PLATINUM2024

ICA.Fund

We accelerate great businesses.

aka ICA   |   Oakland, CA   |  https://www.ica.fund/

Mission

ICA accelerates great businesses through mentoring and investments to close the racial and gender wealth gaps, toward our vision of an economy that works for all.

Ruling year info

2003

Chief Executive Officer

Allison Kelly

Main address

1714 Franklin St. #100-174

Oakland, CA 94612 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Inner City Advisors

EIN

47-0898054

NTEE code info

Urban, Community (S31)

Management & Technical Assistance (J02)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

While the SF Bay Area is a hub of entrepreneurial activity, rich with resources around networking, education, and technical assistance, there is a critical gap in business financing products and technical assistance programs that truly work for women and POC. Research shows that access to growth capital and mentorship are key drivers of business success, but POC and women are often turned down for financing because they have insufficient assets a legacy of structural inequities resulting in well-documented wealth gaps. The capital access gap for women and POC-led enterprises is a national issue that severely curtails their growth potential. Its critical that we help small businesses grow because small businesses have the power to create jobs and drive economic mobility and wealth creation. We address these gaps by providing a holistic continuum of support that focuses on issuing equity investments in combination with deep business coaching to systemically underserved entrepreneurs.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Lab at ICA

The Lab is a business accelerator program for local small businesses that are no longer start-ups, but have not yet built sufficient revenue or internal capacity to strategically grow. The Lab is a 3 month, cohort-based, learning-intensive program that focuses on giving participants the tools and resources they need to create a robust Growth Road Map. The program will culminate with a virtual Open House, where businesses can share what they have learned, how they will apply new learning to their business, and their road map and timeline for implementation. The Lab serves approximately 10 companies per cohort. Through group education and access to equity capital (up to $50K), The Lab helps these promising businesses expand from 1-2 employees, build the foundation for financial sustainability, develop a plan for investing in their business, and cultivate an overall growth mindset. The Lab also prepares entrepreneurs to participate in ICA's Accelerator Program.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Self-employed people

The Accelerator is a tailored, holistic business-advising program designed for high-potential, good job-creating companies looking to scale. Over a 3-month period, Accelerator cohorts of approximately 10 small businesses engage in group learning and 1:1 advising sessions with high-caliber advisors to develop a growth and sustainability strategy, build a people strategy, articulate a good jobs vision, identify a sophisticated capital access strategy, and connect with like-minded peers and mentors. On average, small businesses participating in The Accelerator employ 5-10 team members and have about $900k in annual revenues. Companies that complete The Accelerator at ICA will be poised to raise capital within 12 months after culmination, either from ICA's Growth Fund or external sources, to further their strategic growth.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Self-employed people

ICAs Growth Fund provides access to equity and convertible note investments up to $1M, in combination with hands-on investing support, with a focus on serving entrepreneurs of color and women. The fund provides patient, flexible capital for seed and growth investment through two tailored investment products: Growth Equity ($100k - $1M) and Seed Equity (up to $50k). These investments enable entrepreneurs to grow the value of their businesses over time - creating new wealth for themselves and their employees through good wages, robust benefits, career ladder pathways, profit sharing, and employee ownership programs. Our investment strategy intentionally focuses on racial and gender equity, and supports companies that are committed to our shared mission of wealth creation and distribution to a diverse workforce.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Self-employed people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Average wage of clients served (in dollars)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Self-employed people, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

ICA conducts an annual Impact Survey, administered 12 months after participants finish programming. Our historic dataset is not longitudinal in nature due to variation in survey respondents over time.

Number of jobs created and maintained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Self-employed people

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

ICA conducts an annual Impact Survey, administered 12 months after participants finish programming. Our historic dataset is not longitudinal in nature due to variation in survey respondents over time.

Number of businesses developed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Self-employed people, Ethnic and racial groups

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

ICA conducts an annual Impact Survey, administered 12 months after participants finish programming. Our historic dataset is not longitudinal in nature due to variation in survey respondents over time.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

ICA is committed to creating responsive, relevant, and actionable business accelerator programs and investment opportunities that help entrepreneurs of color grow the value of their businesses to create wealth for themselves and their employees in our most inequitable Bay Area communities. Ultimately, we seek to help high-potential small businesses create good jobs and wealth-building opportunities for the entrepreneur, their employees, and their communities.

