Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
–excerpt from The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus
At Reinvestment Fund, the essence of our work is to build social cohesion and restore community fabric. This past week, we witnessed ghastly events fueled by division and hate—experiences that are fundamentally antithetical to our values. These challenging events underscore that our friendships, alliances and shared support is more important now than ever before.
Let us all build a New Colossus for these times, a beacon of welcome and acceptance for all. We urge everyone connected to our work to redouble their commitment to building a just and equitable society. Push back on those that spew vitriol and bigotry. Don’t let these events demoralize you. Join us—stand up and defend love, name falsehoods of all kinds and be tireless in those pursuits.
– Reinvestment Fund (Read the full statement on our website.)
The community development field has long relied on public, philanthropic, and socially minded donors and investors, but with Reinvestment Fund second general obligation bond issuance, we continue to demonstrate the value of our financial as well as our social returns. With the close of a AA- rated, $75.6 million bond issuance—purchased by financial services firm TIAA-CREF, QBE Insurance, and others—we are demonstrating that public markets can be used to address our greatest social challenges.
Our first issuance supported over a dozen projects from Los Angeles to New Orleans and Philadelphia, providing healthy food access, health care, housing and educational opportunities, creating community anchors and repurposing blighted properties. Our approach to connecting public markets to impact investments earned Reinvestment Fund the Global Impact Asset Manager of the Year award from the Global Social Impact Investment Steering Group last year.
The newly opened Rose Collaborative campus in New Orleans’ 7th Ward received financing through our last GO Bond. The building now houses the city’s only year-round professional theater, as well as the Waldorf School of New Orleans, which will double its enrollment, including students from the surrounding neighborhood where 40% of families live in poverty.
“The demand for socially responsible outcomes for underinvested communities is strong and unwavering.” –President & CEO Don Hinkle-Brown
Policy Solutions was proud to embark on a new national study with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Social Impact of the Arts Project at Penn, and HR&A Advisors, of the conditions under which museums and libraries contribute to quality of life and wellbeing in the communities they serve. Learn more.
Reinvestment Fund financing is supporting a new 95,000-square-foot LEED certified project near 60th and Market Street in West Philadelphia. The project will transform a currently vacant lot into a mixed-use facility that includes neighborhood retail, quality early childhood education, and the headquarters of Horizon House, a regional behavioral health provider. This transit accessible development is expected to reverse disinvestment along the west Market Street corridor and bring over 220 jobs.
Impact investors can support projects like New Market West by making an investment through the PhilaImpact Fund, a partnership with the Philadelphia Foundation that offers an opportunity for investors to channel their capital into neighborhood development projects that support regional growth and local initiatives in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Learn more.
Reinvestment Fund financing is helping CASA de Maryland renovate the vacant, historic Belnord Theater to create a new Regional Education and Employment Center for their services in Southeast Baltimore.
The new center will enable CASA to significantly expand their workforce and youth development programming, coupled with wraparound services and supports for the city’s immigrant and minority residents. It will also serve as a hub for multi-racial youth educational and leadership development programs.
CASA provides employment placement, workforce development and training, health education, and citizenship and legal services. It also offers financial, language, and literacy training to Latino and immigrant communities throughout the state and, including recent expansions, in northern Virginia and central Pennsylvania.
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission recently awarded its Plan, Planning Policy or Ordinance award to the City of Bethlehem’s Better Blight Initiative. Reinvestment Fund is proud to have worked with May 8 Consulting and the City to develop the plan.
Despite gains over the past decade, limited access to healthy food continues to affect residents of both urban and rural communities across the United States—which is why Reinvestment Fund recently updated its Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) analysis. According to the 2018 update, 17.6 million people (5.6% of the population) live in LSA areas, a decrease of 3.1 million people (or 15%) from 2010.
The data is accessible for free through the PolicyMap platform. The 2018 update shows that while access to healthy food in the United States overall has improved over the last decade, progress has not been even in all areas. For example, Maine and Nevada had substantial increases in their LSA populations from 2010 to 2016, and Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are states where LSA areas are most disproportionately located in low-income areas and communities of color.
In Impact Alpha, CEO Don Hinkle-Brown and Policy Solutions President Ira Goldstein argue that opportunity zones can be used to further expand access to fresh food. Equity from opportunity zone investments could be a significant boost to sparking new grocery locations in underserved communities. Nationally, 2.8 million people live in LSA areas that are located in designated Opportunity Zones.
CEO Don Hinkle-Brown and Chief of Strategic Initiatives Amanda High participated in this year’s global summit for impact investors in New Delhi, India, which convened 900 impact leaders from over 50 countries. Hinkle-Brown was part of expert roundtable on boosting the number and capacity of impact investment intermediaries.