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Our Social Bond to Strengthen the Social Justice Sector

COVID-19 has presented the world with an unparalleled situation, but what’s become evident is the incredible peril facing the social organizations working to address its sweeping impacts. These are the countless organizations fighting for the rights of essential workers, responding to the needs of low-income communities affected by the disparities laid bare by the virus, and reimagining the systems and structures that are critical in ensuring a fair and equitable recovery.

Nonprofits and the critical services they provide have never been more necessary, yet more than half of these organizations struggle to become financially sustainable and meet that demand. In fact, the majority of nonprofits have six months or less in cash reserves, putting them in a precarious position at times of emergency. And with the rapid spread of COVID-19, the entire nonprofit sector is at risk of being fundamentally upended by the virus and its economic fallout.

Unprecedented times call for extraordinary solutions, and that’s why we issued a social bond—the first ever by a foundation on the United States taxable corporate bond market—to ensure nonprofits can carry on their important work to serve the world’s most vulnerable communities.

The proceeds of the bond will enable us to nearly double our grantmaking from approximately $550 million per year to more than $1 billion. We will focus our support on funding under-resourced areas in the US and around the world, and stabilizing and strengthening organizations we believe have what it takes to lead us through recovery to build a more just, equitable world.

Because we alone cannot address the challenges, we have partnered with four other institutions that share our commitment to helping nonprofits doing the hard work of social justice emerge from this global pandemic stronger and more effective. Our hope is that more funders, investors and individual donors will see the integral role they play in society, the economy and in upholding the very idea of democracy, and join us to ensure they carry on their invaluable work today and into the future.

Since our announcement in June 2020, we have made the following commitments with the proceeds of our social bond:

  • Racial Justice - A commitment to racial justice and civil rights organizations addressing systemic inequality and supporting inclusive democracy
  • America’s Cultural Treasures - An initiative to support undercapitalized arts organizations led by Black, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous communities and located primarily in those communities of color
  • The Black Feminist Fund - A seed investment to support the launch of the first-ever fund created by Black women and designed to support Black feminist organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas
  • Puerto Rico - A commitment to support the island’s economic recovery from Hurricane Maria and the pandemic
  • The Care for All with Respect and Equity (CARE) Fund - An iniative to redefine America’s understanding of care and build a comprehensive and equitable care infrastructure