Square Completes $100M Investment in Underserved Communities
Financial payments company Square, Inc. announced it has allocated the final $25 million of its $100 million investment in minority and underserved communities.
Of the remaining $25 million, $5 million was distributed to create The Bitcoin Endowment, a new fund working toward increasing Bitcoin education and adoption in historically under-resourced communities across the globe.
The Bitcoin Endowment Fund’s first grant is to Black Bitcoin Billionaire, an organization working to onboard the Black community into bitcoin and create education focused on building wealth.
$10 million also went to the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, focused on advancing small business diversity, and the final $10 million went to international organizations focused on supporting minority and underserved communities.
The Entrepreneurs of Color fund is managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and focused on getting capital into the hands of minority small business owners while also providing support such as coaching, operational guidance, and training.
“Minority business owners have historically faced higher barriers than white owners in accessing affordable, flexible financing to launch and grow their businesses,” said George Ashton, president of LISC Fund Management, a subsidiary of LISC, one of the nation’s largest community development financial institutions, in a statement.
“Square’s commitment to the fund directly responds to that gap, helping us add liquidity to the marketplace, accelerate the flow of capital to innovative entrepreneurs and support economic opportunity in the communities where they operate.”
Square's targeted approach to funding
Square also released a memo outlining its process of investment, in case other companies were interested in following suit. In that memo, Square laid out the defining goals of the program.
One was to help minority-owned small businesses grow through finance. A second was to allow Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) (which offer responsible and affordable financial services to communities that have historically seen less investment) to increase their capacity to make loans to local small business owners. A final was to “enable economic empowerment by providing unbanked individuals with access to savings and other financial tools that have historically been limited to those with privilege.”
Both Square and its CEO and founder, Jack Dorsey (also the founder of Twitter), have been known to work at furthering educational opportunities around bitcoin as well as its adoption. For example, in February, Dorsey partnered with rapper Jay-Z to donate 500 BTC ($23.6 million at the time) to a new endowment trust in Africa and India.Source