March 2019 Newsletter
Catching the Impact Investing Bug:
How Place-Based Impact Investing Spreads
This month, Travis Green, LOCUS Solutions Consultant, discusses how and why place-based impact investing "catches" between philanthropic institutions.
While working with a group of community foundations taking leadership on clean energy, a Michigan nonprofit leader named John Kinch introduced me to the idea of the solar contagion . The idea: increasing the number of households with solar panels in a community increases the likelihood that other neighboring households will also install solar panels. Research over the decade seems to confirm the phenomenon and shows it goes beyond households to include institutional and business energy users.
It’s a neat theory, but what’s most intriguing is that it’s a theory that offers guidance to practitioners on how to use limited resources for maximum impact. Applying the solar contagion to practice, clean energy advocates intentionally subsidize solar installations with tax credits or grants until other households, institutions and businesses become more likely to install solar panels with lower subsidies.
The solar contagion theory grows out of a larger set of economic research around social contagion where behaviors by market participants influence the actions of peers. Those of us working in place-based impact investing, I believe, may be witnessing a place-based impact investing contagion among foundations ....–  Read More On Our Blog
News From the Opportunity Zone
Recently, there have been several important Opportunity Zone updates. First, The US Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University released guidelines defining best practices for Opportunity Fund managers seeking positive outcomes in distressed communities, The Opportunity Zones Reporting Framework .

The US Treasury held a public hearing on February 14 on the first round of draft Opportunity Zone regulations released in October. The hearing saw input from economic development groups, small businesses, community reinvestment coalitions, and other stakeholders on the proposed rules. The hearing, originally scheduled for January, was delayed due to the partial government shutdown, and offered one of the earliest opportunities for input on potential Opportunity Zone regulations.

The Trump administration announced the creation of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council tasked with streamlining federal funding and resource direction, including Opportunity Zones, to low income communities. The council will be led by the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson.

Finally, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s interactive map on Opportunity Zones went live. The tool catalogs contact information for each Virginia local government with an Opportunity Zone designation.

In other opportunity zone news, an article from Fuse Corps examines a common criticism of Opportunity Zones, the potential for gentrification, and posits how philanthropic organizations can play a role to benefit communities and avoid possible negative impacts.
LOCUS FOCUS
Winter Innovation Summit . Financial Strategist Adam Northup represented LOCUS at the Winter Innovation Summit hosted by Sorenson Impact Center , including as a panelist on Opportunity Zones in rural areas.The keynote speaker, Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, CA, centered his remarks on Opportunity Zones and the need to focus the new tax instrument on crafting beneficial community outcomes. See the summit agenda here .
Partner Spotlight
The Waco Foundation partnered with LOCUS Impact Investing to make its first impact investment, a partial loan guarantee, to a local nonprofit small dollar loan fund which served as an alternative to more costly payday lenders in the region.
Spark 2019. Travis Green, LOCUS Solutions Consultant, gave a presentation on Transfer of Wealth alongside Mark Brewer , President and CEO of Central Florida Foundation , at Florida Philanthropic Network’s 2019 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy .
Together, they provided an overview of the 2018 national Transfer of Wealth report produced by The Chronicle of Philanthropy with analysis provided by LOCUS, " $9 Trillion and Counting ,” and profiled how community foundations have developed strategies to capture the wealth documented in the report for their communities. See the summit agenda here .
News From the Field
The Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University released a new report “ 11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2019 .” The report explores growing movements in philanthropy that blur the borders between traditional sectors, such as philanthropy and business, to find innovative solutions. – Read More
Arabella Advisors published a report, " An Economy For All: How Philanthropy Can Unlock Capital for Women Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurs of Color ," exploring how foundations, philanthropists, and impact investors can begin recognizing biases faced by women and minority entrepreneurs and address capital access challenges faced by those groups through impact investing. – Read More
Healthcare Anchor Network member CommonSpirit Health committed a $1.2 million bridge loan to help fund a stalled affordable housing project in San Bernadino, CA. The action is part of CommonSpirit’s participation in the Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities initiative, a project that designs interventions to improve the community investment system. – Read More
Another Healthcare Anchor Network member, Geisinger , will provide a $300K forgivable, interest-free loan to fund the start of a high-speed broadband internet access project in Montour County, PA. The project aims to service 90% of the county’s population. – Read More
An article in Stanford Social Innovation Review , “ How to Use Donor-Advised Funds to Make Impact Investments ,” examines how DAFs are opportunities to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. – Read More
Where You'll Find the LOCUS Team
March 10-14 Petaluma, CA
Travis Green will participate (Private Event).
April 2-4 Athens, OH
Deb Markley will participate.
April 7 Auburn, AL
Teri Lovelace is a speaker.
April 28-May St. Helena Island, SC
Deb Markley will participate (Private Event).
April 29-May 1 Miami, FL
Teri Lovelace is a speaker.
May 1-2 Philadelphia, PA
LOCUS Board Member Cathy Dolan will participate.
June 13-14 Washington, DC
Members of the LOCUS team will participate.
July 15-17 Cleveland, OH
LOCUS team members will participate.
Oct. 27-29 Wichita, KS
Members of the LOCUS team will host a session during the event.
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LOCUS Capital, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor Firm. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where LOCUS Capital, Inc. and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. LOCUS Capital, Inc. and its representatives do not furnish investment advice or services through this website. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.