Dick’s Sporting Goods is investing $12.5 million in the Black Economic Development Fund, an initiative to fuel minority lenders, anchor institutions and businesses as part of an effort to close the racial wealth gap. The fund is managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a black-led financial institution that invests in communities both through real estate and in other black owned businesses. LISC has also invested more than $22 billion in promoting economic opportunity in urban and rural communities.
LISC launched the Black Economic Development Fund earlier this year. It’s a $250 million equity fund that provides deposits to black banks and short-term lending to black businesses and real estate projects. Earlier this year Netflix, Costco and Square each contributed $25 million to the fund. Dick’s is the first sports-related company to invest in the fund.
“This was to make sure we are supporting the communities that invest their time and energy and their resources with us,” said Navdeep Gupta, senior vp of finance and chief accounting officer at Dick’s. “We are able to give back to the community as part of our overall approach to how we leverage these capabilities that we have as a company.
Before the investment into LISC, Dick’s had been donating through its Sports Matter Foundation, which has set a goal of helping one million kids have the chance to play sports by 2024. For the upcoming holiday season, the foundation has a truck traveling to eight cities to give gifts to 10,000 children. “This was a continuation of our work but focusing also on the inclusion and diversity within our company,” Gupta said.
At the beginning of the year Dick’s CEO Ed Stack challenged the company to be more involved from a community aspect and look into investment opportunities. LISC was chosen because of its track record in impacting investing and managing funds, its credit quality and its desire to continue to keep an investment philosophy of giving back to communities.
“This shows an important closure of a circle,” said George Ashton, managing director of LISC Strategic Investments. “Dick’s Sporting Goods does a lot to support the community, the community through athletics is supporting Dick’s Sporting Goods and their growth and if you look at their marketing and customers, blacks are I’m sure well represented in that body and then they come back in-turn and support the black community through the Black Economic Development Fund.”