By Ellis Carr, President and CEO of Momentus Capital, Capital Impact Partners, and CDC Small Business Finance
Healthy communities are built by their residents. Small business owners, local real estate developers, and other local leaders are the engines of job creation and economic activity in communities across the country. When these leaders have the opportunity to succeed, their communities, their residents – and our country – thrive.
Unfortunately, leaders in communities all across the country are missing a key ingredient to success: access to the capital. For too long, people in underestimated communities and people of color have been denied the types of capital and support they need to realize the dreams they have for themselves, their families and their neighborhoods.
In 2019, Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance began an incredible journey with an ambitious – some might say audacious – goal: to devise new, transformative ways to meet the capital needs in communities across the country. We asked ourselves a question: How does the financial sector – including mission-driven financing organizations in our sector – need to change to really support communities? What can we do differently to help our communities really thrive?
Over the next two years, we engaged with our network of community and investment partners to build out our strategy to answer that question. During that time – as we continued our day-to-day efforts – we witnessed a racial reckoning in our nation and how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted communities of color, exacerbating the growing racial wealth gap.
The experiences of the past two years also underscored that a more just and equitable financial system is needed now more than ever. Brave thinking and bold solutions are required to improve access to things that contribute to communities’ health and wealth: a vibrant local economy with good jobs, high quality social services, and a voice in what happens in their community.
It is with that ambitious goal in mind that Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance, two of the nation’s leading mission-driven financial organizations, formed a first-of-its kind, new enterprise – one that will transform how capital flows to the types of local leaders whose success will help build healthy, inclusive, and equitable communities.
Together, CDC Small Business Finance, Capital Impact Partners, and Ventures Lending Technologies – our Loan Management System (LMS) – have formed the Momentus Capital family of organizations. And soon, we will be adding another critical piece to our approach – a new entity that will bridge the gap between investors and community-based organizations through community-centric securities offerings.
Rooted in social mission, we are a different type of financial services organization – driven by purpose, not profit. Our organizations are united under one vision and mission:
An economic system that respects and uplifts all peoples’ right to achieve the dreams they have for themselves, their communities, and generations to come.
We help build inclusive and equitable communities by providing people access to the capital and opportunities they deserve.
The opportunity is enormous. Research looking at the economic cost of Black inequality alone indicates that closing racial wealth gaps would have added over $16 trillion to our national economic output over the past 20 years. In 2013, surveys show that Black and Hispanic households earned just 70 and 76 cents per dollar of White households’ income. A just and inclusive economic system is better for all of us.
United as Momentus Capital and alongside our partners, we can create the kind of new thinking and practices that will help close that gap and put us on a shared path to prosperity.
Now you may be asking, does this mean that CDC Small Business Finance, Capital Impact Partners, and Ventures are going away?
Let me assure you: Absolutely not.
The organizations you have come to know and trust are still here, working as we always have. With decades of experience, our teams are continuing their work to help support small businesses and the types of shared pillars – housing, education, healthy food, and more – that help communities flourish.
This commitment is unwavering. In fact, it is stronger than ever because we are stronger together. As Momentus Capital, we can drive even deeper impact.
To achieve that vision and mission, Momentus Capital is uniquely positioned to provide entrepreneurs and local leaders at every stage of their growth with a continuum of capital and opportunities under one roof.
To us, capital takes many forms:
We provide social capital through connections to networks and people that can help our partners succeed.
We further amplify this approach through technology solutions that assist our partners in making a greater impact in their communities.
To get more resources into the hands of more local leaders, we constantly work to rethink outdated approaches that limit who has access to capital:
Over the past 40 years, we have made more than $23 billion lending and investments, helped create or preserve 250,000 jobs, served over 12,000 small businesses and touched over 5 million people. During this new chapter, we are poised to elevate and amplify our impact.
Moving away from a siloed approach, we are truly stronger together. Through a holistic listening approach, we at Momentus Capital work to understand local solutions and partner with communities to make them happen through our continuum of capital, investment, and programmatic efforts. This enables us to support small business entrepreneurs and community leaders at every growth stage – from inception to expansion.
These are just a few examples of lending/programs that we are already embarking on:
Momentus Capital is a family of companies dedicated to the idea that all local leaders and entrepreneurs deserve the opportunity to achieve the dreams they have for themselves and their communities. We realize, however, that not everyone has equitable access to the capital and opportunities they deserve. Driven by this mission, we support local solutions by bringing financial, social, and knowledge capital to underestimated communities. Through direct lending and investments, training, and access to networks and mentorship, we support these communities as they build health and generational wealth.
We look forward to partnering with community leaders, partners, and investors to bring this vision to fruition.
Working together, we can be Momentus.