One such recent effort is an $800,000 “character-based” lending fund to facilitate loans to BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of colour) entrepreneurs in the states of Minnesota, New Mexico, and Ohio.
Common Future was invaluable in helping secure fundraising as part of the effort, said Y. Elaine Rasmussen, founder of the ConnectUp! Institute, a partner organisation based in Minnesota.
“They're walking the walk — shifting the conversation to get philanthropic organisations to think differently,” Rasmussen said.
She said that by the end of April, she hopes to have closed loan deals with three consumer packaged goods companies and a lifestyle brand.
There has been increased debate about racial and income inequality in the US since the Black Lives Matter protests and the start of the pandemic, with the COVID-19 crisis spurring Common Future to launch a major new initiative in 2020.
The group quickly mobilised $250,000 in rapid response grants — as opposed to loans — to groups supporting communities like those in the food and farming industries in order to help them make end-of-month payroll.
“I was really proud of how we were able to make that commitment — 10% (of our operating budget),” Foxworth said. “We got the dollars out very quickly.”
When he became CEO in January 2018, they had a full-time staff of about 10 people and a budget of about $2 million.
Since then, the budget has roughly tripled, and Foxworth said he expects to have close to 40 full-time staff by year-end.
Common Future is offering experimental models in much of what they do — and they recognise that not everything is going to be successful, he noted.
“We understand that,” he said. "(But we) want to be able to demonstrate what is possible.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation