INVEST IN UJIMA
You can invest in the Ujima Fund online or via mail (instructions on page 53). The document below, our Offering Memorandum, describes the risks, regulations, and background of the fund. The Offering Memorandum should be read in its entirety, with careful attention to the Risk Factors (page 11), Description of Notes (39), and Subordination Agreement (77).
HOW TO INVEST IN THE UJIMA FUND
1. Read Ujima's Offering Memorandum. This document describes the risks, regulations, and background of the fund. The Offering Memorandum should be read in it's entirety, with careful attention to the Risk Factors (page 11), Description of Notes (39), and Subordination Agreement (77).
2. Consult the personal finance worksheet if you are unsure of how much to invest.
3. Invest online (multiple payment options available):
Click the button next to the type of investment you are making.
Complete and sign all forms via Docusign (Investment Agreement, W-9, and Demographic Information).
After submitting, select your payment option. (You will see instructions on how to send a check if that is your preferred payment.)
4. OR Invest via mail:
Click the button next to the type of investment you are making.
Select the print option on Docusign.
Complete and sign all forms manually (Investment Agreement, W-9, and Demographic Information).
Write a check, payable to the Ujima Fund, for the amount you wish to invest in the applicable Notes.
Send the Investment Agreement and your check to the Ujima Fund [PO BOX 180310 Boston MA 02118].
5. If you have questions, please email invest_at_ujimaboston.com or call 857-308-4033.
YOUR PAYMENT METHOD:
• We strongly encourage payment via checks.
• If you are using the ACH method (direct bank transfer), there is a $2,000 limit.
• We can only process a limited volume of ACH transactions per week. If you receive an error message then please follow up with us at invest_at_ujimaboston.com.
YOUR TERM START DATE:
If your investment is received by the 20th of the month, your note term will start on the 1st of the following month. If your note is received after the 20th of the month, your note term will start one month from the 1st of the following month.
If you need more time to think about whether you want to invest, we’re always raising donations to secure the investments of working class investors, support our operations and the success of the strategy .
READ MORE ABOUT UJIMA'S DEMOCRATIC INVESTMENT STRATEGY ON OUR FINANCE PAGE.
Contact us with questions about the fund: invest_at_ujimaboston.com
TYPES OF INVESTMENT
Check out quotes from some of our early investors below, to get inspired and consider which type of investment might be best for you!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much money is Ujima raising?
We aim to raise $5 million by 2020, comprised of $4.5 million of multi-tiered investment capital and $500,000 of grant capital.
How does the investment process work?
The Ujima Fund pools dollars from community members, supporters inside and outside of the city, and foundations, into one fund.
With our grassroots partner organizations, Ujima hosts neighborhood and city-wide planning assemblies with hundreds of residents to create shared values and plans for the local economy. Voting members - Boston residents who live in or are connected to Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury - get one vote, no matter the size of their investment.
Guided by the community-created plans, the local finance professionals and Ujima members who comprise the Ujima Fund’s Investment Committee (IC) review investment opportunities, conduct due diligence and make recommendations to members before all investments come to a member vote.
What will the fund be invested in?
Microfinance. Ex: Small equipment for a new worker owned catering co-op
Working Capital. Ex: Inventory purchase for a new bike shop
Growth Capital. Ex: New truck loan for an energy efficiency company
Real Estate. Ex: Real estate acquisition financing for a local Community Land Trust
Community Infrastructure. Ex: Seed financing for community owned internet infrastructure
How will Ujima be accountable to residents?
Ongoing investment democracy through neighborhood and citywide assemblies
Voting member approval of each investment made by the Fund.
Annual business review by the member-elected Community Standards Committee to ensure they meet our Good Business Standards
Member driven strategy through monthly Member Team meetings, including the Evaluation Team which measures our progress in meeting our goals & our accountability to our values
Who can invest, and how much?
How can I invest?
Please read the Offering Memorandum for details about investment and visit this page to make an investment.
How long has Ujima been around?
The seed of Ujima was planted during a Boston Community Finance Study group which began in the summer of 2014. Volunteers organized to form the Boston Ujima Project throughout 2015, and in August 2016 Ujima held a “Solidarity Summit,” bringing together 175 people to democratically lend $20,000 to five local Black & immigrant-owned businesses. In 2017, Ujima hired our first director, Nia Evans, and shortly thereafter began accepting members. From the fall of 2017 and the fall of 2018, Ujima built a membership of almost 400 people and held five neighborhood and citywide planning assemblies.
