This blog also appears on the Engage R + D blog. You can find it here.
How can foundation dollars be more powerful in a time of crisis? As COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact communities that have long experienced economic disinvestment, many are asking how to leverage philanthropic funding differently for more immediate impact and greater social good. One solution comes in the form of impact investing, which includes a range of financial tools for both individuals and institutions seeking to do greater good with their dollars. While impact investing is not new, it is a powerful tool that many foundations seek to better understand and that remains relatively underused in philanthropy. ,
Grants vs. PRIs: What’s the Difference?
Grants are most foundations’ bread and butter. They support a foundation’s charitable mission and are limited to 501(c)3 tax-exempt organizations. Grants do not require repayment.
PRIs are an IRS designation that allow private foundations to make charitable, mission-aligned investments. These investments typically take the form of low-cost financing and loans, which require repayment within a specified time. While many require a return or accrue interest, they are not expected to produce market-rate returns.
By Nicole Boone, Business Development Officer
Boyle Heights is a bustling Latino neighborhood just east of downtown Los Angeles with a history dating back before the Mexican-American War. However, it’s the pressures of the present day that weigh heavily here. Approximately 66 percent of the population lives below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, 22 percent are uninsured, and few primary care doctors remain. The systemic poverty the residents grapple with creates ripple effects throughout their lives.
By Virginie Arnaud LePape, Senior Director, Lending
In 1982, Capital Impact was created with a single focus – support the development of cooperatives in underserved communities.
Charter schools create opportunities for innovation that drive academic success for students in underserved communities.
Along the way, we gradually expanded our scope to meet the growing needs of the communities we served by working to increase access to health care, education, housing, and healthy food.
A handful of loans slowly grew into a truly diversified portfolio of offerings as we took the risk to partner with those organizations that traditional financial institutions shied away from. Twenty-five years after we began lending in 1984, we hit an incredible milestone of deploying $1 billion into low- and medium-income communities across the country.
I am humbled that just eight years after that initial milestone, we more than doubled that achievement by deploying more than $2.5 billion through the end of our record-breaking efforts in 2017.
It is a true testament to our mission-driven team for living our mission statement by delivering both the capital AND commitment that enables those most in need to build communities of opportunity that break barriers to success.
While we pause to celebrate, we also know that we must increase our resolve. Too many of us continue to struggle, with a disproportionate impact on people of color.
To help solve the key social and racial justice issues facing our society, we must continue to make inroads in achieving our strategic pillars to address systemic poverty, create equity, build healthy communities, and promote inclusive growth.
Innovative health care models support older adults to age with dignity in their communities.
This requires supporting our lending work by deploying new and innovative programs backed by cutting-edge research; making the case for support from lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels; amplifying our impact investing efforts with both individuals and large institutions; and forming partnerships that ensure that our solutions are grounded in what communities both need and can act on.
We did not get to this point alone, and for that I want to thank all of those who have supported us, as well as those organizations who are working directly with often-neglected communities every day to deliver the services they need to thrive.
By working together, I know that we can empower communities to achieve transformative progress in 2018 and beyond.