There is a staggering need for investment in Native communities. Safe affordable housing and public infrastructure is essential to healthy communities. But with limited access to community development finance, Native residents face some of the worst housing and living conditions in the United States. Statistics have also shown that Native communities have lower incomes and experience higher rates of unemployment and poverty than non-Native communities. Native entrepreneurs are poised to improve living conditions and stimulate economic growth in their communities. However, they lack access to credit and capital in the traditional financial market. According to Annie Donovan, Director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund,
“The lack of access to capital and credit has been a significant constraint on
economic development in Native Communities.”
As Native communities strengthen their governing institutions and build local economies, access to capital is essential. Grant funding alone is not sufficient to promote the health and livelihood of Native communities; tribal leaders need access to capital to improve housing and infrastructure and build sustainable local economies.
In response to this chronic underinvestment, and in partnership with Native leaders and entrepreneurs, RIC was established by Confluence Philanthropy and its members. RIC is a coordinated group of mission related investors committed to increasing access to capital in Native communities in the Southwest. RIC was launched in 2017 as a program-related investment initiative with the following goals:
Provide vital community development finance in Native communities in New Mexico and Arizona.
RIC provides patient, community-driven capital for affordable housing, public infrastructure and community facilities, sustainable agriculture, Native-owned small businesses and mission driven social enterprises.
Grow the capacity of Native-led Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Native economic development organizations to lend capital, attract investments in their focus area and service debt.
Native-led CDFIs are essential to the economic ecosystem of tribal communities, but they are under-resourced and under-capitalized. RIC partners with Native-led CDFIs to ensure deal flow and build the capacity of these institutions.
Provide a space for mission-aligned investors to collaborate and share lessons learned about investing in Native communities.