The Andrus Family Fund/Andrus Family Philanthropy Program (AFF/AFPP), a fund of the Surdna Foundation, seeks a Program Associate to join a path-breaking fifth- generation family philanthropy. The Program Associate will play an important role in contributing ideas and administrative leadership to the future of the AFF and AFPP.
Earned income growth for full-time wage and salary workers 1980 - 2012
by George Soule | Director, Communications
They’re pretty to look at, but in the era of GPS, maps are used by fewer and fewer people to help them get from here to there.
A new set of interactive maps and data sets, the National Equity Atlas, moves people in a different way. Data on demographic changes and racial and economic inclusion is presented for the country’s largest 150 regions, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. as a whole, to help illustrate the case for more inclusive growth policies.
The Atlas was developed as a tool for the growing movement to create a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient economy.
But can maps really change the world?
John Snow’s 1854 map of a small corner of London certainly changed the world. Snow, considered the father of modern epidemiology, used simple mapping techniques to plot deaths related to cholera and thus prove that contamination was spread via water from a local well. Maps did what his words alone could not do.
People of Color (US Census Bureau)
The National Equity Atlas tells a different story than Snow’s cholera map. The fairly unambiguous shaded regions, charts, and graphs help users “see the numbers” in visual terms. In a multiracial society--soon to become a majority-minority country--the maps help to make the case for equity, inclusion, and fairness as more than just the "right things" to do. Your eyes can’t help but to tell you they are economic imperatives.
The Atlas equips community leaders and policymakers with the facts and analyses needed to:
The result is a set of maps that help make the case for equity as the superior growth model.
Shifting from inequitable to just growth requires facts to guide policies. We built the National Equity Atlas to inform action to secure a prosperous and inclusive tomorrow.
Director, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity
The Surdna Foundation seeks a consultant or consulting firm to support a board of trustees learning and decision making process on mission investing. The 97-year old family foundation has endowment assets of more than $1 billion and an annual grantmaking/operations budget of $46 million. Surdna recently began an exploration of impact investing and mission investing, with the aim of developing and considering recommendations in 2015.
Between January 2015 and September 2015, Surdna staff and board will work with the selected consultant to increase our understanding of the field, analyze potential opportunities, and identify the implications for our endowment.
The Request for Proposals can be downloaded here.
Jose Garcia, a program officer in Surdna’s Strong Local Economies program led a panel to discuss “Reaching Minority-owned businesses” at the Opportunity Finance Network’s annual conference held October 15-17 in Denver. The conference is a gathering of more than 1,200 Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) funders, investors, and policy makers in Denver. Joining Jose on the panel were:
Inez Long. President & CEO of BBIF Florida, a private revolving loan fund designed to create, promote and enhance business development though loans, education, training, technical assistance and advocacy.
John Berdes. President & CEOof Craft3 a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) with a mission to strengthen economic, ecological and family resilience in Pacific Northwest communities.
Archana Pradhan, Senior Research Analyst, National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
pictured from left to right Archana Pradhan, Jose Garcia, Inez Long, John Berdes.
By 2043, the United States will be a majority minority country. In states like California, New Mexico and Texas this is already the case. With this unprecedented demographic shift come great opportunities for minority-owned businesses, but also great challenges including historic barriers to advancement for African-American, Latin and other minority populations. As these shifts continue, it imperative that businesses are not only equipped to succeed in their own communities, but can also contribute to the nation’s overall economic health. A quick look a minority-owned businesses shows that they have they have grown 45 percent to 5.8 million between 2002 and 2007—which is more than twice the national average. Much of this growth has been fueled by immigrant entrepreneurs. But this is growth from a relatively small base. Minority-owned businesses still constitute a very small percentage of our economic landscape. From 2002 to 2007, they generate receipts of $1 trillion compared to receipts of $10.3 trillion for white-owned businesses. There are a number of factors behind these data, but perhaps the most critical factor is the lack of capital available to many of these businesses.
Can you provide a snapshot of the landscape for lending to minority-owned small businesses?
Archana Pradhan: The NRCR has just published a report that maps the remarkable racial disparities in federally supported small business lending. In 2012, 12.3 SBA 7(a) loans were issued per 10,000 Hispanic-owned small businesses, and 6.7 SBA 7(a) loans were issued per 10,000 African-American-owned small businesses. 32.7 SBA 7(a) loans were issued per 10,000 Asian-owned small businesses and 16.2 SBA 7(a) loans were issued per 10,000 white-owned small businesses. We also found that minority owned businesses were far more reluctant to even apply for a loan. And for those minority-owned businesses who did apply for loans, their denial rate far exceeded that of their non-minority counterparts. This is the overall status of lending, but it’s based on one percent of lending data because we simply do not have data for the other 99 percent of lending activity.
