Investments will help bring back and grow U.S. manufacturing firms and jobs in underserved communities
LOS ANGELES, Sept.19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The 22 Fund, a Los Angeles-based impact early-growth venture fund, today announced $5 million and $2 million investments from Quality Jobs Fund/New World Foundation and The Kresge Foundation respectively.
The 22 Fund’s mission is to create jobs of the future in low- and moderate-income communities across the U.S. through investing in sustainable tech manufacturing firms led by women and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs. The 22 Fund helps these firms achieve venture-type growth by scaling globally. This innovative strategy offers portfolio diversification to investors looking for real impact with non-concessionary returns.
“We created The 22 to address the lack of equity capital available to the manufacturing sector, which is the foundation of our economy,” said The 22 Fund Founder and Managing Partner Tracy Gray. “However, a similar ‘equity gap’ exists for climate justice, i.e. women and entrepreneurs of color in climate tech and sustainability sectors. Our capital fills these gaps to fuel growth.”
The 22 has made five investments to date to woman, BIPOC and/or LGBTQ-owned companies. These companies create high wage jobs, including manufacturing jobs that pay on average $88,000 a year. When coupled with exports, these jobs pay an average of $94,000 and are likely to include health care and other benefits.
“With our investment of $5 million into The 22 Fund, we are supporting their mission of creating tech-based manufacturing quality jobs in low- and moderate-income communities,” said Quality Jobs Fund Director Noah S. Bernstein. “Because improving job quality strengthens communities.”
The Quality Jobs Fund, a collaborative project of the New World Foundation and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco works to support the development of strong and sustainable working-class communities through quality job expansion and skill development.
“Closing the racial wealth gap for women of color is critical to addressing intergenerational poverty. Entrepreneurship and business ownership are demonstrated viable means to help close that gap,” said Kresge Human Services Senior Program Officer Joelle-Jude Fontaine. “At the root of the challenges women of color entrepreneurs and business owners face are institutionalized gender and race-based practices and policies that create ongoing barriers to accessing capital, resources and opportunities. The 22 Fund meets those challenges head on while also facing some of these same challenges as a woman of color led fund founder and manager.”
Kresge’s Human Services Program centers racial equity and justice to advance multi-generational family social and economic success. Kresge’s Social Investment Practice seeks to unlock capital for communities that need it most using the full spectrum of financial tools.
“Through Kresge’s $2 million equity investment, we are able to support a woman-of-color fund manager to invest in women of color-led companies committed to increasing quality jobs with a focus on gender and racial equity,” said Erika Brice, Investment Officer, Social Investment Practice at Kresge. “The 22 Fund’s investments in non-consumer-based manufacturing companies that employ clean manufacturing practices traditionally do well in a variety of economic environments. With a commitment to strong workplace policies for low-moderate income communities, this was a unique opportunity to support sustainable, equitable, economic impact.”
About The 22 Fund
The 22 Fund is a holistic impact investor that funds tech-based, climate focused U.S. manufacturing companies to increase international sales (exports) and create the clean, quality jobs of the future in underserved and low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. The 22 intentionally invests in women- and BIPOC-led firms to deliver both high ROI and high social/economic impact without concession or trade-offs. For more information, visit www.the22fund.com.
About The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit Kresge.org.
About Quality Jobs Fund
The Quality Jobs Fund, a collaborative project of the New World Foundation and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco works to support the development of strong and sustainable working-class communities through quality job expansion and skill development primarily in Arizona, California, and Nevada. For more information, visit www.qualityjobsfund.org
MEDIA CONTACT: Vanessa Gray, [email protected]
SOURCE The 22 Fund