Published

June 09, 2021

Author

Block

Published

June 09, 2021

Author

Block

The company also released a memo to help illuminate the process for other organizations looking to make similar commitments

Square, Inc. announced today the allocation of the remaining $25 million of its $100 million investment in support of minority and underserved communities. Square shared the ideology behind the investments in a memo outlining how companies can make similar commitments, along with information about the newly launched Bitcoin Endowment focused on financial education and access.

With the company’s purpose of economic empowerment at the forefront, in 2019 Square began dedicating deposits to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) in communities around the country. The $100 million of investments announced in September 2020 was a continuation of Square’s commitment to increasing access to financial services.

Each organization that received funds was hand-selected by a team of cross functional Square employees with the goals of helping minority-owned small businesses grow through finance, allowing CDFIs and MDIs to increase their capacity to make loans to local small business owners, and providing access to the unbanked through savings and other financial tools that have historically been limited to those with privilege. Based on the vision articulated in the memo, Square has allocated the remaining $25 million of the $100 million investment as follows: $10 million to the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, $10 million to international organizations focused on minority and underserved communities, and $5 million to the Square, Inc. Bitcoin Endowment.

The Entrepreneurs of Color fund, managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is designed to not only get much-needed capital directly into the hands of minority small business owners, but also provide critical support such as coaching, operational guidance, and training.

“Minority business owners have historically faced higher barriers than white owners in accessing affordable, flexible financing to launch and grow their businesses,” noted George Ashton, president of LISC Fund Management, a subsidiary of LISC, one of the nation’s largest community development financial institutions. “Square’s commitment to the fund directly responds to that gap, helping us add liquidity to the marketplace, accelerate the flow of capital to innovative entrepreneurs, and support economic opportunity in the communities where they operate.”

Racial and social inequity is a global issue, so $10 million was allocated for investment in international funds and lenders focusing on underserved communities in Square’s markets outside of the U.S.

The Bitcoin Endowment, which is funded from the interest on a portion of Square’s corporate bitcoin holdings, provides funding to individuals and organizations working toward increasing bitcoin education and adoption in historically under-resourced communities across the globe. From those with no credit history who cannot open bank accounts, to people living in places with limited access to banks, to populations that have historically been discriminated against, bitcoin can help level the playing field and build a more inclusive future. Square has selected Black Bitcoin Billionaire, an organization working to on-ramp the Black community into bitcoin and create education focused on building wealth, as the first recipient of a Bitcoin Endowment grant. On a rolling basis, a cross functional team of Square employees will review applications and award grantees with applicable funds.

Square, Inc. changed its name to Block, Inc. on December 1, 2021.

About Block, Inc.

Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) is a global technology company with a focus on financial services. Made up of Square, Cash App, Spiral, TIDAL, and TBD, we build tools to help more people access the economy. Square helps sellers run and grow their businesses with its integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions, business software, and banking services. With Cash App, anyone can easily send, spend, or invest their money in stocks or Bitcoin. Spiral builds and funds free, open-source Bitcoin projects. Artists use TIDAL to help them succeed as entrepreneurs and connect more deeply with fans. TBD is building an open developer platform to make it easier to access Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies without having to go through an institution.