This month Officer Caesar Goodson was acquitted of all charges in connection with the death of Freddie Gray. Goodson drove the van that was considered to have contributed to Gray's fatal injuries including damage to his spine. Officer Edward Nero was acquitted in May for charges connected with Gray's death and another officer William Porter's trial ended in a hung jury in December.
Gray's death in April of 2015 became another touchstone in the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked major protests that turned violent, and highlights the significant racial and economic tensions facing Baltimore's black community. Check out this chart from the Guardian comparing Gray's neighborhood with the rest of the United States:
The Mission Investor's Exchange host their 2016 conference in Baltimore and included a trip to Gray's neighborhood to visit with local leaders and see how impact investing might play a role going forward. Mark Joseph, Patti Baum, Beth Bafford had this to say in the Baltimore Sun on mission investing:
Since the Great Recession, investors have been wary about placing their money into something that they do not understand, given the economic destruction caused by the growth of "synthetic" financial products. These investors — individual and institutional — are demanding ways to keep their money circulating within their local economy where the impact of that investment is tangible and real. This demand is causing many in the impact investing space to explore "place-based" strategies.
One example is Ours To Own, a new partnership in Baltimore among the Calvert Social Investment Foundation, Goldseker Foundation, Humanim, Invested Impact and Straus Foundation. Its mission is to connect investors with projects, organizations and businesses working to build a stronger Baltimore. So far, local investors have supported the renovation of a local school, critical community projects and thousands of units of affordable housing while earning a financial return. As the interest from local investors grows, investments will strengthen small businesses, neighborhoods and communities across Baltimore that have historically struggled to access capital from traditional sources. The entry point for investment is $20 via the online platform Vested.org, so it's easy to participate.