What are some of the hurdles communities of color are experiencing in getting small business loans?
Inez Long: We’ve learned that minority owned businesses do not pursue loans as aggressively as non-minority owned business. So it’s critical that if you want to lend to these businesses, you must get really engaged in the communities. This is a far different type of lending than traditional bank lending.
Are there specific approaches or products that have been particularly effective?
Inez Long: Often the first thing people who want to enter this field of lending think about is micro loans. But it is important to understand that these are far from the only size loans ($50,000 and less) that minority owned businesses need. While these loans are vital, as a lender you should not really even consider microloans unless you’re willing to invest considerable time and resources to offer technical assistance. In our loan agreements we require that clients participate in monthly technical trainings.
If you determine that you will offer larger loans, it’s likely that your focus will be on stronger firms that have been in existence for three or more years and may have professional licenses. These types of clients will require far less technical assistance and the risk of default is also much lower.
Tell us about this more holistic approach that you believe CDFIs must take toward their lending?
Inez Long: We try to take a holistic approach to lending. It’s not just about making a loan—that’s actually the most straightforward part. Instead, we look to see how we can positively impact the management structure. We try to determine how we can—via our relationships within the community—impact a client’s ability to secure new contracts or generate new customers for its business. It is also vital that we help to connect these businesses to civic leaders and local businesses leaders as well as bankers within the community. You cannot just invest capital and then go away and hope for the best. You’ve got to become a real partner and help the business build networks and capacity.
Help us get a better picture of the environment in which CDFIs are lending to minority businesses.
John Berdes: Let’s review a few contextual facts – SBA 7(a) loans to Africa Americans have doubled from 1 percent to 2 percent. And the average net worth a white family in America post-recession was $111,000. For a black family it was $4,955. And for Hispanics, it’s $7,500. Compared to white families, that’s nearly 20 times less for blacks and 15 times less for Latinos.
Here’s some additional and necessary context: Predatory lenders have targeted their subprime lending to families of color while at the same time unemployment has risen by more than 30 percent and the market value of many of those homes purchased with subprime loans have fallen by 30 percent and more. And with a blurring of lines between personal and business property all of these factors combine to make lending an almost impossible proposition for entrepreneurs of color who are still standing.
Given the scenario you’ve described, how must lenders change their philosophies when lending in thse communities?
John Berdes: We have to re-think how we as CDFIs do business and not be wed to traditional notions of lending. We’ve got to lend from inside of communities and activate personal networks and tap into knowledge that exists there. For example, we must acknowledge the underwriting power of running into a client at church or at the grocer or a board meeting. This is where risk management—informal risk management—happens.
The current lending orthodoxy doesn’t—and can’t—accommodate the complexity of these loans and the communities in which they’re made. For example, in some communities of color there’s a degree of embarrassment and shame among entrepreneur for unpaid taxes, underwater balance sheets and the stresses that it causes their families. This really got me to asking what we are really underwriting? What do we have to embrace to be effective delivery agents of impact capital?
How are we conceptualizing risk and collateral? How are we trying to assess for it and what are we controlling for? And do we really need customary levels of collateral to make loans to minority-owned businesses?
Inez Long. We had one loan fund for black-owned business and all of the bankers on the loan committee would not commit to the loan unless a 100 percent guarantee was offered. I was eventually able to get the guarantees down to 30 percent by coming up with a way to calculate the gap. Of the more than $40 million we’ve done in loans, our losses have never exceeded 3 percent. What a number of these bankers eventually learned is that loaning money to minorities does not imply that you’re going to lose your money. Character is critical – you’ve got to get into the community and find out about the person you’re considering lending to. You’ve got to learn who exactly it is that you’re considering doing business with.
Saying “No” is easy. It’s risk-free to look at the numbers and determine that the request just won’t work—that it’s too big a risk against your portfolio. Instead, you’ve got to ask yourself what you can do for each and every loan to make it work? For example, we regularly meet with community business and ask them what their needs are. We tell them what we’re doing but really want to know what they need to be successful. As a result, we created a contractors financing loan program that has nothing at all to do with their credit. Eligibility is based on a business-owner’s reputation as a contractor in the community. We’ll finance their viable contracts with working capital. We’ll loan them $50,000 - $100,000 up front, but they’ve got to participate in our technical assistance programs. We’ve got a team of consultants who work with them to ensure that their contracts are structured for profitability. This has been away for us to ensure minority contractors got the working capital they needed to grow their business. So you’ve now got companies with revenues of $2-3 million and 25 employees contributing substantially to the community because you were able to offer them a line of credit. So it’s all about character. You’ve got to know who you’re dealing with to be able to help them.
