Delivering Sustainable Investments Since 1982SM

Community Impact Investing

In 1984, Trillium facilitated our clients’ first community impact investments to a community loan fund that helped low-income residents of a manufactured home park form a cooperative and buy the park from their landlord.

Since then, Trillium has helped our clients make community impact investments domestically and on five continents. These investments are typically directed to domestic and international non-profit loan funds as well as community development banks and credit unions that help provide a flow of capital to historically under-served sectors of society. We are proud to be one of only a few active investment management firms that are a part of the Social Investment Forum’s “1% in Community” campaign.


Photo courtesy New Hampshire Community Loan Fund

Community impact investing provides our clients with the opportunity to support community economic development, revitalization, growth, and sustainability. Many investors choose to allocate a portion of their overall portfolio holdings to this high social impact asset class. Community investments are customized for each client, and can be targeted both geographically and by area of interest. These areas include:

  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Low Income Housing
  • Job Creation and Retention
  • Native American Community Development
  • Financial Services as an Alternative to Predatory Pay-Day Lenders
  • Community Economic Development
  • International Development
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Childcare

Trillium helps our clients participate in community impact investing by facilitating selection and administration of investments primarily with two types of vehicles: certificates of deposit and promissory notes.

Certificates of Deposit

  • Federally insured
  • Choice of market rate or below
  • Minimum two year term
  • Choice from a variety of community banks/credit unions
  • Choice of CD based on geography and/or issues

Promissory Notes

  • .5% to 3% interest rate
  • Minimum two year term
  • Choice from a variety of community loan funds
  • Choice of organization based on geography and/or issues

These investments provide much needed capital to help finance a wide range of products and services, including responsible mortgage financing and re-financing for homeowners, financing for needed community facilities, commercial loans and investments to start or expand small business, loans to rehabilitate rental housing, and financial services needed by low-income households and local businesses.

In addition, community development banks, credit unions, and loan funds provide services — such as technical assistance to small businesses and credit counseling — that help ensure that credit is used effectively.

While each investment poses unique risks, promissory notes issued by loan funds and non-profit organizations generally pose special risks by their nature. Typically, they involve an uncollateralized and uninsured promise to pay. The issuer’s only obligation is to repay the principal at maturity with interest payable at stated times. The promissory notes are not securities registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sample Investments

Below is a list of CD’s and Promissory Notes that are subject to the risks described above. The securities do not represent a complete list nor do they represent a recommendation to buy or sell these investments.

Name Type Geography Borrower/Community Impact
Accion International Loan Fund International Creating microbanks, training for microentrepreneurs
Boston Community Loan Fund Loan Fund MA Affordable housing, housing development, community development
Chicago Community Loan Fund Loan Fund IL Free or low-cost technical assistance to CDC’s, affordable housing, community development
Coastal Enterprises Loan Fund ME, NY Low-cost techinical asssistance to small business, affordable housing, community development
Cooperative Fund of New England Loan Fund New England, NY Local, socially conscious business
First national Oweesta Corporation Loan Fund Native American Community, including AK & HI Assists with technical assistance, training, community development, investments and loans
Hope Community Credit Union Credit Union Gulf Coast of U.S. Business development and neighborhood revitalization programs
Institute for Community Economics Loan Fund U.S. with concentration in New England Affordable housing, housing development, community development
Lakota Fund Loan Fund Pine Ridge Reservation, SD Micro-enterprise to Native American population
Mercy Loan Fund Loan Fund U.S. Affordable housing, housing development
Root Capital Loan Fund Latin America Small-scale rural producers (e.g., family farmers & small-scale fishermen)
Self-Help Credit Union Credit Union U.S. with branches in NC Reaches underserved by conventional lenders – particularly minorities, women, rural residents, and low-wealth families
Shared Interest Loan Fund South Africa Supports credit for communities marginalized by apartheid
Vermont Community Loan Fund Loan Fund VT Affordable housing, community facilities, small and microbusiness

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