It’s spring and the crocuses are finally peeking through in the garden. I am excited about the prospect of rebirth and regeneration that comes with this season. As I look around, I see some exciting new growth in impact investment opportunities as well. One that caught my eye recently is a press release from Enterprise Community Partners announcing the launch of their Community Impact Note.
Why is this noteworthy and why do I think this bodes well for the spring impact investing season? Well first, I am thrilled to see an industry leader like Enterprise creating a new vehicle to help investors support the development of not only affordable housing – but green affordable housing. I read about the work Enterprise is doing in a Wall Street Journal article last year. Dana Bourland, a Vice President with the Columbia, MD-based nonprofit predicted that the affordable housing industry will be 100% green by 2020. Why? Her answer was “Not only are green buildings better for the environment, but they make better financial sense too ….because they come with lower water and energy bills and lower tenant turnover rates.” An obvious win-win from my perspective!
I should also note that Enterprise had embarked on it’s Green Communities initiative back in 2004 when they “set out to prove that is was possible to bring the health, economic and environmental benefits of green building to low-income communities nationwide.” Over the past five years, the Enterprise Green Communities initiative has invested $700 million to build and preserve nearly 16,000 green affordable homes. But Enterprise has not limited itself just to building green affordable housing; they want to transform local, state and national policies to encourage “a national commitment to healthier, greener affordable homes.”
With the introduction of the Enterprise Community Impact Note – Enterprise has given investors an easy way to put their money where their heart and their values are: investing in green affordable housing and community enhancing projects that also provide a financial return. Having a well established affordable housing developer offer this type of triple-bottom line investment instrument is an important sign that a true marketplace with investor friendly tools is growing in the fertile soil of impact investing. The challenge for many community based lending and investing organizations has been creating an instrument that enables investors to support their work while still meeting the needs of those investors. Enterprise has taken an important step forward with their Note and we at Mission Markets are pleased to spread the word about this innovative new impact investment product.
This new Note offering provides a wonderful new way to finance the supply of green affordable housing that uses environmentally sustainable and safe materials, reduces negative environmental impacts while improving energy efficiency. If you would like to learn more about the terms of this new note – please click here and read the press release. We look forward to seeing what else is growing in the impact investing garden this spring!
– Vicky Stein, Mission Markets Director of Community Investments