Laurel Street Receives Equity Investment from TruFund’s Impact Developers Fund to Accelerate Growth

January 28, 2021 – New York, New York – TruFund Financial Services (“TruFund”), a Community Development Financial Institution located in New York City announced that it has made an equity investment in Charlotte, North Carolina-based Laurel Street Residential, LLC, a minority- and women-owned real estate development company. Led by President and CEO Dionne Nelson, the mixed-income housing development firm focuses on providing affordable housing opportunities throughout its footprint, with a significant presence in North Carolina. The investment from TruFund’s Impact Developers Fund will strengthen the firm’s balance sheet, augment market expansion, and enhance organizational capacity building.

“We are so excited for the opportunity to make this investment in Laurel Street. This investment will not only accelerate Laurel Street’s organizational growth trajectory, but will also yield significant community impacts which include the creation and preservation of affordable housing that supports low- and moderate-income families, job creation for MWBE professionals, and contractors, as well as pecuniary benefits to local small businesses and suppliers,” said James H. Bason, President and CEO of TruFund, the fund manager.

Launched in July 2020, the $26 million Impact Developers Fund (“IDF”) was designed by Morgan Stanley, TruFund Financial Services, and the Ford Foundation.  IDF was established to provide equity capital and technical support to emerging real estate developers, especially businesses led by women and people of color. Lack of access to equity and equity-like capital hinders emerging developers from successfully and actively pursuing affordable housing development opportunities.

“This investment from TruFund will allow us to invest in corporate infrastructure and capacity building, including expanding our essential workforce, raising project capital and executing our mixed-income pipeline of projects successfully,” explained Dionne Nelson, principal of Laurel Street. “We’re incredibly grateful to TruFund, Morgan Stanley and the Ford Foundation, as this is the first major equity capital infusion to our corporate infrastructure since inception 10 years ago. While we’re well-known locally as one of the largest minority-owned firms in the market, we haven’t had the same access to capital as comparable non-MBE firms, and this allows us to finally operate on a more level playing field.”

TruFund received support from an impact-driven, minority-owned investment platform, Lafayette Square who provided structuring and underwriting support for IDF’s equity investments. “TruFund is an exceptional leader in the community development space, and we’re excited to continue our work with them to address our national affordable housing crisis and build a more equitable future,” said Damien Dwin, Founder & CEO at Lafayette Square. “James and his team understand the importance of financial access for small business entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented backgrounds, and we’re delighted to play a small role in their efforts and success.”

“Morgan Stanley congratulates TruFund Financial Services and Lafayette Square in selecting Laurel Street Residential as the first investment in the Impact Developers Fund.  We are proud to be part of the IDF, an important initiative to expand the participation of minority- and women-owned development companies, like Laurel Street, in the creation of affordable, equitable and vibrant communities,” said Joan Tally, Managing Director, Community Development Finance at Morgan Stanley.

“We are thrilled to have helped design and launch IDF, which will provide the equity capital that is so sorely missing for so many business owners, especially women and people of color. IDF’s investment has allowed Dionne Nelson to recapitalize her balance sheet, positioning her business to thrive and grow in the years to come,” said Roy Swan, Director of Mission Investments for the Ford Foundation.

The Impact Developers Fund has identified its first cohort and plans to announce each investee in the next several weeks. It is anticipated that future rounds will expand to service more minority developers across the country. TruFund Financial Services is actively raising additional capital to support this initiative. For more information about the IDF, please contact James H. Bason jbason@trufund.org or Andre A. Simon asimon@trufund.org.

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About TruFund Financial Services, Inc.
TruFund Financial Services, Inc. is a wholly independent national nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). TruFund seeks to stimulate economic development in communities that are underserved by traditional banking institutions by providing fair and accessible capital, hands-on technical assistance, and innovative solutions to small businesses and nonprofit organization.

Follow TruFund on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to find out more about the company’s programs and initiatives or visit www.trufund.org.

About Laurel Street

Laurel Street is a leading multifamily residential development company experienced in developing high-quality, mixed-income communities for working individuals and families as well as seniors. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the company has a current development portfolio of more than 3,600 units and anticipates developing approximately 1,000 units annually over the next several years across the East Coast and Midwest. For more information, visit www.laurelstreetres.com.

About Morgan Stanley 

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.

About the Ford Foundation 

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

About Lafayette Square Holdings

Lafayette Square Holding Company, LLC (“Lafayette Square” or the “Firm”) is an impact-driven, minority-owned investment platform. Founded by Damien Dwin in 2020, the Firm confronts critical societal challenges with capital and services in three core areas: housing, jobs, and financial inclusion. For more information about Lafayette Square, please visit lafayettesquare.com.