Program & Initiative

Growth + Equity Fund

115 W. Fayette St.
Syracuse, NY 13202
United States

John Peter (right), owner, Peter’s Discount Liquor, and Tanika Jones (left), owner, It Takes a Village Family Daycare.

The Growth + Equity Fund expands access to capital for startups led by BIPOC (Black,Indigenous and persons of color), women and veteran founders from historically marginalized populations and neighborhoods that are also engaged in CenterState CEO’s programs, as well as tech startups and projects in distressed neighborhoods. It was developed by CenterState CEO in response to the need for more program options to address a spectrum of market inefficiencies and inequities, to finance innovators, entrepreneurs, and business owners who have traditionally struggled to access the funding they need to achieve their venture goals.

The fund uses strategies designed to “de-risk” participant businesses, including intensive vetting, business support services, and milestones business owners must achieve to access the fund’s capital. The fund provides critical working capital that can be directed toward the hiring of staff, leasing space, purchasing equipment, or predevelopment professional services​. Depending on the needs of a business and their stage of growth at a given time, businesses will be eligible for capital in the form of mini-grants, financing (low-interest loans, designed to help business scale) or quasi-equity investments (convertible debt notes, which inject capital into businesses without requiring immediate returns​) with rates and terms as friendly as possible.​ The G+E Fund team also provides participants with post-financing support to maximize capital impact. Entrepreneurs are referred to other financial institutions to access more traditional financing whenever possible.

The CenterState CEO Foundation has attracted funding from a variety of philanthropic sources to build and deploy the Growth + Equity Fund. The fund is also supported by public funding, angel investments and venture capital funding.

Photo caption: John Peter (right), owner, Peter’s Discount Liquor, and Tanika Jones (left), owner of It Takes a Village Family Daycare, stand in front of the facility that will house her new daycare center. Peter’s donation in support of the Growth + Equity Fund enabled Jones to access a mini “ignition” grant to cover soft costs related to renovating her new facility.


Growth + Equity Fund Supporters

CenterState CEO extends its appreciation to all the Growth + Equity Fund founding contributors and supporters. Their generous support is creating greater economic opportunity for BIPOC entrepreneurs and small businesses in our community.

Growth + Equity Fund Supporters

Learn how you can support the Growth + Equity Fund through the CenterState CEO Foundation.

For more information contact:


Andrew Obernesser

Director of Community Investment

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Kelly Fumarola

Executive Director, the CenterState CEO Foundation and CenterState Development Foundation; Director of Development

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