Baltimore Community Foundation announces Invest for More
Today, the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) Investment Committee and its Impact Investment Subcommittee announced Invest for More, a new impact investing program making focused, carefully selected investments into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social impact in our Baltimore region, as well as a financial return. Not only will Invest for More dedicate millions of dollars in BCF’s investment portfolio to local impact, but BCF donors and the general community will have the opportunity to co-invest in the program.
The program was announced during BCF’s annual Investment Briefing by Patti Baum of RBC Wealth Management, Baum Jackson Group, a BCF trustee and chair of BCF’s volunteer Investment Committee and Impact Investing Subcommittee. During the briefing, she explained that BCF is committing up to four percent of its invested assets (BCF’s invested assets total $148 million) to an investment pool dedicated to local impact. BCF is investing its assets through intermediaries in a variety of investment instruments that directly support economic growth and human capital in the Baltimore region.
Impact investing is growing in popularity among funders like community foundations and private family foundations.
Local impact investments are expected to yield a double bottom line: an expected overall financial return of about three percent as well as a social return through the projects supported. The Impact Investing Subcommittee will explore opportunities for local impact investments and make recommendations to the Investment Committee, which will make final decisions on investments. BCF staff and consultants will assist with performing due diligence on the investment opportunities. BCF intends to invest with Community Development Financial Institutions and other intermediaries who have a strong track record of working with borrowers.
“I come from the traditional investment world; I’ve always believed in investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds,” says Patti Baum. “But the traditional foundation model, where our investment committee focuses on returns, and the grants committee separately focuses on grants, is just not enough anymore. It is no longer defensible for our investment strategy to simply seek financial returns and nothing else. To succeed, the Baltimore Community Foundation must use all its resources for the greater good. We cannot simply grant our way out of our problems. The time for urgency is now.”
Invest for More is not just a new investment strategy for BCF’s endowed funds—assets currently invested in a diversified pool. Donors who hold non-endowed funds at BCF, usually held in money market instruments, will also be able to dedicate a portion of their fund’s assets to Invest for More for a period of seven years. That investment will provide a financial return to the donor’s charitable fund while creating local impact through the projects supported by BCF’s local impact investments. At the end of seven years, donors may either renew their commitment to Invest for More or have the assets returned to their charitable fund to be used for donor-advised grantmaking.
The general public is also invited to support Invest for More. Individuals who do not have a charitable fund at BCF but want to support Invest for More can do so through a gift to the Invest for More Fund.
BCF has already begun investing in local projects, including an investment in Enterprise Community Loan Fund to support development of multifamily affordable housing in Baltimore. Enterprise, a Community Development Financial Institution, has a long history of investing in local projects and will deploy Invest for More funds to projects in Baltimore City that align with their mission of creating opportunity for low and moderate income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities.
Invest for More has also invested with Healthy Neighborhoods Inc. in the form of a bridge loan that will help make improvements related to the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative and Project C.O.R.E. grants. Projects supported by this loan will include greening projects throughout the Reservoir Hill neighborhood, design work for the restoration of the historic Emerson Mansion, and design for the expansion of the St Francis Outreach Center. It will also include preparation of a site in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello community for redevelopment.
“Invest for More is a bold, innovative direction for BCF that doubles down on our commitment to investing in Baltimore’s future,” says Laura Gamble, BCF Board of Trustees chair. “As an organization, BCF is committed to its values of being inclusive, entrepreneurial and trustworthy. Invest for More exemplifies the perfect balance of these values: through impact investing, we extend the value of our donor’s charitable funds to invest in trusted, successful local community development financial institutions that are working hard to build a better Baltimore where all have the opportunity to thrive.”
Are you a reporter? For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Andrew Waldman by email or call 410-332-4171.