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The Role of Trust to Build Funding Relationships with Social Entrepreneurs

SOCAP Global February 28, 2022

From SOCAP21: Using the 5 R’s of Rematriation to Address Gender and Racial Wealth Gaps

In building a fund to connect growth-ready Indigenous womxn-owned businesses with capital, the developers created character-based lending principles as an alternative to traditional risk-measuring practices. During SOCAP21, the team behind the Matriarch Revolutionary Fund shared why and how they decided to replace the 5 C’s of Credit used to address traditional risk concerns with the 5 R’s of Rematriation in designing a fund that puts the risk on those with the most instead of those with the least. 

In using the five R’s — relational, rooted, restorative, regenerative, and revolutionary — to evaluate entrepreneurs, the Matriarch Revolutionary Fund seeks to direct capital to businesses with community ties that aim to close the racial wealth gap and protect the environment. 

Agnetha Jaime Gloshay, Co-Director of Native Women Lead, and Vanessa Roanhorse, CEO of Roanhorse Consulting, LLC, saw a need to provide a new model of funding to people in communities that have been the target of predatory lending or who run businesses in the informal economy and don’t see themselves as entrepreneurs. 

“We wanted to make a fund that was able to meet people where they were at,” Gloshay said. “We have to be mindful that there are things that can trigger someone because of the trauma that exists in our communities. How do you build trust in a way that honors that.”

Roanhorse said they wanted to find the right partners to build a fund based in relationship and community who understood the reasons for using the 5 R’s of Rematriation and the potential to address gender and racial wealth gaps in the U.S.

“We’re looking at entrepreneurship to address some of the systemic issues we’re facing,” she said. “We know we need to center Native women because we are the bread-winners and the caregivers. … Character-based lending has been going on for years, decades in other parts of the world. This idea of why we keep returning to relationships and talking about the reason why we have to center Black and Brown folks into this work is so we can make it happen faster.”

One of the funding partners is Lucas Turner-Owens, Founding Partner of The Sankofa Group, who spoke to the value of incorporating trust into funding relationships from the start with the assessment phase. 

“Without serious trust and shared incentives and really shared alignment on what you’re trying to do, you can’t do this work and at the same time do all that we’re talking about,” he said. “Trust looks like aligning behind a shared goal rather than feeling like there’s someone who has a checklist and a black box that you can’t look into who’s assessing you.”

By starting from a foundation of trust and weaving it throughout the initiative, the developers of the Matriarch Revolutionary Fund form unique and strong relationships with entrepreneurs, said Eric Horvath, Partner of The Sankofa Group. 

“I don’t think there’s a template. I don’t think any of us operate by building trusts or relationships in a transactional, formulaic way,” he said. “There’s a lot more to unpack that sometimes folks miss around the trust and relationship piece.” 

In working to connect Indigenous womxn business owners with funding, Lauren Ruffin, Co-founder & CEO of CRUX, said the team is building on previous character-based and relational lending efforts in communities that succeeded for decades. 

“We’re doing something that is groundbreaking, but it’s already been done,” Ruffin said. 

Watch Reimagining and Revolutionizing Investment Through Rematriation


Agnetha Jaime Gloshay, Co-Director of Native Women Lead

Vanessa Roanhorse, CEO of Roanhorse Consulting, LLC

Eric Horvath, Partner of The Sankofa Group

Lauren Ruffin, Co-founder & CEO of CRUX

Lucas Turner-Owens, Founding Partner of The Sankofa Group

Finance & Capital / Social Entrepreneurship
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