By Jamaica Kalika
In 2022, Exelon, Pepco’s parent company, launched the RECF in partnership with RockCreek, one of the largest diverse-owned global-operated investment firms. This initiative aims to enhance financial opportunities for diverse businesses so they can create more jobs, grow their companies and reinvest in their neighborhoods and communities. The fund, totaling $36 million, offers affordable capital to enterprises that have historically faced challenges in accessing and securing funding due to systemic barriers.
Pepco is the nation’s largest utility company, serving more than 10 million customers. They provide energy service to almost a million customers in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
Three elected officials, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and Maryland State Senator William C. Smith Jr., attended the press conference announcement to show their support and speak on the impact of this investment for the local community.
“A city as prosperous as ours can create more wealth and close wealth gaps in our communities. We know when our businesses grow, more DC residents are hired, more wealth is created and circulated in Washington D.C., and more businesses find opportunity,” said Mayor Bowser.
Councilmember McDuffie said, “We are a job city. We are a city that works. It’s going to work even better as we continue to make more investments like the one that’s being made today.”
As part of Exelon’s ongoing efforts to promote equity and economic opportunity in the diverse communities served by Pepco and its sister utilities, the RECF is making investments through debt and equity financing across Exelon’s service regions over the next three years.
“This is a shared mission driven initiative. It’s one of the highlights of my career to have you all here,” said Pepco Holdings CEO and President Tyler Anthony. “Pepco and our parent company, Exelon, are deeply connected to our communities we serve and committed to providing much more than energy by investing in opportunities that make our region thrive.”
RockCreek, a global investment firm with over $16 billion in assets, leads the RECF and makes the fund’s investment decisions.
“Capital is the fuel that allows companies to grow, create jobs, and strengthen communities. RockCreek is proud to partner with Exelon and Pepco to make investments here in D.C. to bring that critical fuel directly to minority-owned businesses,” said Afsaneh Beschloss, CEO of RockCreek. “These visionary founders and business leaders are helping to drive that change, in our community and across our country.”
Following the announcement by the four companies representing the energy, IT, workforce development and real estate fields, leaders from each participated in a panel discussion.
A $1 million equity investment was awarded to Gemini Energy Solutions, a Black-owned and led energy audit and cleantech company that strives to equitably scale energy efficiency to often overlooked small businesses and communities. The organization is currently working to connect businesses and churches in under-resourced communities with green energy solutions.
Public Sector Solutions Group (PS2G) received a $600,000 debt investment. PS2G is a technology driven Black-owned company providing IT consulting services and solutions to state and local government partners.
CJR Development Partners, LC is a minority, woman-owned small business that was awarded a $600,000 debt investment. They advise on public private partnerships and specialize in creating mixed use developments and affordable housing communities.
Escalate is a workforce development platform that provides support for frontline workers to drive retention and positive work environments. Based in Silver Spring, Md., Escalate is a majority-Black and woman-owned company and received $500,000 in equity investment.
“What you invest in minority businesses, Black businesses, it pays dividends …. Those are the numbers, just the raw data points. Think about the stories. Think about the jobs we are creating. Think about the tuition payments that are going to be made. Think about the homes that are going to be purchased. Think about those dreams that are going to be fulfilled,” said Senator Smith.
New RECF applications are open and accepted on a rolling basis. Minority businesses interested in funding may apply online or contact the fund manager, RockCreek, at RECFInquiries@therockcreekgroup.com for more information.