June 22, 2020
In the fight for equality, donating and protesting are sure ways to be present but doing business with companies that honor the same values can be just as effective, said the head of the non-profit investment management firm Impact Shares.
CEO Ethan Powell told Cheddar the Impact Shares NAACP Minority Empowerment Fund ETF has seen a spike in activity since protests erupted over the police killing of George Floyd. The fund, crafted with the NAACP to invest in publically-traded companies that demonstrate their dedication to racial equality, has seen more than $2 million in secondary trading volume and one creation unit (a block of new shares) in the last several weeks.
"What we look for is beyond the explicit statements of support against racial injustice," NAACP senior director of economic programs, Marvin Owens, told Cheddar. "We look at the company's commitment to board diversity, supplier diversity, the commitment to monitoring supplier diversity programs."
The goal of the partnership is to help corporations understand that positive engagement and support of the Black community is not only good for business but also helps build an "equitable society overall." The fund also serves as a guide for everyday people that want to do business where equality is valued.
"What we're looking for is how the business operates, how those commitments are lived out in the way they do business day-to-day," Owens said.
Powell doubled down on the idea that Black engagement and support equates to a thriving business.
"The investors are getting a good market rate of return while empowering the NAACP to engage with corporate America to advance their business practice," Powell told Cheddar. He noted the ETF is about flat this year, compared to the S&P 500, which is down.
Some of the most prominent companies featured are Amazon and Apple, which Owens says have "committed to resourcing" change within their companies.
"As these corporations are coming forward to support our mission, we are engaging them in these conversations about how we move the needle on the kinds of things that really directly impact economic empowerment for Black communities," Owens said.