With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, DAWI’s Legacy Business Fund by Apis & Heritage Capital Partners (A&H) has announced its first close at $30 million, doubling its target of $15 million.
Launched with a planning grant from Citi Community Development, funding from the Kendeda Fund, and additional support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Fund and A&H have been incubated at DAWI to address the widening racial wealth gap by transitioning businesses with large workforces of color into employee-owned firms. A&H aims to purchase eight closely held companies from retiring founders, turning 500 workers into owners over the next five years.
The Fund received support from leading investors and advisors, including Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Zero Gap Fund, The Skoll Foundation and its advisor Capricorn Investments, Gary Community Investments, and Ascension Investment Management, and others.
The Legacy Business Fund by Apis & Heritage anchors DAWI’s focus on unlocking ownership capital to increase ownership for workers locked out of good jobs and ownership opportunities, especially BIPOC, immigrant, and low-wage workers. Transferring ownership of businesses to employees is a proven business preservation and wealth-building tactic, but access to capital remains an obstacle for business sellers and employees in pursuit of shared ownership. The Fund will provide near-term impact for workers and businesses in select industries while serving as a model for investors, foundations, and nonprofits to use financial equity in strategic ways to catalyze business transitions among priority workforces.
To help ensure successful transitions for A&H portfolio businesses, DAWI will provide training and technical assistance through its School for Democratic Management at DAWI. DAWI will also study and communicate the impact of employee ownership on A&H portfolio businesses to benefit the employee ownership field.
A&H’s ELBO approach provides:
- Investors with timely exits, competitive returns, and clear, measurable impact
- Founders with capital to support ownership transitions that preserve legacies and meet retirement needs
- Workers of color in essential industries with the most powerful wealth-building tool: equity in a thriving business
- Companies with the incentives and support to grow, as well as capital needed to build balance sheets for long-term resilience
- Communities with stable jobs and business continuity