Power / Mobilizing Private Capital for Impact

Mobilizing Private Capital for Impact

Former Initiative

Connecting Communities with Capital Providers

The Rockefeller Foundation knows that place matters and our philosophy is that those who are closest to the problem are best positioned to solve it. No city or town in the U.S. has a monopoly on talent or effort, but opportunity is not equally distributed, especially when it comes to communities of color. According to a 2019 Federal Reserve System survey, the racial wealth gap is wider for Black and Latinx families compared to White families than for any other racial identifications. But we know that business ownership and access to capital are among key ways to build generational wealth.

two men and a woman sitting at a picnic table looking at one another talking.
  • $24,000

    is the median net worth for Black households, compared with $36,000 for Latinx and $189,000 for white

  • 9.5%

    of U.S. businesses are Black-owned & 12.2 percent are Latinx-owned

  • 9million

    more jobs could be created if those businesses existed, with the potential to boost our national income by $300 billion

Focusing on People and Places

Place shapes outcomes for people. Research shows how ZIP codes can define a person’s future. Women, people of color, and immigrants are disproportionately harmed by these systemic challenges, widening existing fissures in society.


The Foundation is now working in twelve places to shrink the racial wealth gap while demonstrating successful models of stabilizing and growing Black and Latinx small businesses through The Rockefeller Foundation Opportunity Collective (ROC). ROC invests $15M in partners, projects, and programs across 12 U.S. places with the core goal of reducing barriers to access capital and credit among low-wage workers and small businesses operated by women, Black and Latinx owners.

Efforts are underway in: Atlanta, Ga., Baltimore, Md., Boston, Ma., Chicago, Il., El Paso, Texas, Houston, Texas, Jackson, Ms., Louisville, Ky., Miami-Dade County, Fla., Newark, N.J., Norfolk, Va., and, Oakland, Calif.

Learn More About Our Grantee Partners

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Our Approach

At The Rockefeller Foundation, we believe that communities experiencing the problem directly are best suited to find solutions, so we invest in partners, projects, and policies within our 12 places that break down barriers to capital and credit access to Black and Latinx small businesses.

Our Pillars of Work

We will focus on identifying and supporting opportunities that align within or along three pillars of work.

We will support local efforts to engage and build local Black and Latinx small business leadership networks to evaluate current gaps, identify solutions, and drive the narrative to support implementation.

We will support local and national efforts to provide culturally competent and localized technical assistance to Black and Latinx small businesses through accelerators, incubators, collectives, and business service organizations.

Building on the first two pillars and leveraging the Foundation’s connections, we will invest grant and program related investment (PRI) dollars to seed and accelerate non-dilutive private capital institutions that have equity at their core and will help stabilize and grow Black and Latinx small businesses.

Opportunity Zones

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included a new federal tax incentive that permits investors with recognized capital gains to deploy capital into projects and businesses located in designated “Opportunity Zones” in exchange for federal tax advantages. By spring of 2020, investors, many looking to tap into the tax break, had committed at least $10 billion in Opportunity Zones nationwide.

a man standing at a podium talking to men and women sitting in a crowd.

Against this backdrop, The Rockefeller Foundation sought to influence stakeholders and maximize the ability of communities to engage and to benefit from the Opportunity Zone designation. From 2019 to 2020, we invested in efforts that mobilized a pipeline of more than $4.5 billion including 6 projects with high-value for local communities in three places that received predevelopment funding to advance. And filled a federal vacuum in the absence of regulatory oversight or reporting requirements for Opportunity Zones through the broad adoption of the U.S. Impact Investment Framework.

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