The below first appeared as part of CEO David Lynn’s blog post on his privilege as a White cis male and commitment to fighting systemic racism. Included in the blog are commitments that Mission Driven Finance is making in our progress to being an anti-racist company aligned with our stated values.
Recognizing that there is much more we can do to be actively anti-racist, we are publicly making these commitments.
Vote with our dollars.
We’re committed to investing in more BIPOC borrowers; to advancing inclusive hiring, compensation, and growth; to finding retirement plan options that don’t counteract racial justice; to using our relatively small discretionary budget to reinforce our values by buying from BIPOC vendors and women, our portfolio companies, B Corporations, and small local businesses.
Invest company time with a racial equity lens.
Every person on our team has the authority to spend time in the community to listen and to source dealflow. But that often feels abstract and abstract is rarely accountable. Instead of resting on our open door referrals, we are exploring how, especially in a pandemic, we can show up and build more trusting ties with Black communities and communities of color. Our overarching mission is to reconnect capital with community and empower communities of color to use finance as a tool for change. We will increase our allocation and offers of time to develop the trust and relationships that build an engaged pipeline of potential borrowers. Our marketing & communications team will uplift overlooked and underestimated BIPOC perspectives. And all of us will show up with a renewed sense of equity and welcoming, taking on much of the labor of following up, scheduling, and maintaining momentum.
Continuously enhance a team culture of belonging.
Our team is intentionally diverse because we firmly believe we are stronger together, we make better decisions, and we better reflect and connect with our community. But we may not always hear all voices. We commit to interrogating our internal practices—including meeting formats, agendas, and facilitation norms—so that all voices are comfortable contributing and are heard.
Use our voice to advance anti-racism.
We will use any influence we have in our own circles to advance anti-racist decisions. We can push from a place of power and privilege and point out inequities in investor spaces, and won’t just brush off the “drunk uncle” statements. We will challenge our banking partners and investees to identify and eliminate systems that have perpetuated discriminatory or inequitable outcomes. We will continue to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations with each other, colleagues, friends, and families, to educate ourselves on anti-racism and push on others to do the same.
Anti-racism is a daily practice, not a destination. As a deliberately developmental organization, the biggest commitment we make is to channel Maya Angelou, and “do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” B Lab’s Inclusive Economy Challenge gave us a fantastic list to work on, and we’ve signed on to the Racial Justice Investing statement and call to action, but we welcome more suggestions to keep doing better.
Please reach out to us at [email protected] with any thoughts or questions.