The company also released a memo to help illuminate the process for other organizations looking to make similar commitments
Square, Inc. announced today the allocation of the remaining $25 million of its $100 million investment in support of minority and underserved communities. Square shared the ideology behind the investments in a memo outlining how companies can make similar commitments, along with information about the newly launched Bitcoin Endowment focused on financial education and access.
With the company’s purpose of economic empowerment at the forefront, in 2019 Square began dedicating deposits to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) in communities around the country. The $100 million of investments announced in September 2020 was a continuation of Square’s commitment to increasing access to financial services.
Each organization that received funds was hand-selected by a team of cross functional Square employees with the goals of helping minority-owned small businesses grow through finance, allowing CDFIs and MDIs to increase their capacity to make loans to local small business owners, and providing access to the unbanked through savings and other financial tools that have historically been limited to those with privilege. Based on the vision articulated in the memo, Square has allocated the remaining $25 million of the $100 million investment as follows: $10 million to the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, $10 million to international organizations focused on minority and underserved communities, and $5 million to the Square, Inc. Bitcoin Endowment. To see the full memo, which includes the complete allocation of the $100 million, go to http://squ.re/equityinvestment.
The Entrepreneurs of Color fund, managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is designed to not only get much-needed capital directly into the hands of minority small business owners, but also provide critical support such as coaching, operational guidance, and training.
“Minority business owners have historically faced higher barriers than white owners in accessing affordable, flexible financing to launch and grow their businesses,” noted George Ashton, president of LISC Fund Management, a subsidiary of LISC, one of the nation’s largest community development financial institutions. “Square’s commitment to the fund directly responds to that gap, helping us add liquidity to the marketplace, accelerate the flow of capital to innovative entrepreneurs, and support economic opportunity in the communities where they operate.”
Racial and social inequity is a global issue, so $10 million was allocated for investment in international funds and lenders focusing on underserved communities in Square’s markets outside of the U.S.
The Bitcoin Endowment, which is funded from the interest on a portion of Square’s corporate bitcoin holdings, provides funding to individuals and organizations working toward increasing bitcoin education and adoption in historically under-resourced communities across the globe. From those with no credit history who cannot open bank accounts, to people living in places with limited access to banks, to populations that have historically been discriminated against, bitcoin can help level the playing field and build a more inclusive future. Square has selected Black Bitcoin Billionaire, an organization working to on-ramp the Black community into bitcoin and create education focused on building wealth, as the first recipient of a Bitcoin Endowment grant. On a rolling basis, a cross functional team of Square employees will review applications and award grantees with applicable funds. For the grant application, visit http://squ.re/bitcoingrantapp.
About Square, Inc.
Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) builds tools to empower businesses and individuals to participate in the economy. Sellers use Square to reach buyers online and in person, manage their business, and access financing. Individuals use Cash App to spend, send, store, and invest money. And TIDAL is a global music and entertainment platform that expands Square’s purpose of economic empowerment to artists. Square, Inc. has offices in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Ireland, Spain, Norway, and the UK.