Press release: Mission Driven Finance Announces First $1M in Impact Investments
Mission Driven Finance today announced that Lucky Bolt, a local food kitchen and healthy meal delivery company, All Across Africa, a fair trade home goods wholesaler, and Thrive Public Schools are the first beneficiaries of their fund’s inaugural loans totaling $1.1 million.
Mission Driven Finance was founded in 2016 by a seasoned team of San Diego finance and philanthropic leaders to tap into a growing trend of investors looking to drive financial returns and effect positive social change. The group’s initial “impact investments” are commercial loans that provide local community-minded borrowers access to critical capital up to $500,000 at rates that encourage success.
“Communities are stronger when local businesses grow and thrive, yet many high-quality businesses end up stuck without access to affordable capital,” said Mission Driven Finance chief executive officer David Lynn. “Our blend of financing opportunities and technical assistance allows us to invest in great businesses that are advancing economic opportunity for their employees and their community – without relying on personal credit scores and guarantees like many other lenders.”
Mission Driven Finance uses a social finance ideology to make commercial loans to tenacious nonprofit and small business borrowers, moving much-needed capital to local businesses while delivering meaningful social and financial returns to investors. Their first fund is focused specifically on the San Diego region.
“We often say that being socially conscious and business savvy do not have to be mutually exclusive,” said All Across Africa chief operating officer Alicia Wallace. “In Mission Driven Finance, we’ve found a kindred spirit and business partner who can support our commitment to improving the lives of thousands of women in Africa and hiring more people at our National City headquarters.”
“It’s incredible to have a finance partner in town that is so deeply committed to equitable access to capital, the lack of which has historically hurt small businesses, and ultimately harmed job creation in the local economy,” said Karim Bouris, Executive Director of Business for Good San Diego, a nonprofit organization with a mission to unite small business owners to drive policy that improves our community.
In addition to Lynn, the Mission Driven Finance leadership team includes chief investment officer Louie Nguyen, CFA, chief operating officer Shreya S. Sasaki, director of investor relations Heather Marie Burke, and director of community engagement Lauren Grattan. Each comes to the organization with deep experience and ties to the San Diego impact and philanthropic communities. Mission Driven Finance is built on a core of community partnership, including with noteworthy agencies like CDC Small Business Finance.
While Mission Driven Finance has made significant progress toward their 2018 goal of raising and deploying their flagship $10 million commercial loan fund, Lynn hopes more investors and donors will realize the amazing opportunities we have to invest in our own backyard.
About the borrowers
All Across Africa is a home goods wholesaler with a unique supply chain model training and employing over 3,000 artisans in five countries in Africa, primarily women. A certified B-Corporation headquartered in San Diego, they are investing in expansion to support growing sales demand. Mission Driven Finance led a $600,000 financing round alongside other impact investors with a $350,000 loan.
LuckyBolt is a mission-driven company making it easy and affordable to maintain a healthy diet and support local, regenerative agriculture. Their award-winning delivery platform enables busy individuals to get fresh meals at work without having to pay delivery fees. The LuckyBolt team is rethinking food distribution entirely, addressing deep-seeded inefficiencies in the food supply chain to make high-quality food accessible to everyone and create meaningful career opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment, including transitioning military veterans. The $250,000 loan from Mission Driven Finance enables LuckyBolt to expand from a shared commissary kitchen to their own commercial kitchen and storefront.
Thrive Public Schools is a group of free, nationally recognized K-12 public schools in San Diego that prepares kids for careers and college in a safe, diverse, and joyful environment. Thrive achieves award-winning academic growth by focusing on a highly personalized learning environment with quality faculty and staff, who deeply care about each Thrive student. Thrive’s $500,000 bridge loan from Mission Driven Finance allows them to maintain a high caliber of personalized learning experiences for a growing student body in advance of tuition reimbursements from the State of California.
About Mission Driven Finance
Mission Driven Finance empowers community through new models of investing in social change. Through our commercial loan fund, advisory services, and hands-on technical assistance, Mission Driven Finance mobilizes capital to advance economic opportunity. Learn more about our community-centered approach to finance at www.missiondrivenfinance.com and discover how easy it is to invest in San Diego. Follow @MDFinanceSD.
Photo courtesy of Steven Depolo.