The Alliance for Community Development (“Alliance”) was started in 1999 by leaders in small business and economic development in the Bay Area who were concerned that many promising and potentially fast-growing businesses in the underserved geographic areas and industries could not access equity capital. As discussion proceeded, the Alliance developed the idea that a venture capital fund, if of sufficient scale and with supportive services, could achieve two bottom lines: market rate financial results and the creation of new jobs and other benefits for residents of low-income communities.
To achieve this goal, the Alliance partnered with the Bay Area Council to co-develop the Bay Area Equity Fund (BAEF). BAEF is part of a larger regional effort by the Bay Area Council, the Association of Bay Area governments, and others called the “Community Capital Investment Initiative” which seeks to address unemployment, poverty, blight, pollution, and economic development in 50 low to moderate income (LMI) areas in the Greater Bay Area.
By 2004, the fund closed at 75 million of investment capital and made investments in now public companies such as Pandora, Tesla, and Solar City. As a founding partner, in 2014 the Alliance received a small portion of the financial value gained from these companies’ IPOs. The interest from these funds along with corporate sponsorships and donations are used to support the Alliance’s ongoing programs to support female and minority entrepreneurs in the Bay Area.