Impact Highlights

Using Capital to Create Opportunity

By Matthew Gatt, CFP®, Lead Advisor
and Kate King, CFP®, Partner and Chief Investment Officer

At North Berkeley, many clients are interested in market-based solutions that channel capital to address inequalities in our society. Today we highlight two specific investments that address the historic lack of access to capital in housing and business funding via both loans and venture capital.

Within a capitalist, consumer culture, our country depends on economic mobility to support broad-based progress. Homeownership and entrepreneurship are parts of our economy’s essential fabric, but participation relies on access to capital. Without access to capital, investing in a new business or purchasing your first home can be an impossible feat.

Studies have shown that access to capital is not equal and follows racial and gender lines. According to the Federal Reserve’s 2020 Business Credit Survey, just over 54% of white business owners received the full amount they sought, compared to 34% for Asian business owners, 32% for Hispanic business owners, and 26% for Black business owners. Gender plays a role too; in 2018, women had a 2.2% share of the $130 billion given out in venture capital.1

A similar trend is true for mortgage applications, with black applicants denied at a rate 80% higher than white applicants, according to 2020 data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Recent research shows that only 42% of Black Americans own a home compared to 72% of white Americans, which is an even greater gap than existed before the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.2 Like business funding, home ownership is vital for accumulating and passing on wealth, which means the trailing home ownership rate further impacts Black Americans’ ability to build generational wealth over time.

As part of our ESG focused portfolios, we work with two managers that focus on bonds with a measurable positive social impact in providing capital for business expansion and home ownership.

Homeownership in the US

Impact Investing Reports

North Berkeley Wealth Management works with clients to align their financial lives and investment portfolios with their values. We offer multiple impact-oriented strategies and consider the social, environmental, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria of investments alongside returns. Our impact highlight reports explore specific examples of how investments can have an impact.

Download the Report

Impact Spotlight

Community Capital Management (CCM)
Focus on Racial Empowerment Through Economic Opportunity

Following more than two decades of funding primarily low-income housing, in June 2020, CCM launched a new initiative called Minority Community Advancement Racial Empowerment Strategy (Minority CARES). It specifically directs capital to support increased economic opportunity for people of color in historically marginalized communities with a high minority population. In less than a year, they have provided 752 loans to minority borrowers, with 362 of those loans going to minority women. They also fund programs offering equal access to jobs, economic development, and affordable housing.3

7th Street Apartments

Case Study: 7th Street Apartments

7th Street Apartment is a Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) property, which provides residents with high quality tailored, site-based programs for children and adults in majority-minority census tracts. CPDC has five impact areas that serve as the basis for their work. These include:

Economic Development: Access to job placement, financial literacy
Education: Early school readiness, adult literacy, and youth development
Environment: Energy efficiency, recycling, and water conservation
Health and Wellness: Health education, nutrition/fitness classes
Resident Engagement: Civic involvement, cultural exchange,
and volunteerism

Henry Street ApartmentsCase Study: Henry Greene Apartments

Henry Greene Apartments is an affordable rental property in Louisville, where 124 of the 125 units receive Section 8 assistance. Henry Greene Apartments is in a low-income, high-minority, and high-poverty census tract. Most of the population residing in this census tract are minority households and live below the poverty line.

In 2019, the property began a $17.5 million renovation that included energy efficiency and safety changes. Those changes included more lighting outside, better walkways, and upgraded appliances. The apartments remained affordable during the upgrade, and residents were not displaced. The property is in the Russell neighborhood, which is going through a revitalization that includes a new, mixed-income housing development, a new YMCA, and a new multi-sport facility developed by the Louisville Urban League.

Understanding How Need is Defined

A popular theory states, ‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure.’ Analyzing data from a community census provides investors the opportunity to target capital to areas of need. Below are two examples used by both CCM and ACC.

Racially or Ethnically Concentrated Areas of Poverty (R/ECAPs)
To assist communities in identifying racially/ethnically concentrated areas of poverty
(R/ECAPs), HUD has developed a census tract-based definition of R/ECAPs. The definition involves a racial/ethnic concentration threshold and a poverty test.

Majority-Minority Census Tract
A majority-minority census tract has a population that is at least 50% minorities, which means that more than half of individuals in the census tract are minorities, i.e., Black, Asian, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander, and/or Native American.

Impact Spotlight

Access Community Capital (ACC)
Supporting Underserved Communities

ACC is similar to CCM in the way it distributes its capital through bonds that target underserved communities. ACC has a 20+ year track record of directing its capital to benefit low-moderate income families and individuals, focusing on affordable home ownership, affordable rental housing, small businesses, healthcare, education, and job creation. Overall, 70% of all affordable renting and 63% of small business loans support black, indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC).

Using Capital to Create Opportunity at Littlejohn Commons

Case Study: Littlejohn Commons

Home ownership has long been a part of the American dream. It provides financial stability and protects homeowners from the ever-increasing cost of housing. This is also true of affordable rental units, which provide housing to folks who are not ready to make the jump into ownership. One project ACC has supported local to the Bay Area is the redevelopment of the historic Del Monte warehouse in Alameda, CA. The Littlejohn Commons project provides 31 new affordable rental units for seniors.

Demographic Earmarks

Earmarked Impact Assets for North Berkeley Clients

Both CCM and ACC allow us as an investment advisor to “earmark” our clients’ investment assets for securities that target both low-income and minority projects. In addition, CCM investments are earmarked for Contra Costa and Alameda county-based loans. While our clients’ investment participates in the returns of the entire portfolio, the earmark choice directs ACC and CCM’s investment decisions to continue to tilt the portfolio overall in that direction.

Earmark Impact Investments
Earmarked Impact Investments


1 Emma Hinchliffe, “Funding For Female Founders Stalled at 2.2% of VC Dollars in 2018”, Fortune Magazine, January 28, 2019

2 “Addressing the Black Homeownership Gap in America,” CCM Report, February 2021.

3 CCM Q1 2021 Minority CARES Impact Report

Interested in learning how to create impact with your investments?

If you are looking for guidance around socially responsible investing or would like us to review your current portfolio, please reach out to us for a free consultation.

Call (510) 528-5820 or email

This commentary on this website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the North Berkeley Wealth Management (“North Berkeley”) employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by North Berkeley or performance returns of any North Berkeley client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data, or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. North Berkeley manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.