GRAND RAPIDS — The Frey Foundation has invested $500,000 in the New Community Transformation Fund, a Grand Rapids capital fund that invests in minority-owned businesses.
The investment lifts the New Community Transformation Fund to $10.75 million raised since forming in 2020.
“The Frey Foundation’s investment strategy is to maximize returns to our endowment. Instruments that also help build leadership and wealth in the region’s private sector are a win-win, so partnering with the New Community Transformation Fund felt like a natural fit,” Tripp Frey, chairperson of the Frey Foundation board of trustees, said in an announcement on the investment. “We are excited to be part of this unique and much-needed focus on helping entrepreneurs of color and under-invested populations succeed and build wealth in our community.”
The New Community Transformation Fund invests $250,000 to $1.5 million in second-stage minority-owned companies in advanced manufacturing, food and agribusiness, e-commerce and information technology, life sciences, and finance technology. The Grand Rapids-based fund will also back entrepreneurs of color who are buying companies going through an ownership transition, including businesses based outside of the region that are willing to relocate to West Michigan.
The fund so far has invested in two companies: Zil Money Corp., a Texas fintech that relocated to Grand Rapids, and BAMF Health Inc. in Grand Rapids that launched advanced cancer treatment last fall.
“This region is rich in entrepreneurism and blessed with benefactors that are committed to investing in diverse opportunities,” Ollie Howie, managing director for the New Community Transformation Fund, said in a statement. “To have the Frey Foundation join our efforts is such a testament to how we can all work together to lift up underserved entrepreneurs.”
The Frey Foundation’s support for the fund was first in what it called a “mission related investment” to a local entity and that the foundation’s leadership “is excited to grow.”
“The foundation trustees and investment committee believe that when our grantmaking impact and portfolio returns can both be bolstered by a local investment instrument, we get at solving social challenges faster,” Frey Foundation President Holly Johnson said in a statement. “The thinking with this strategy is that our portfolio can do well and return dividends while also doing good by supporting a historically underrepresented demographic in the sector.”
News coverage in the nonprofit section of MiBiz is made possible by advertising support from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. GRCF is a leader in funding, initiating and leading programs that benefit the greater Grand Rapids area in arts and social engagement, education, health, neighborhoods, economic prosperity and the environment. This advertisement has no effect on editorial consideration in MiBiz.