence Partners

Source: Calvert Impact Capital