NEW YORK, N.Y. - Backed by guarantee commitments from 10 philanthropic organizations across the United States and a large health care system, the Community Investment Guarantee Pool (the Pool) announced its formation. Guarantees are unfunded commitments from an organization’s endowment that offer risk mitigation. The Pool, with guarantee commitments totaling $33.1 million, is a new tool for community development finance and the first of its kind in the U.S. It is expected to catalyze more than $150 million in new community investments in small businesses, climate and affordable housing.
LOCUS Impact Investing (LOCUS), a subsidiary of Virginia Community Capital, a nonprofit community development financial institution with $413 million in assets under management, will serve as the program manager working with the investors, underwriting guarantee commitments as well as monitoring and managing the portfolio for both impact and risk.
“Through the tool of guarantees, socially motivated investors can leverage their balance sheets without requiring current liquidity to create a backstop and help minimize risk, allowing more traditional capital to feel comfortable putting their dollars into community investments.” LOCUS President Teri Lovelace said. “Using guarantees, the Pool will ensure deeper community impact, impact that includes diversity, equity and inclusion across small business, affordable housing and climate investing. We’re excited to get the first guarantees made and start capital flowing to meet critical community development needs.”
The Kresge Foundation incubated the Pool prior to its formal launch. In 2017, Kresge commissioned a study on the use of guarantees by impact investing and philanthropic organizations through the Global Impact Investing Network. It found that while many organizations had an interest in using guarantees as an additional impact investing tool, they did not always have the skills, knowledge or capacity to take on highly customized transactions.
The study and subsequent focus groups revealed a need for an intermediary who could create efficiencies, centralize a source of credit enhancement and accelerate community investments without requiring current liquidity.
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