Over the next five years, ICA will demonstrate how our integrated ecosystem of coaching, capital, and connections can help close the gender and racial wealth gaps for entrepreneurs and their employees. Through a uniquely responsive and inclusive approach that centers the needs and visions of entrepreneurs, ICA will guide 500 diverse entrepreneurs on their journey to grow the value of their business and create wealth for themselves and their 2,000+ employees. We are innovating toward an economy that works for all. To realize this vision, over the next five years, we will move our Shared Services pilot program into a robust revenue-generating service offering, double the size of our investment fund to $25M, and propagate our innovative model of deeply integrated accelerator program with creative investment products to reach more high-potential small businesses across the country. We know that our model creates deep, sustained impact, and we have valuable insights and frameworks to bring to small businesses run by diverse founders in regions beyond the Bay Area. By taking a community-centered approach, ICA will scale its impact by supporting, and learning from, other capital providers across the nation that are interested in using the tools of venture capital to close the racial and gender wealth gaps.

In the long run, our programs will drive systems-level change which culminates in a thriving, multilayered economy where all people can access the right-sized resources regardless of their race, gender, or connections. Success in our work will present as a fundamental shift in our financial system, and specifically in the ways that regulatory bodies set guidelines around our banking system. We envision a system that expands beyond the traditional backing of banks and embraces backstop support of a diverse array of financial tools, promoting financial inclusivity and equitable access to resources that more effectively distribute wealth. Rather than having our economy become a monoculture of the largest corporations reaping the biggest profits, we will build the capacity of community leaders and shape public policy to support workers, employers, and community members at all levels.

We believe that (1) small businesses are a vehicle for wealth creation and distribution and (2) systemically disinvested groups, particularly women and people of color, have the power to transform their communities as employers, leaders, and agents of change. Our theory of change is that capital, coaching, and connections, when provided to entrepreneurs through deeply integrated and culturally relevant channels, will empower these individuals to generate community wealth-building opportunities that narrow the racial and gender wealth gaps. Our model has a clear focus on the racial and gender equity lenses of small business success because we want to be direct and explicit about addressing the needs of women and people of color, two systemically underrepresented groups when it comes to small business ownership.

For many low-wage workers, entrepreneurship is the most viable path to economic mobility. This has been especially true among populations of color, whose entrepreneurship growth rates have outpaced white entrepreneurship rates since the 2020 economic crisis (Kauffman Foundation). Despite this growth, access to capital is the most significant challenge entrepreneurs of color face. ICA is addressing this need by combining advising with equity/equity-like capital for under-resourced small business owners who are poised for growth but are held back by long-standing systemic racial bias that persists in conventional underwriting models. As a Venture Capital CDFI, ICAs products give entrepreneurs a greater degree of flexibility to invest in long-term, sustainable growth than traditional debt capital can provide. Furthermore, our equity investments provide flexible, patient capital that complements debt capital and enables small business owners to diversify their capital structure and scale their growth.

ICA also prioritizes clients who are committed to creating quality jobs that pay a living wage and provide meaningful employee benefits. By investing in companies that prioritize job quality, ICAs impacts go beyond the individual business owner and lead to tangible, lasting benefits to under-resourced communities. Companies engaged in ICAs accelerator programs increase annual revenues by an average of 46% and jobs created/retained by 16% within 1 year of completing training. Companies served in 2022 represent 901 jobs and pay average hourly wages of $26.70, significantly more than Californias $16/hour minimum wage. Importantly, the jobs these companies create and retain are quality jobs: over 60% offer benefits such as sick leave, paid holidays, health care coverage, and career advancement paths. To date, ICA has helped more than 900 diverse local entrepreneurs (89% owned by people of color and/or women) access the capital and expert advice to grow their businesses, create good jobs, and drive economic activity in their communities. Our clients have created 7,200 jobs and paid more than $1B in wages to employees in the Bay Area.

