Investing in Local Ideas and People
In 2015, Austin Community Foundation announced the launch of its Impact Investment Fund. With challenges and opportunities outpacing grantmaking resources, it was time to expand the ways the Foundation supported solutions for local pressing needs. The Foundation established the Fund to augment the Foundation’s grantmaking and put a greater portion of the organization’s assets to work doing social good in Central Texas than ever before.
The goal of the Impact Investment Fund is to make mission-rich and efficient investments that address the opportunity gap in Central Texas. The Foundation’s first two investments made to People Fund and College Forward totaled $225,000.
PeopleFund provides small business loans, as well as business assistance and education, to people with otherwise limited access to such resources. The group targets minority, women, and veteran business owners and those residing in low to moderate income census tracts. Over 50% of current loans are to startups and non-profit organizations. Through access to capital and educational opportunities, PeopleFund creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people to build healthy small businesses.
Through access to capital and educational opportunities, PeopleFund creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people to build healthy small businesses. The Foundation’s investment goes directly to increase access to capital for local minority, women and veteran business owners.
College Forward is an Austin-based nonprofit providing intensive, culturally-appropriate mentoring programs that propel students from underserved backgrounds to collegiate success and remunerative careers. The Foundation’s investment will help improve student success for 300,000 low-income students nationwide through sale of College Forward’s proprietary student information system designed for use by similar programs across the country. College Forward will invest its net income into its local work with more than 8,000 first-generation college-bound students in Central Texas.
“Through our Impact Investment Fund, the Foundation can put a greater portion of our resources to work than ever before and help close the opportunity gap in Central Texas,” says Mike Nellis. “Impact Investing means we can supplement our traditional grantmaking and recycle philanthropic capital, doing more social good.”