What are some of the approaches from management of CDFIs to outreach that must change to be of better service to minority-owned businesses?
John Berdes: You’ve got to take a step back and get a better understanding of the starting point and recent history and roadblocks faced by minority owned businesses before you can start thinking about ways around them. There’s no time or patience for well-intended approaches that simply do not work. We’ve got to build trust in communities and this often means pushing back against deeply ingrained historical mistrust. We’ve got to figure out way to monetize character in because there simply is not a lot of traditional collateral in these communities. The path to recovery is different from the path to normal business growth. So we as business lenders must be prepared to be very generous with our terms. Stretch out that interest-only if that is what is needed. If your original plan does not work, it is not a point of shame, disappointment or business failure. It’s just a time to go out there and get it done—a different way.
The remarks at the session have been condensed and edited
The Surdna Foundation is accepting proposals from organizations, individual artists and culture bearers for support through the Artists Engaging in Social Change program. To learn more about the Request for Proposals due November 12th, 2014, please visit www.surdna.org/rfp.
To answer potential applicants’ questions about the RFP process, the Surdna Foundation will convene a webinar on Tuesday, October 21st from 1:00pm – 2:00pm EDT. Webinar information is below.
If you are interested in applying for support and intend to join the webinar, please first read the guidelines and FAQs . In fairness to all applicants in this process, we are not able to answer questions about the viability of specific projects. Questions should focus on the process and any clarifications of the guidelines.
To create the highest quality experience for participants, this webinar will have a web-based component (through which participants will be able to type in their questions), as well as a dial-in audio line (through which participants will hear the audio for the call). You will need to be connected online and via the dial-in conference number in order to fully participate. Preregistration is not required for this webinar. Please follow the instructions below to connect.
STEP 1 of 2: Web-based Adobe Connect:
Click on the Link: http://spitfirestrategies.adobeconnect.com/artists_engaging_in_social_change_rfp/. Please type in your name, and sign in as a guest.
* If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting, before the call, test your connection and version of Flash: http://spitfirestrategies.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm.
To ensure the best quality, it is recommended that you use a computer that is cable-connected to the Internet (via Ethernet cable) rather than a wireless connection. A poor Internet connection may result in delayed webinar streaming.
STEP 2 of 2: Dial-In Conference Line to hear Audio:
To ensure high quality audio, the audio for this webinar will be available exclusively through a dial-in conference line.
To hear the audio portion of the webinar, please use the following call-in information:
Dial-in number: 1-877-885-3221 Enter Passcode: 1354296#
New Surdna Foundation and Goldman Sachs Program Awards $100,000 to Lenders in NY and CA for Excellence in Service to Underserved Communities. Today, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, The Surdna Foundation, and Opportunity Finance Network awarded $100,000 in grants to two mission-driven financial institutions for excellence in small business lending. The New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC), the first-place winner, won $75,000 for the breadth and depth of its small business lending activities in New York, and Opportunity Fund, the runner-up, won $25,000 in recognition of its innovative small business lending products in California.
The Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders (SBLA) is the first-ever award to recognize innovation, growth, and excellence in financial performance and impact in small business lending among community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other mission-driven lenders. CDFIs are community lenders that are 100% dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities. The award is a collaboration among Goldman Sachs the Surdna Foundation, and Opportunity Finance Network.
The SBLA Selection Committee awarded $75,000 to NYBDC for the size and scope of its robust portfolio of programs, partnerships, and products serving low-income borrowers, people of color, women, immigrants, and other underserved markets across New York State. In 2013, NYBDC made $283.5 million in loans to 410 businesses creating and/or retaining 8,000 jobs. NYBDC is one of the country’s top mission-driven U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders, with a total managed portfolio of more than $1.2 billion in loans.
“NYBDC is advancing the economic welfare of the State of New York by making loans to growing small businesses. These loans help the businesses increase their revenues and create jobs,” said Esta Stecher, CEO of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. “NYBDC is the first of many innovative small business lenders that we will celebrate in the coming years. The Award is part of our ongoing commitment to help small businesses grow and to shine a light on those lenders that exemplify innovation and excellence.”
