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 underserved sectors of society.

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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 Payday 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
  • .3% to 1.8%
  • Minimum two-year term
  • Choice from a variety of community banks/credit unions
  • Choice of community organization based on geography and/or issue

Promissory Notes

  • .5% to 4% interest rate
  • Minimum two-year term
  • Choice from a variety of community loan funds
  • Choice of community organization based on geography and/or issue

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. It should not be assumed that investments in securities mentioned have been or will be profitable. The information contained herein is not a complete summary or statement of all available data.  This piece is for informational purposes and should not be construed as a research report.

Name Type Geography Borrower/Community Impact
Boston Community Loan Fund Loan Fund MA Affordable housing, housing development, and community development
Chicago Community Loan Fund Loan Fund IL Low-cost technical assistance to CDCs, affordable housing, and community development
Coastal Enterprises Loan Fund ME, NY Low-cost technical assistance to small business, affordable housing, and community development
Cooperative Fund of New England Loan Fund New England, NY Loans and investments for local cooperatives, businesses, non-profits, and affordable housing
Genesis Fund Loan Fund ME Development of community facilities and affordable housing for underserved individuals
Hope Community Credit Union Credit Union U.S. Gulf Coast Business development and neighborhood revitalization programs
MCE Social Capital Loan Fund International Loan guarantees to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) for women and individuals in rural areas
Mercy Loan Fund Loan Fund U.S. Affordable housing and housing development
Root Capital Loan Fund Latin America Financial training and capital for small-scale rural agricultural producers (e.g. family farmers, local fishermen)
Self-Help Credit Union Credit Union U.S., NC branches Affordable financial services for minorities and women, rural residents, and low-income families
Vermont Community Loan Fund Loan Fund VT Affordable housing, community facilities, and small microbusinesses

 

Learn more about our Community Impact Investments here.

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