We're still asking “how can we do better” in giving people more opportunities in 2022 and beyond, and working harder since funding is still focused on investing in economic and social justice for underinvested communities. But how long will this last?
When you have a great idea but need money to realize its potential, there are two paths:
“Bootstrap” development of the opportunity using your money, and sometimes “friends and family” money, to get it off the ground; or
Seek outside capital from lenders or investors or donors (or all of the above).
The second path is a difficult journey. I’ve seen all types of opportunities funded throughout my career, and yet also too many good projects from great leaders not funded. I've learned that, notwithstanding blatant discrimination, the difference is whether the opportunity is fully investment-ready.
Right now, there is money for social impact opportunities from impact investors, Opportunity Zone funds, CDFIs fueled by the federal government, major corporations for DEI, and foundations for nonprofits and accelerators targeting black businesses. We’re also seeing a very welcome adjustment toward more equitable loan requirements in some deals.
The scramble is to get high impact projects ready
to capture these funding streams now. (Read more below)
Here's What Investment-Ready Looks Like
How To Know If You Are On Track to Get Funded
What’s the rush? Maybe the new funding criteria that promote equity and impact are here to stay? I fear not, but I’d love to be wrong. Let's keep pushing, just in case. Yours in Peace and Change,
Are you a funder seeking to connect meaningfully to projects that make a difference but worry they are not ready? Do you have a project that seems ready but is not connecting with funders? Are you working on either side of this equation and have ideas for how to realize more opportunities in this moment?
We want to hear your experiences and concerns.