NYBDC was one of 36 high-performing, mission-driven lenders nominated in the inaugural year of this national awards program. The size of the pool of strong nominees reflects of the importance of an awards program of this kind whose goal is to increase visibility of small business lenders and to showcase successful programs.
“We are deeply honored to receive the first Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders, as well as to be selected from a group of such amazing and impactful community lenders,” said Pat MacKrell, President and CEO of NYBDC. “For us, this award not only recognizes our achievements, but also supports our ongoing commitment to make a deeper impact in the diverse communities we serve, where our capital and support are needed most.”
Phillip Henderson, President of the Surdna Foundation, said, "Businesses owned by people of color, women, and immigrants are a critical feature of a community’s economic landscape. When the conditions are right, they can grow and create jobs—and opportunities for advancement—in the very places that most need them. NYBDC’s investments are an acknowledgement of the promise of these small businesses as job creators and building blocks for increased economic activity.”
NYBDC’s mission is to assist, promote, and advance the business prosperity and economic welfare throughout New York State by providing loans to small businesses including start-up, early stage, and mature businesses with a particular emphasis on minority- and women-owned businesses. An example of its commitment to support minority businesses is MyCFO, a business acceleration pilot program pairing minority entrepreneurs with a seasoned business mentor to guide them through the small business loan process. It also manages the Brooklyn Loan Fund and Bronx Opportunity Fund, two new loan funds that focus on supporting minority, immigrant, and veteran-owned businesses.
The Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders also awarded $25,000 to Opportunity Fund, a California-based community development financial institution (CDFI). The Selection Committee chose to honor Opportunity Fund in recognition of its innovative products and sustained growth in small business lending. Its EasyPay loan product, for example, allows small business owners to repay loans automatically through daily credit and debit card sales. Opportunity Fund’s growth strategy also focuses on providing financing to the underserved target market of independent truck drivers.
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, The Surdna Foundation, and Opportunity Finance Network presented the awards at the OFN 30th Anniversary Conference in Denver, CO.
About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an initiative to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital and business support services. The program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to this combination of education, capital and support services best addresses barriers to growth. The program is active in urban and rural communities across the United States. Sites include Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and Salt Lake City, as well as a National Cohort at Babson College. Access to capital is also available in parts of eight states: Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. For more information, visit: www.gs.com/10000smallbusinesses
About The Surdna Foundation
The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States -- communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. For five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity. Learn more at surdna.org
About Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)
OFN, the leading network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2012, OFN’s Network originated more than $33.3 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, and financed development/rehab of 960,000 housing units, started or expanded nearly 94,000 business and microenterprises, and helped create or maintain nearly 600,000 jobs. More information is available at: www.ofn.org
As a “mission based lender,” NYBDC looks beyond simply generating shareholder value and return on investment to focus on the broader mission of promoting prosperity and opportunity. Although our operations, in many respects, mirror the commercial lending function of a traditional bank, we are focused on providing leveraged capital to small businesses that are unable to obtain loans through traditional means. Our mission is to provide capital to facilitate jobs growth and economic development. More information on NYBDC is available at www.nybdc.com.
About Opportunity Fund
Opportunity Fund is a not-for-profit social enterprise helping thousands of California families build financial stability using microloans for small businesses, microsavings accounts, and community real estate financing. Now California's leading microfinance provider, Opportunity Fund began based on the idea that small amounts of money and financial advice could help people make permanent and lasting change to improve their own lives. Since making its first loan in 1995, the team has deployed $300 million into local communities. Our mission is to advance the economic well-being of working people by helping them earn, save and invest in their future. Learn more at www.opportunityfund.org
San Francisco will help keep its historic Chinatown neighborhood affordable and sustainable for years to come. Columbia, Mo., will bring residents together around the CoMo Energy Challenge to encourage energy efficiency. Hamilton, Ontario, will develop its first urban agriculture project to address health, environmental issues, and food insecurity, while Milwaukee, Wis., will build on its urban agriculture infrastructure, turning vacant lots into gardens that will provide residents with fresh, healthy, local food.
In all, ten communities are harnessing the power of partnership as local government and philanthropy work together to realize a better future for their communities through the Partners for Places grant program.
The ten communities were awarded a total of $562,000 by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and its partner, the , in Round Five of funding. Partners for Places (formerly the Local Sustainability Matching Fund) helps communities connect local government and philanthropy to invest in sustainability projects that promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for all residents.
Seven investor funders make up Partners for Places: , , , the Kendeda Fund, , , and .
