ABHMS continues socially responsible investing with two recent initiatives

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/28/20)—In continuing its commitment to socially responsible investing, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) was the lead filer of a human rights-related resolution presented for vote at Tyson Food Inc.’s recent annual general meeting. Also, ABHMS has joined other investors in the UP Community Fund, a lender aimed at meeting the needs of under-resourced markets in the southeastern United States.

At the annual general meeting at Tyson’s headquarters in Springdale, Ark., on Feb. 6, the Investor Advocates for Social Justice, formerly known as the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, filed a shareholder proposal on Human Rights and Due Diligence on behalf of ABHMS and other investors.

This year, the proposal received 14.58 percent support overall (among independent voters and Tyson Limited Partnership), representing an increase from 2019, when the proposal received 5.50 percent support overall. However, the proposal was defeated.

Additionally, ABHMS has joined other organizations to invest in the UP Community Fund, a lender that provides financial and technical assistance to entrepreneurs of color in the southeastern United States, the region with the highest concentration of low economic mobility. The additional $7.35 million from ABHMS and other new lenders combined brings the total fund size to $19.5 million to meet demand in this under-resourced market.

“The UP Community Fund’s relationship lending model and focus on deploying innovative financing and services to increase wealth building opportunities is creating real impact in communities and inspiring other lenders to join us,” said Caroline Yarborough, syndications analyst at Calvert Impact Capital. “We are excited that experienced, mission-driven lenders like Olamina Fund, Living Cities, American Baptist Home Mission Societies and BSW Advisory clients have joined us, MetLife Investment Management, Amalgamated Bank, and Riverside Church to support the Fund’s growth.”

Launched in May 2018, the fund is designed to address challenges that disproportionately affect entrepreneurs of color: lack of access to capital, lack of small business advisory services and limited relationship networks. The fund provides flexible loans between $250,000 and $2 million to high potential small businesses where a major gap exists in the credit market, along with technical assistance tailored to each borrower.

For more information about ABHMS’ socially responsible investing ministry, visit abhms.org/Socially Responsible Investing.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

 American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.