UMMS Announces $14 Million in Social Impact Investments
The University of Maryland Medical System announced today that it is committing a portion of its investment portfolio to companies and funds focused on addressing economic development, food insecurity and other disparities in the communities the System serves. The first tranche of commitments includes $14 million in 11 equity and fixed income investments.
The investees all have a strong presence in the state of Maryland and employ a diverse workforce; over half are Baltimore-focused and 75% are either Black-led or Black and woman-led and represent a mix of mission-driven Community Development Financial Institutions (CFDIs) and private equity firms.
“The University of Maryland Medical System is deeply woven into the fabric of communities across Maryland,” said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of UMMS. “Through these investments, we are seeking to make positive social, economic and environmental impacts. Our corporation and individual member organizations are anchor institutions and we understand and embrace our responsibility to support efforts that improve the health of our communities, not only through care we deliver, but also by supporting the people who share our goals and aspirations for opportunity and change.”
These new investments follow the awarding of $2.3 million in community grants announced last month and $1.2 million in food insecurity grants announced in the summer of 2021. Along with strategic community impact grantmaking, social impact investing is a strategy that UMMS is employing to grow assets while also growing wealth in the communities served by the System and dismantling barriers to health equity, safety and wellness.
“This means using some of our investment portfolio to help address the resource gaps that keep communities from achieving better health and well-being while still gaining a positive financial return,” Dr. Suntha added. “These investments are just a first step and over time we expect to grow the share of our portfolio focused on Maryland-based, social impact investments.”
In support of its mission, the System is a member of the national Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) – an organization that brings together values-aligned hospitals and health systems from around the country. UMMS is one of 13 HAN members that have committed to directing a portion of their investable assets toward place-based investments that address racial, economic and environmental disparities.
“The University of Maryland Medical System is uniquely positioned as a leading community asset and significant economic engine to act creatively and decisively to address health disparities in the communities it serves across the state,” said David Zuckerman, President and Founder of HAN. “Impact investing provides UMMS a new tool for keeping dollars in the local community and addressing root cause barriers to health and well-being such as access to capital, quality jobs and wealth building. Its leadership in this area is a powerful example for those across the health care sector.”
One of the UMMS investees is Baltimore Community Lending, which will use funds to make loans to vendors at the new Lexington Market project, which is helping revitalize downtown Baltimore, starting in October 2022.
“We are pleased to partner with the University of Maryland Medical System as we work toward our shared goal of transforming neighborhoods in the Baltimore Metro area,” said Watchen Harris Bruce, President & CEO of Baltimore Community Lending. “The commitment of UMMS will support us in providing financing and coaching support to underserved small businesses and community developers, positioning them for financial stability to access mainstream banking products and to achieve long-term success.”
Shelly M. Gross-Wade, President & CEO of FSC First, said, “We are pleased to receive this $1 million Community Impact Investment from UMMS, which is an anchor institution in our community, through UM Capital Region Medical Center. This investment will be used to provide direct loans to locally-owned minority-owned businesses that develop new technologies and provide products and services in the health care industry – a critical industry that has the most significant potential to contribute to economic growth and development in Prince George’s County.”
The other nine investees, who will receive amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2.5 Million each, include Conscious Venture Fund, Enterprise Community Development, Ignite Capital, Momentus Capital’s Impact Investments Program, Obran Acquisitions, Propel Baltimore, RBC Access Capital, The Reinvestment Fund and UpSurge.
Brown Advisory, in its capacity as the System’s investment management and strategic advisory partner, will help UMMS monitor both the community impact and financial return of these investments.