Mission Related Investing in Greater New Haven

Building a stronger community by creating positive and sustainable social impact through direct investments in for-profit or nonprofit entities

Ripe Liquid Produce created RIPE Craft Juice™ to bring real fresh juice to the market, and to truly connect the farmer to the consumer by using only ingredients that could be traced back to the grower and region. drinkripe.com

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven uses Mission Related Investing (MRI) to make capital available to innovative business ventures and organizations that have the potential to strengthen Greater New Haven. Over the years, and more recently through a separate wholly owned and controlled subsidiary, The Community Foundation Mission Investments Company ("TCF-MIC"), The Foundation has made mission investments in a variety of local for profit and nonprofit enterprises.

About The Community Foundation and MRIs

District Innovation and Venture Center launching an education center for the purpose of building and scaling technology talent and jobs in Connecticut as a means of economic development. districtnhv.com

Why does The Foundation offer MRIs?

Philanthropic dollars can often bridge the gap between the community's need for capital for important and emerging projects and what the private market will provide. MRIs pave the way for other investors by evaluating both community and financial returns, and by conducting due diligence on opportunities that the private market might not otherwise consider due to size, scale or perceived risk. MRIs are a logical extension of work The Foundation has been doing for many years with donors, nonprofits, and local entrepreneurs to strengthen our community. Depending on the circumstances and the anticipated community impact, The Foundation expects a positive return on its portfolio of MRI investments. However, some investments may be structured with a below-market or even nominal rate of return. MRI investments are made in a variety of forms, including equity, debt, loan guarantees and other market instruments.

The Foundation also has a Nonprofit Loan Pool Fund as part of its MRI Program. The Nonprofit Loan Pool provides loans to local nonprofits for the purchase, expansion or renovation of property and equipment, or for working capital during low cash flow periods.

How does The Foundation do MRI work?

The Foundation has created a wholly owned and controlled subsidiary to carry out the MRI work, known as The Community Foundation Mission Investments Company LLC ("TCF-MIC"). Foundation CEO Will Ginsberg serves ex-officio as Chair of the TCF-MIC Board, and Foundation CFO Drew Alden serves as the President and CEO of TCF-MIC.

Sea Greens Farms to support the growing regenerative ocean farming economy and make a positive impact on our communities and environment. seagreensfarms.com

Fitscript to provide solutions to the global market for safe and effective diabetes exercise; products and services developed by people living with diabetes. fitscript.com

What are the goals for MRIs?

TCF-MIC seeks to engage and support the diversity of people, ideas, and opportunities in our 20 town regions by:

  • Investing in smaller, existing and new/early stage for-profit business ventures, with priority for women-owned and minority-owned entrepreneurial ventures as a way of advancing inclusive growth;
  • To offer loans or loan guarantees to nonprofit organizations, either directly or through intermediaries;
  • Expand opportunities for co-investment with Foundation donors and other community partners;
  • Engage with intermediaries to strengthen neighborhood and local community engagement, to provide access to MRI resources in the already existing entrepreneurial ecosystem, and to facilitate the offering of complementary business services to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

What resources does The Foundation use for MRIs?

In addition to a small portion of The Foundation's discretionary endowment that has been set aside for MRIs, local private foundations and individual donor advisors and donors are funding MRIs through TCF-MIC.

How can a donor advised fund (DAF) invest in the Nonprofit Loan Pool?

Donors can transfer $25,000 or more from their existing DAF to a pool that will make loans to local nonprofits. The Pool will consider two kinds of loans:

  1. 5-7 year loans for the purchase, expansion, or renovation of property or equipment. Including energy efficiency improvements
  2. short-term working capital loans to help nonprofits make it through low cash flow periods.

Loans may be made directly to local nonprofits and through experienced intermediaries called Community Development Financial Institutions ("CDFI"). Pool loans through a CDFI may have a return of 2-3%. Loans made directly to nonprofits will likely have a similar expected return, but the risks of these loans may be higher due to single-entity concentration.

When the terms of the Pool are completed, donors can choose to have funds (with any interest earned) returned to the DAF or have them redeployed into the Pool to make additional new loans to local nonprofits.

If you are interested in learning about DAF co-investing opportunities, please contact Dotty Weston-Murphy.

What investments has The Foundation made?

Over the years, and more recently through TCF-MIC, The Foundation has made mission investments in a variety of local for profit and nonprofit enterprises totaling more than $12 Million.

Sample MRIs
Project Transaction Type Partners Project Type
First Niagara Home Ownership Fund Forgivable loan for home ownership NAACP; Neighborhood Housing Service; local financial institutions Support for local homeownership
Fitscript Convertible loan Connecticut Innovations; local investors Job creation with diabetes management company
Freshbev (RIPE Juice) Convertible loan A local foundation funding partner Job creation with natural juice company
District Innovation and Venture Center Term loan Elm City Innovation Collaborative; CTNext; Comcast/NBC Universal; CT Dept. of Economic and Community Development Job training and skill building to create a labor market that fuels economic growth
GDDC - Dwight Plaza Term loan Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Start Community Bank Food distribution by community development corporation
Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund (now Capital for Change) Low-interest loan Revolving loan pool for local organizations
Green Wave/Sea Greens Convertible loan Connecticut Innovations; Patagonia; TrueNorth; Partners Job creation with green, sustainable food production
Mutual Housing Low-interest loan FleetBank Community Reinvestment Funds Capital for housing
Neighborhood Housing Low-interest loan FleetBank Community Reinvestment Funds Capital for housing
Neighborhood Music School Loan guaranty Capital for Change Credit enhancement

What should you do if you have an idea or project that needs investment or would like partner with The Foundation on its MRI work?

For more information or potential partnerships, contact A.F. Drew Alden or Arthur Thomas.