Since its launch, the New Community Transformation Fund has received commitments for more than $8 million, including a commitment from Bank of America. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based financial institution was the 11th investor and third bank to commit to the fund.
The fund will support both founders of color willing to move their enterprise to West Michigan as well as West Michigan-based companies that have founders or entrepreneurs of color who own businesses in their early or mid-stage of growth or are looking to purchase a transitioning second-stage enterprise. The New Community Transformation Fund plans to make investments of between $250,000 and $500,000 in companies involved in advanced manufacturing, food and agribusiness, e-commerce and information technology, life sciences and finance technology.
Warner Norcross + Judd LLP attorneys worked with Birgit Klohs, longtime president and CEO of The Right Place, Inc., Skot Welch, founder and principal of Global Bridgebuilders, a diversity, equity and inclusion firm, and Kwame Anku, a consultant and CEO and chair of the Black Star Fund, to form the fund. Businesses in the 13 West Michigan counties served by The Right Place are eligible to apply for funds to the New Community Transformation Fund, which expects to make its first investment in the second or third quarter of 2021.
“For the health of our local economy, it is important to keep businesses owned and operated locally,” said Loren Andrulis, a partner at Warner and co-lead, along with Josie Boucher, on the formation of the fund. “Establishing the New Community Transformation Fund will ensure entrepreneurs and managers of color have access to critical funds needed to accelerate a business or to allow for succession. We were honored to play a role in this launch.”
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