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Mission-Aligned Investing

Below-market rate investments that are primarily made to advance the charitable purpose of the foundation.

Private foundations like Barra have a unique opportunity to provide mission-aligned investment capital that is patient, risk-tolerant and flexible in ways that differ from conventional investments and advances the foundation’s mission and values. Mission-aligned investments can be in the form of loans, guarantees or other types of investment vehicles. In some cases, Barra may provide grant funding with a mission-aligned investment to help strengthen the viability and impact potential of the work being supported by Barra’s investment.

Barra will consider the following priorities for its mission-aligned investments:
  • Addresses the needs of low-income, disinvested communities and/or needs for a vibrant cultural sector in the Greater Philadelphia region
  • Attracts both public and private investment or fills a critical early-stage funding gap
  • Leverages public sector funds designed to target under-invested neighborhoods and businesses
  • Bolsters or complements other development initiatives in a neighborhood or investment funds for under-resourced businesses and disinvested areas
  • Led by a management team that is substantially comprised of people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQIA+ individuals and/or other historically marginalized groups
  • Provides an opportunity for learning for the Foundation and/or the field

If you would like to connect with us about a mission-aligned investment opportunity that aligns with these priorities, tell us about your opportunity here.

Jounce Partners

Up to $500,000 / 2% annual interest / 2 years

In 2023, Barra made a mission-aligned investment in Jounce Partners, a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing instructional coaching and training to school leaders to improve teaching practice and student outcomes. The investment will help Jounce scale its Expertise Leadership Opportunity Project (ELOP), a fellowship program that recruits educators of color looking to move into school leadership positions, provides them with deep instructional knowledge and matches them with schools that need their leadership. Barra’s investment is supporting a critical stage of growth for ELOP that will enable the program to generate enough earned revenue to demonstrate financial sustainability and attract additional investment.

Frankford Community Development Corporation

$1,000,000 / 2% annual interest / 3 years

In 2023, Barra made a mission-aligned investment in Frankford CDC to support the acquisition of land for the Frankford Transportation Center Transit-Oriented Development project. The loss of Frankford’s only supermarket in 2015 inspired Frankford CDC and the community to work with SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia to envision the potential for development around SEPTA’s Frankford Transportation Center (FTC), the second busiest transit center in Philadelphia. The FTC Transit-Oriented Development project will consist of a mixed-use development, anchored by a full-service supermarket with a 24,000 square-foot City Health Center, mixed-income housing, and satellite retail.

Kensington Corridor Trust

$1,000,000 / 1% annual interest / 10 years

Following its initial investment in the form of a grant in 2019, Barra made a mission-aligned investment in Kensington Corridor Trust in 2022. The concept of the Trust focuses on acquiring commercial and mixed-use real estate on the Kensington Avenue commercial corridor and placing that real estate into a trust directly governed by neighborhood residents with the goal of ensuring long-term affordability. Barra’s mission-aligned investment is making it possible for the Trust to be competitive with private developers and empowering the community to exercise some control over what is happening along the commercial corridor.

Thrive Village

$300,000 / 0% annual interest / 7 years

In 2021, Barra made a mission-aligned investment in Thrive Village, a mixed-use development designed to promote healthy food access, job and entrepreneurship development for community members, and the preservation of affordable housing in the East Parkside neighborhood in West Philadelphia. Founded by East Parkside native Dr. Leon Caldwell, the project is being led by Ujima Developers, LLC, a collaborative of real estate development professionals seeking to impact historically disinvested communities. Once completed, Thrive Village will feature nine affordable rental housing units, commercial space for wellness physicians, a food justice farm and retail space.  

Disinfect US Coalition

$225,000 / 1% annual interest / 4.5 years

As part of its work to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021 Barra made a mission-aligned investment in the Disinfect US Coalition, an initiative spearheaded by The Enterprise Center to help minority-owned janitorial companies undergo certification for advanced sterilization practices. Businesses supported by the Coalition receive a low-interest (0%-1%) loan with a 36-60-month repayment term and help in securing new business opportunities and contracts, including coaching to complete COVID-19 business/financial recovery plans.

New Day Chester

$250,000 / 4% annual interest / 5 years

In 2016, Barra made a mission-aligned investment in New Day Chester, the acquisition and redevelopment of six properties on the Avenue of the States to create venues for Chester performers, painters, furniture makers, sculptors and clothing designers to develop their own businesses. The project was led by local Chester artist and entrepreneur Devon Walls and Chuck Lacy, the former president of Ben and Jerry’s and President of the Barred Rock Fund. The investment helped complete renovations and attract other funders and lenders that have viewed the project as too high-risk.