“Partnerships between governments and philanthropic organizations allow local leaders to test innovative approaches to complex challenges. These grants will help mayors and cities take action on environmental issues and improve the life and health of their residents. During my time in City Hall, public-private partnerships had a major impact on New York City's sustainability efforts, helping us to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent, while also making our air cleaner than it has been in more than 50 years,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Partners for Places will open a sixth round of funding with a Request for Proposals available in December 2014. To attract additional interest in urban sustainability projects beyond those funded, it also houses an Idea Bank on the Funders’ Network website, which provides summaries of project applications.
Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that improves U.S. and Canadian communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability leaders and place—based foundations. National funders invest in local projects developed through these partnerships to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy and well—being for all residents. Through these investments, Partners for Places fosters long—term relationships that make our communities more prosperous, livable and vibrant.
Partners for Places is a collaborative effort of the Funders’ Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. For more information on Partners for Places, please visit the Funders’ Network website at . Funders interested in becoming a part of Partners for Places should contact at the Funders’ Network.
To date, Partners for Places has awarded $2,034,750 and funded 39 projects across North America.
by George Soule | Director, Communications
Attendees at last week’s annual meeting of the Communications Network in Philadelphia were witnesses to a metamorphosis of sorts. As they passed through the foyer adjacent to the hotel’s main ballroom, a bare wall gradually transformed into a triptych featuring the city’s skyline, an Alleghany hilltop, and the meandering Schuylkill River.
The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (MAP), a decades-old Philly institution had been given the space to demonstrate how involvement in the arts can be a force for positive change and a way for communities to tell their stories. Conference attendees were invited to pick up a brush to help the effort along. Over the course of the two and a half day gathering, dozens of people—few of us with any real talent—filled in carefully outlined sections of the wall with a palette of blues and oranges.
The pride that comes with creating a thing of beauty was not lost on those of us who dared to don plastic aprons and contribute to the piece. It was difficult not to sense the power of these projects and the way in which they reinforce people’s dignity.
Here are three ways among dozens that the Mural Arts Program will captivate you.
1. They’re not about art for art’s sake.
The gorgeous murals that bring life to walls and communities throughout Philadelphia are the most visible part of an organization that is dedicated to connecting residents to critical, often life-changing services. Programs include a restorative justice initiative which brings perpetrators of serious crimes together with victims and their families and friends to help promote healing.
2. These murals shout-out civic pride.
Like any major American city, Philadelphia has its heroes—many of whom are towering two or three stories above the city’s neighborhoods. Some are national figures like Julius Erving, better known as Dr. J, a basketball star with the Philadelphia 76ers who is widely credited with revolutionizing the game with his dunks and stunning athleticism. Others are revered within the city but not well-known beyond its limits like the Mummers—men and women who parade up Broad Street each New Year’s Day some wearing elaborate costumes costing thousands of dollars and weighing as much as the wearer. They celebrate a Northeastern Mardi Gras of sorts. And then there are favorites embraced by the city’s various ethnic communities like singer Mario Lanza who can be seen on a row house in the predominantly Italian neighborhood of South Philly.
3. They’re planned with neighborhood residents
Jane Golden, MAP’s founder, reminds people that a mural is so much more than just “art on a wall.” And though the enormous paintings may have an artist's signature off in one corner, each mural results from a careful and intensive collaboration involving the artist—or artists—MAP representatives, and neighborhood residents.
John Hawkins, a board member and great-grandson of Surdna’s founder John E. Andrus, discusses the evolution of the board’s thinking on impact investing, including its initial reluctance—due in part to family dynamics. Hawkins describes the contours leading to the board’s eventual embrace of a PRI fund and the how the family’s values informed that decision.
The Surdna Foundation board of trustees at their September meeting accepted the resignation of board member Josie Lowman. Lowman has served on the board since 2005.
Lowman, a fifth generation descendant of Surdna’s founder John E. Andrus, is a senior executive in the tax department at AIG, a leading international insurance organization. She served as board chair from 2007-2013.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served The Surdna Foundation in this important role at such a critical point in its nearly 100-year history. With an extraordinary staff, talented leadership, and a deeply engaged board, the foundation is well positioned to accelerate progress toward its mission of just and sustainable communities,” said Lowman.
“The Board of Trustees is grateful for Josie’s committed and enthusiastic leadership. During her tenure, Josie led the trustees and staff in some bold new directions which will impact the Foundation’s future significantly. We are thankful for her many talents and commitment to philanthropy,” said Board Chair Jocelyn Downie, a Professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine at Canada’s Dalhousie University.
Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.