Edwards Lifesciences today announced that it established a Social Impact Investment Fund to advance racial equity in healthcare.
The $100 million fund is a portfolio of investments aimed at advancing racial equity through economic development in Black and underserved communities in the U.S.
“Events in 2020 prompted reflection on how we could expand Edwards’ active community engagement to provide even more support for our employees and communities, particularly as it relates to social equity and justice,” chief financial officer Scott Ullem said in a news release. “We believe that increasing the availability of capital in underserved areas can contribute to a virtuous cycle of job creation, wealth-building and other new opportunities for economic development while also providing a return to investors. This initiative is aligned with our values and with the elements of our Credo focused on creating a community unified in its mission to improve quality of life.”
Edwards’s Social Impact Investment Fund builds upon the Irvine, Calif.-based company’s previous commitments and initiatives that support economic development in underserved communities. It has partnered with several financial institutions and investment managers in the past. It has already committed $70 million of its $100 million fund to provide additional capital for targeted programs, economic initiatives and community development projects, according to the company.
The company said it is focusing its investments in predominately Black communities and communities that often experience barriers to opportunity. Some of the investments include:
- The People Real Opportunities for Progress by Edwards Lifesciences (PROPEL) fund focuses on commercial development in underserved and racially diverse communities. It provides debt financing for minority-owned businesses and healthcare projects that serve low-income and minority communities. It also makes equity investments in exchange for tax credits through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program.
- Deposits in minority-owned and diverse-led financial institutions through the IntraFi Network to support Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institutions.
- Targeted capital for Hope Credit Union (HOPE) provides access to financial services for small businesses, housing, and community infrastructure to address socioeconomic challenges in impoverished communities in the South.
“Capital to start a business or purchase a home is not equitably available to people of color, women and historically underserved communities,” HOPE CEO Bill Bynum said. “By providing capital to fuel entrepreneurship, homeownership and other vital needs in underserved communities, this investment by Edwards Lifesciences will help close wealth and opportunity gaps in the nation’s most financially underserved regions.”
Edwards said it is allocating its remaining funds to opportunities that meet its goal of supporting economic development through the Social Impact Investment Fund.