What Does it Mean to Age Strong?
By Candace Baldwin, Director of Strategy, Aging in Community
Making a community a great place to live and work while also supporting the needs of low-income and vulnerable older adults is difficult. It takes patience, planning, and a group effort.
With this goal in mind, Capital Impact Partners joined with the AARP Foundation and Calvert Foundation to create the Age Strong initiative. Our goal? To build a first of its kind program that enables all of us – whether individuals or retail operators or philanthropic enterprise – to support strong and vibrant communities that can help low-and-moderate income individuals who are 50 and older to age with dignity, independence, and security.
The need is clear. The number of Americans over 65 will double in the next 25 years, and more services will be required to fulfill their needs. This necessity for an increase in services creates a unique opportunity for forward thinking investors, developers, entrepreneurs, and facility operators to be out in front of this issue. The time is now. Changes in health care reform provide opportunities for shared value across sectors spurning new models of delivery and enterprise. Age Strong was built to facilitate the success of these groups.
What I also find exciting is both the simplicity of the program and its alignment with other socially conscious impact investing initiatives. The growing impact investing sphere is based on investments made by individuals or organizations into companies, organizations, and funds. The intention of these investments is to generate a beneficial social or environmental impact in addition to a financial return. Here’s how the Age Strong program works:
1. For as low as $20.00, anyone can invest in a trusted fixed-income investment similar to a bond through the Age Strong website managed by The Calvert Foundation
2. Your investments are pooled to support the loan fund run by Capital Impact Partners which provides financing to enterprises that deliver services and products to low-income people over 50.
3. Those enterprises repay their loans, and you receive principal and interest payments.
We’ve taken a broad view to ensure that we can support any enterprise that benefits low-income, 50+ adults. As such, the types of projects that we can provide loans to include those that create affordable housing, increase access to healthy foods, improve financial security, and offer more community-oriented models of long-term care.
Interest in the program has proven strong and two deals illustrating the breadth of the program were finalized in the past months.
ShopRite: In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, our $3.5 million transaction will help the ShopRite stores of Parkside and Haverford expand their offerings to better serve the large, low-income elderly populations in the surrounding community. Subsidiaries of Brown’s Super Stores, Inc., these stores are on the cutting edge of how to create age-friendly communities by integrating multiple services in one location. This includes access to fresh and healthy foods, as well as healthcare, pharmacy, and financial services where those services are not readily available.
GreenHouse® of Akron, CO: In Colorado, which has one of the fastest growing aging populations in the U.S., our $2.2 million loan will replace an outdated traditional nursing facility with a radically new, national model for skilled nursing care called Green House homes. These homes are designed from the ground up to look and feel like a house rather than an institutional care setting, returning control, dignity, and a sense of well-being to elders and their families, while providing high-quality, personalized care. Approximately 60 percent of the residents of this new facility are low-income people covered by Medicaid.
Innovative ideas abound for how to better meet the needs of our aging population, and it is our goal as a mission-aligned lender to ensure that good projects get the financing they need.
I encourage you to visit our Age Strong fund page to learn more about the specifics of the financing and terms we can offer.