Edwards Lifesciences Initiates $100 Million Social Impact Investment Fund to Advance Racial Equity
Tuesday, August 03, 2021
Edwards Lifesciences Corporation has established a Social Impact Investment Fund to expand access to capital in underserved communities. The $100 million fund was created as a new portfolio of investments aimed at advancing racial equity through economic development, especially in predominantly Black and underserved communities in the United States.
“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,” said Scott Ullem, Edwards’ chief financial officer. “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.”
The Social Impact Investment Fund builds upon Edwards’ other commitments and initiatives to support economic development in underserved communities, including its supplier diversity programs across a number of functions within the company.
Edwards has partnered over the last year with several financial institutions and investment managers that provide unique expertise on using capital to benefit underserved communities. Edwards has already committed $70 million of the $100 million fund to provide additional capital for targeted programs, economic initiatives and community development projects. Edwards is focusing these investments in predominantly Black communities, which often experience persistent barriers to opportunity. These investments include:
- The formation of PROPEL (Providing Real Opportunities for Progress by Edwards Lifesciences), a fund focused on commercial development in underserved and racially diverse communities. PROPEL provides debt financing for minority-owned businesses and healthcare projects that serve predominantly low income and minority communities. In addition, PROPEL will make 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. These FDIC-insured deposits are aimed at supporting Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). MDIs and CDFIs provide financial services and support to individuals, families and small businesses in underserved communities.
- Targeted capital for Hope Credit Union (HOPE), a financial institution in the Deep South, owned by women and Black residents, which provides access to financial services for small businesses, housing, and community infrastructure. HOPE addresses socioeconomic challenges confronting one of the most impoverished regions in the U.S.
“Capital to start a business or purchase a home is not equitably available to people of color, women, and historically underserved communities,” said Bill Bynum, CEO of HOPE. “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 is in the process of allocating the remaining funds to opportunities that meet the company’s goal of supporting economic development through the Social Impact Investment Fund.
Edwards Lifesciences is a gold-level Leaders Circle partner of the Greater Irvine Chamber.
Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader of patient-focused innovations for structural heart disease and critical care monitoring. We are driven by a passion for patients, dedicated to improving and enhancing lives through partnerships with clinicians and stakeholders across the global healthcare landscape.
Category: Leaders Circle, Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, Orange County, Corporate Responsibility