ICA is a learning organization that has evolved over time, expanding and deepening our activities to better address the needs of local underestimated entrepreneurs, while keeping our core mission at the forefront. Established in 1996, originally as Oakland Advisors, the organization was launched to provide direct business advising to local growth-stage entrepreneurs. We became Inner City Advisors to reflect a focus on urban entrepreneurs. Recognizing that advising was only part of the solution, we launched Fund Good Jobs in 2013 to invest in entrepreneurs who lacked access to traditional financing. In early 2020, we streamlined our two-part organization, ICA Fund Good Jobs, to a single entity - ICA Fund - that reflects our cohesive and interconnected approach to coaching and capital, and creates an integrated ecosystem of small business support. We continue to review, update, and improve our advisory and investment programming to ensure that it is responsive to the key needs of our entrepreneur clients.

ICA's policies and procedures were created by a deeply experienced management team representing 50+ years of direct industry experience, and they are regularly reviewed by ICAs governing bodies, including an 11-member Board of Directors composed of business and community leaders with a regional focus on the SF Bay Area. CEO Allison Kelly brings 15+ years of community finance experience across her 20+ year career to ICA, having helmed strategic senior leadership roles at Pacific Community Ventures and Momentus Capital (fka CDC Small Business Finance). Under Kelly's leadership, the organization has greatly increased internal investment on systems and processes, technology infrastructure, and organizational sustainability. ICA has also had significant staff growth over the last 3 years. We now have 19 full-time staff, which includes 4 new hires within the last 12 months for key roles. We maintain comprehensive policies and standard operating procedures for each department at ICA which are housed in a central database accessible to all staff. Additionally, our investment practice is guided by a detailed investment thesis which is reviewed and updated by ICA's management team annually.

We are committed to creating responsive, relevant, and actionable business accelerator programs and investment opportunities that help entrepreneurs of color grow the value of their businesses to create wealth for themselves and their employees in our most inequitable Bay Area communities. Building this intentionally equitable way of doing business includes removing the pressure of short-term results. Creating and sustaining value in small businesses is a journey. In an economy that has been overly fixated on extracting returns for investors, ICA focuses on entrepreneurs and their employees. We select and underwrite companies based on their proven market traction, economics, growth potential, the resilience of their leaders, and commitment to their workers.

ICA has a well established track record of impact in economic development. Since our establishment in 1996, ICA has grown from a business advising organization to one that provides a full ecosystem of advising, capital, and support to invest in high-potential small businesses that create good jobs and wealth-building opportunities for entrepreneurs, their employees, and their communities.

To date, ICA has served more than 900 businesses, 89% owned by people of color and/or women. These companies have created 7,200+ jobs and paid out $1B+ in employee wages in the Bay Area. On average, every $1 ICA invests is leveraged by $8 in additional growth financing that our clients raise over time from mission-aligned investors in and beyond the ICA network (8x leverage ratio). Diving deeper, companies that receive Seed Capital from ICA generally see a leverage ratio of 2.5x, and those that receive Growth Capital after completing The Accelerator see a 13x leverage ratio.

Our data shows that our portfolio and pre-investment accelerator companies are growing, becoming more profitable, hiring employees, and sharing gains with workers after participating in our programs. Companies engaged in ICA's accelerator programs increase annual revenues by an average of 46% and jobs created/retained by 16% within 1 year of completing training. Companies served in 2022 represent 901 jobs and pay average hourly wages of $26.70, significantly more than Californias $16/hour minimum wage. Importantly, the jobs these companies create and retain are quality jobs: over 60% offer benefits such as sick leave, paid holidays, health care coverage, and career advancement paths. In addition, each company in which ICA invests has designed a wealth creation strategy that they will implement over time as the business grows.

Since inception, ICA has invested equity and equity-like capital in 52 businesses that did not qualify for funding from traditional sources. The companies we support have accessed $109M in investment capital to support further growth. By providing access to equity financing, ICA enabled these companies to plan and invest in long-term growth.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection

Financials

ICA.Fund
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

ICA.Fund

Board of directors
as of 04/08/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Jack Russi

Retired

Term: 1996 -


Board co-chair

Mr. Jim Harris

OluKai

Justina Lai

Wetherby Asset Management

Dennis Green

Green & Associates

Jim King

J.P. King Advisors

Donald Reinke

Reed Smith

Mona Masri

Economic Security California

Nicole Auyang

City National Bank

Wil Hobbs

Retired

Conchita Tucker

Tucker Technology, Inc

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/8/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/05/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.