What is the relationship between Boston Ujima Project and Boston Impact Initiative?
Has Ujima made any investments so far?
Through the Pilot Investment day, Ujima members voted to invest in five local Black & immigrant-owned businesses using the Kiva Investment Platform, who have been paying their loans back since then. Among these businesses was Bowdoin Bike School, whose loan allowed them to buy a Point of Sale System and increase their sales and efficiency, ultimately helping them gear up for an expansion! Soon, they will be opening the Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen, a full service bicycle shop and cafe, in Upham’s Corner.
Why is Ujima looking for both investment and donation/ grant capital?
Resources transformation. Donations and grants help resource the development of a model for democratic investment that could transform finance and help create more equitable cities across the country.
Strengthens our ecosystem. Donations and grants help us grow and strengthen a powerful ecosystem. Ujima is advancing many interconnected strategies including business support, financial education, arts and cultural organizing, and youth engagement.
Sustains our community. Donations and grants help us build towards long term sustainability. At the core of Ujima's vision is a future where our communities' have the resources and power to own our own land, our own businesses, and our own culture. Grassroots gifts from our network of supporters are the only way we will get there.
Secures the fund. A portion of donation and grant capital goes directly to securing the investments in the Ujima Fund, especially those made by our working and middle class investors, who may be less able or willing to risk losing money with their investment.
Are there other examples like Ujima?
Boston Impact Initiative is Ujima’s sister fund in Boston, investing in enterprises throughout Eastern Massachusetts with an integrated capital approach and a focus on closing the racial wealth gap.
The Working World combines non-extractive finance and tailor-made business support to build cooperative businesses in low-income communities. They also host the Peer Network and Financial Cooperative, which brings together place-based organizations from around the country (including Ujima!) to build a national infrastructure of cooperative lending and non-extractive finance.
The Buen Vivir Fund, hosted by Thousand Currents, funds community-led solutions in the global south, and utilizes local lending practices that prioritize community wellbeing rather than capital accumulation.
The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain, which has been around for over a half century and powerfully exemplifies Ujima’s ecosystem approach.
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) are nonprofit financial institutions which provide affordable lending to benefit low-wealth communities across the United States.
Participatory budgeting processes, are a great example of implementing and scaling a system for community governance of resource allocation to improve quality of life for all.
What is the chance that I’ll lose my money?
How much should I invest?
We encourage you to check out the Personal Finance Worksheet, which is an educational tool to help you think through how much makes sense for you to invest. The Worksheet also has a list of local investment advisors that you can reach out to for additional support. Ujima is not an investment advisor and cannot provide personalized investment advice, however we do encourage you not to invest beyond your means.
Can I invest through an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)?
Many investors choose to hold a portion of their assets in a Self Directed IRA, which is an IRA held by a custodian who is willing to hold alternative assets for you. Since the Ujima Fund is not traded on traditional security exchanges, it is an alternative asset. There are many Self Directed IRA providers and we recommend getting help from an advisor to select one that makes most sense for your investment needs. Please note that many Self Directed IRAs to not invest in anything as alternative to Ujima, so check with them before moving your assets.
Can I sell my Ujima investment to another investor?
Nope! Ujima notes are illiquid and non-transferrable.
I don’t have anything except for a savings account. Is this for me?
There are a few reasons you might not have investments and none of them exclude you from being involved with Ujima. You may be paying down debts, just starting out saving, or you may feel unsure of how to invest so you just kept your money in the bank. Often the question is not whether or not it’s a good fit, but how much investment is a good fit. If you a working class resident of Massachusetts, the minimum investment amount is only $50. If you’re not, the minimum investment is $1000. This may be a barrier or still not make financial sense for you, in which case we absolutely still want you to be involved! You can become a member and an organizer or make a donation instead of an investment.
What's the difference between an accredited and a non-accredited investor?
An accredited investor is a person or a business entity who is allowed to deal in securities that may not be registered with financial authorities. They are entitled to this access if they satisfy one (or more) requirements regarding income, net worth, asset size, governance status or professional experience. Accredited investors include natural high net worth individuals, banks, insurance companies, brokers and trusts.
I have a question I don't see here. How can I ask someone?
We'd love to hear from you! With questions specific to investment, please reach out to invest_at_ujimaboston.com. With other questions, please reach out to info_at_ujimaboston.com.