A Bold New Way to Invest in Our Community.
The Community Foundation of Grant County has launched a local impact investing program with the goal of accelerating positive social outcomes, as an extension of our community leadership efforts. Unlike traditional grant-based philanthropy, impact investments are structured as flexible, affordable loans that will help local, eligible nonprofits, businesses, and people to bridge funding gaps and support community programs to drive greater impact. We recognize that our assets, over 90% of which are endowed, positions us to bring new tools, such as local impact investing, to address the needs and opportunities of Grant County.
Impact investing is any type of investment structured to generate both a financial return and a measurable social or environmental return. Impact Investing achieves both goals and complements traditional giving strategies.
This local impact initiative will facilitate the local investment of additional charitable capital in response to community needs, where the organization or project being financed has repayment capacity.
Unlike grants, impact investments intend to generate BOTH a social benefit and a financial return.
Designed to further the Foundation’s overarching mission of connecting people, resources, and causes to promote sustainable impact towards the betterment of Grant County, all investments made through the impact investing program will seek investments that express the following values: (1) Leadership by growing skills and capacity of local organizations and individuals, (2) Collaboration by working in relationship with, and not in competition with, other local capital partners and providers, (3) Innovation by addressing community needs and opportunities in creative and new ways, and (4) Access to Opportunity by increasing access for systemically marginalized individuals and organizations including, but not limited to, people of color and women.
The program’s purpose is to make socially impactful investments that provide financial return and measurably advance a prosperous Grant County. The program will invest in people, projects, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that advance and address: (1) Economic Prosperity, especially opportunities to support innovation, entrepreneurship, and small business growth and development; (2) Quality of Life through improved and revitalized neighborhoods and community infrastructure; and (3) Access to Opportunity, especially for systemically marginalized individuals, businesses, and organizations and those overlooked by existing capital providers in our community.
It’s a simple idea to generate sustainable impact.
We believe that philanthropic capital can further the betterment of Grant County through grants as well as investments. More than any nonprofit organization, community foundations have the ability to deploy a diverse set of tools to address community needs, including grantmaking, donor engagement, and loan investments. As community foundations seek innovative ways to build community wealth and health, more are adopting impact investing strategies to meet growing needs.
Looking ahead, the Foundation aims to expand and leverage impact investing to unlock additional capital in the form of loans and thus, in turn, more opportunity to pursue and achieve large-scale, lasting positive change on critical issues—such as Food Insecurity, Financial Wellness, Early Childhood Education, or Career Readiness and Workforce—and it can aid in growing and strengthening our local small business community.
The Foundation plans to allocate up to 10% of its investable assets—current value of ~$2.8 million—in loan capital for impact investments. It is preferred that no single investment is less than $50,000 or greater than $1,000,000. Investments outside of these parameters are subject to Subcommittee and Board approval.
These investments will complement the Foundation’s current investment policy, programs, and grantmaking activities, and present creative solutions to widely-understood community challenges or critical gaps in the existing market. The Foundation will continue to follow its investment policy and these impact investments will allow further diversification of the portfolio.
Investment applications must meet the program guidelines approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and will facilitate the local investment of additional charitable capital in response to community needs. Additionally, the potential investment must prove how it accomplishes and relates to the Foundation’s mission and strategic plan. Applications must meet baseline criteria and provide a business plan that includes a plan for repayment. Furthermore, applicants must prove that the request cannot be fully met by existing local capital providers.
We will not seek applicants whose needs can be met by current lenders. Instead, we’re hoping to partner with other lenders as well as seek referrals from them as a way to fill the gap for social impact projects that might have gone unfunded in the past. In fact, we’ve spent a great deal of time communicating this new program to local lenders and nonprofit organizations that work in this genre and the idea has been well received. Finally, the potential investments must build on efforts by the Foundation and/or strategic community stakeholders, and all applications will be subject to a due diligence process.
For more information about the Impact Investing program, call 765-662-0065.