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A bold new way to invest in the community
What is Impact Investing?
Unlike traditional investing strategies, impact investments have the potential for double returns – positive, measurable social and environmental impact and financial returns. Further, unlike traditional philanthropic grants that are not repaid, with impact investments there is a recycling of philanthropic capital that can be invested into new projects. The process can be repeated over and over creating a cycle of good.
How is OCF Making Impact Investments Locally?
Launched in 2020, the Omaha Community Foundation’s Community Loan Fund makes impact investments structured as flexible, affordable loans to local nonprofits. Currently, loans are focused on assisting local small business owners in marginalized communities and addressing one of our community’s most basic needs: affordable housing. We focus on making loans to local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are mission-driven financial institutions providing financing, technical assistance, and training to underserved communities.
To date, the Community Loan Fund has invested $1.93 million in Greater Omaha and Southwest Iowa, making loans to the following nonprofit organizations:
- Nebraska Enterprise Fund
- Native360 Loan Fund
- Midwest Housing Development Fund
- Grameen America
- Spark Capital
- 712 Initiative
For additional information see the Community Loan Fund 2021 Annual Portfolio Monitoring Report.
Our loan to Grameen America supports this nonprofit in helping under-resourced entrepreneurial women build businesses to enable financial mobility. For example, Maria is a mother of two who came to Omaha from Honduras looking for more opportunities for her family. Maria opened a restaurant, Sabor Catracho, located on south 24th St., specializing in Latin American favorites.
Unfortunately, Maria faced numerous challenges with the onset of COVID-19. Maria was referred to Grameen America, a local nonprofit microlender, that provided her with financing, training, and peer-to-peer coaching to support her business.
Maria’s restaurant quickly rebounded, and she recently hired two new employees with Grameen’s help to support growth. Maria’s credit has also improved, and she now has a savings account where she sets aside money for emergencies and a family vacation to Honduras.
“Grameen America has changed my life so much,” said Maria. “I am living the best version of my life right now, and it is all thanks to the support I’ve gotten from the program.”
How Can You Invest?
The Community Loan Fund is an enduring source of capital for the community and investments and grants are critical to its success. There are two ways to participate:
1. Make a Grant (No minimum)
Anyone can support the Community Loan Fund with a donation.
2. Make an Investment ($25,000 minimum)
OCF fundholders can invest in the Community Loan Fund using a Donor Advised Fund. The investment is allocated from the Donor Advised Fund’s existing investment program to the Community Loan Fund for a 7 year commitment term. At the end of the term, the investment, plus interest less any losses, is allocated back to the Donor Advised Fund and again available to the OCF fundholder for grantmaking.
Many OCF fundholders find that investing in the Community Loan Fund is a complement to their traditional grantmaking strategy. For example, we invite you to hear from Janine, an OCF fundholder who — motivated by her desire to see others succeed – decided now was the time to make an impact by investing in the Community Loan Fund.
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