Website Candide Group
ABOUT OLAMINA FUND:
Candide Group, LLC is an impact investing firm guided by the belief that community wealth-building, self-determination, and climate resilience require the creative facilitation of capital flow to companies, projects, and funds that center the needs of people from whom wealth has been extracted. In October 2019, Candide Group formed Olamina Fund, LLC as an extension of its impact thesis and values.
Olamina launched as a $40M loan fund with the mission to address the historic lack of access to capital in American communities that have faced decades of divestment and intentional extraction and in many cases, have been abused by predatory financial actors. Our core impact thesis was built around the principles of representation, community-centered products and services, access to capital, and community wealth building.
Representation to us is reflected by the lived experience of an organization’s decision-makers and how close it is to the community it serves. We invest in organizations that develop, design, and customize financial products around a community’s needs and refine their products and services based on community feedback. We fund organizations that are led by women, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color who have systemically lacked access to capital as a means to address the racial wealth gap in our country. We examine the extent to which an organization emphasizes community wealth building through its connection and engagement with the community and focus on access to capital, housing, quality food, healthcare, public services, and education.
We are proud to have fully invested the first phase of the Fund in alignment with our impact thesis. This $40M includes $20.3M invested into the Deep South, $17.5M into the Rural US, and $9.5M into Indian Country through twenty-two CDFIs, private loan funds, and other community empowerment organizations focusing on serving these communities. At the time of investment, 100% of Olamina’s capital has gone to BIPOC- and women-led organizations.
The Fund seeks to demonstrate the financial viability and impact created when lending to organizations (including, but not limited to, nonprofits, for-profits, and social enterprises) that provide financing, technical assistance, and resourcing for low- to moderate-income communities. As Olamina moves into the next phase of the Fund, we see increased opportunity to support more emerging funds, initiatives that transfer land and real estate to community control and stewardship, and other community-centered business models that support cultural preservation, permanent affordability, and shared ownership of businesses. Following is the draft vision statement that was developed in partnership with the current Community Advisory Board members.
We exist to promote racial and economic justice, create access to capital, shift traditional power dynamics, support innovative models, and demonstrate community-centered practices in finance.
Our investments will support reparations and healing, power-sharing, land-based liberation, self-determination, cultural preservation, and permanent affordability.
We will invest in existing, emerging, and innovative funds that are community-governed and controlled, utilize alternative underwriting practices, and/or invest in small businesses that provide a living wage, shared ownership opportunities, and just labor policies; cooperatives and other shared ownership models in small business and food and agriculture; and land and real estate acquisitions.
We will invest at catalytic moments in the life of a project, as a bridge to longer-term funding, when funding is needed for up to ten years, and when there is a greater risk to the community if we do not invest.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD:
A community governance structure was intended for the Fund early on. The purpose of Olamina’s Community Advisory Board (“CAB”) is to shift traditional power dynamics in the financial system, and it is central to the implementation of Olamina’s strategy. The CAB consists of members who represent the communities where we invest and they advise on Fund strategy, review opportunities from a community wealth and liberatory perspective, and participate in credit decisions as part of the Credit Committee that approves all loans.
We are grateful for the contributions the CAB has made since the group formed in September 2020. From the beginning, we have considered ourselves facilitators of the CAB, leaving critical decision-making to these community leaders. At the time of the CAB’s formation, Olamina had only made five loans. From their first month, the CAB set the priority for our following investments, and since June 2021, they have each been participating in the credit committee. To date, the CAB’s contribution has been:
Setting the priority for eleven (11) investment opportunities, leading to eight (8) loans totaling $13M in investments.
- Reviewing and approving nine (9) loans totaling $11.3M in investments.
- Directing a total of 60% of the financial capital Olamina has invested to date.
“My understanding of the financial world has grown so much on this committee. The staff at Candide and work with the Olamina Fund, you all are amazing, and the impact of this work has made a world of difference. [It’s] an honor to have learned with you all. Thank you for this opportunity to serve.”
~ Prairie Rose Seminole, Olamina Community Advisory Board member
ABOUT THE ROLE:
The inaugural board members have established the racial and economic justice lens and culture of the Board, as well as sharpened the Fund’s focus and point of view on systemic change. We are currently working together to co-create the Board’s governance charter, the Fund’s structure for profit sharing, and an evaluation screen for new investors.
All current members have elected to remain for the next phase of the Fund. To enhance the capacity of the Community Advisory Board, we are currently recruiting three (3) new members who have experience in our priority areas for the next phase of the Fund. To balance the values of consistency and entropy, we are piloting a biannual recruitment schedule in which board members are appointed to either 3- or 4-year terms with an option to be considered for re-appointment.
The Community Advisory Board meets quarterly to assess and advise on the Fund’s policies and strategy for identifying investment opportunities, capital investments, and impact. We have assessed that the annual time commitment for all Community Advisory Board members is approximately six (6) hours total for 1.5-hour meetings each quarter, an additional average of two-and-a-half (2.5) hours per loan review, plus time for email correspondence and occasional ad hoc hours when the need for voluntary action committees arise for initiatives that require engagement beyond board calls.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE:
We seek Community Advisory Board members who have:
- An understanding of the systemic barriers facing BIPOC communities
- An ability to advise on strategy and credit decisions
- An ability to self-manage in multi-racial and -class spaces
- Movement experience with advocacy in the financial system
- Experience with land-based initiatives such as rematriation and sovereignty, and/or community-owned real estate that provide permanent affordability
- Experience with initiatives that support cultural preservation
- Experience with entrepreneurship or small business development and/or shared ownership models
- Experience building and sustaining democratic governance structures
- Capacity to support the Community Advisory Board beyond quarterly meetings
Additionally, Credit Committee members should have:
- An ability to apply a community-centered, racial, and social justice approach to reviewing each opportunity
- An ability to assess impact in a community
- An understanding of financial terms or an openness to learn
We do not expect candidates to have experience in all of these areas as an individual. We hope that the combination of Community Advisory Board members selected will complement one another in the areas that we believe are valuable for the board at this time. We therefore encourage candidates with experience in only some of the areas to apply. In addition to a balance of experience, we seek to build a board with diverse representation across race, gender, class, age, and sexual orientation.
Community Advisory Board members are provided a baseline annual stipend of $5,000, disbursed quarterly, for sharing their time and expertise to advance our mission.
To apply for this job please visit www.candidegroup.com.