What is impact investing and why does it matter?
The Lancaster County Community Foundation is joining an increasing number of private and community foundations across the nation by making impact investments in Lancaster County. This March, the Community Foundation invested $500,000 into two local organizations with the goal of generating both a financial and social return. The practice of impact investing is gaining traction and yielding success across the country.
Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) and Community First Fund each received a $250,000 impact loan from the Lancaster County Community Foundation. LHOP will use the capital to further home-buying and neighborhood revitalization work in the southwest of Lancaster City (SOWE) while Community First Fund will continue to provide capital to underserved populations to start or expand local businesses. Both organizations will generate positive social impact in our local community and each will return 1- 3% interest to the Community Foundation.
“Impact investing is an exciting and rapidly growing industry powered by investors who are determined to generate social and environmental impact as well as financial returns,” according to CNN Money reporting. Officially defined, “Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.” – Global Impact Investing Network. (GIIN)
Strategically, the Community Foundation looks for opportunities to cultivate inclusive and equitable practices including areas like affordable housing and creation of thriving-wage jobs. “We have proven long-term relationships with both LHOP and Community First Fund,” explained Wayne Groff, VP of Finance at the Community Foundation. “Our grants to these organizations have catalyzed very effective work in both housing and economic development. The introduction of impact loans allows us a distinctive approach to continue local impact while also generating an ongoing financial return that we can reinvest in Lancaster County.”
National examples continue to offer best practices and provide a growing body of expertise and inspiration. The Lancaster County Community Foundation is learning directly about the most leading-edge approaches as part of a national cohort with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) with a goal of increasing impact investments in Lancaster County.
“A thriving Lancaster community means that public, private, and philanthropic sectors are all deeply engaged in finding local solutions,” explains Sam Bressi, CEO. “Leveraging the power of the private sector to join forces in generating positive momentum is a key to our shared future success.”Back to All News