In 2020, the Foundation announced a plan that included $5 million to fund a small business Program-Related Investment (PRI) program. PRIs are a vehicle used to invest in solutions to strengthen the community, with the potential to recycle those dollars for new investments.
The Columbus Foundation’s commitment to racial equity centers around creating a community where every resident has the opportunity to flourish, unencumbered by disadvantages inherited simply by the color of their skin or the ZIP code in which they were born.
The Foundation’s Equitable Small Business Fund seeks to make PRIs that catalyze the flow of patient and flexible capital to support businesses owned by people of color, and advance mission-aligned organizations and leaders building the small business community.
At this stage, the Foundation will be making a select number of investments ranging from approximately $250,000-$750,000, with an ideal average investment size of $500,000.
As of May 2023, The Columbus Foundation will prioritize Equitable Small Business Fund applications from intermediaries, CDFIs, and Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs). Please check back here for updates.
- Impact Alignment: Alignment with this Fund's mission to support small businesses of color in Columbus
- Investee Alignment: Organizational and leadership track record, diversity, and operational capacity to execute on the proposal
- Financial Alignment: Ability to demonstrate financial stability and ability to manage the investment
- Must demonstrate impact in the Columbus region (central Ohio with a focus on Franklin County)
- Must focus on supporting entrepreneurs of color
- Request must align with the Fund's strategic goals and approach, which is to address the immediate needs and/or create transformative change in the small business ecosystem by doing one or both of the following:
- providing catalytic capital to enable the existing small business financing ecosystem to do more to support businesses owned by people of color, especially through new and innovative capital programs
- building capacity of the small business financing ecosystem supporting business owners of color by investing behind under-invested players and/or initiatives
- Investee should be able to demonstrate good financial standing
PRI applications are currently being accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. The Foundation encourages potential investees to submit applications promptly.