Putting Non-Extractive Finance into Practice
When investors hear the word “cooperative” it should immediately convey the idea of working together toward a common goal. Headquartered in New York City and working in communities across the country, Seed Commons is a cooperative, or democratically run financial organization, that is reimagining finance and lending. It uses non-extractive finance vehicles to support communities to repair their local economies by building businesses that meet community needs.
So you have money invested with Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street, or Fidelity, and you recently heard that these Asset Managers have failed to utilize their power as large shareholders of publicly traded companies to address structural racism.
You don’t want your money held at, or managed by a Company that is supporting voter suppression and other public policies that cause great harm to communities of color. After all that we have learned about racial injustice in American society, some companies are still, to this day, voting to approve all-white corporate boards of directors, or blocking shareholder efforts to improve corporate disclosures of lobbying activities and political contributions.
RUNWAY was founded in 2017 by leaders in the women of color entrepreneurship ecosystem to help provide “friends and family”- style capital, expertise, and mentorship to Black businesses who are vitally important to the communities they serve yet continue to face many barriers to building their businesses.
Since launching its first pilot program in partnership with Self Help Federal Credit Union in Oakland, Calif., with a modest $500,000, RUNWAY has since expanded nationally and now directs several million dollars to support Black businesses on both coasts. As a 100% Black and Brown-women led financial innovation firm, RUNWAY is a great example of an innovative impact investment group