April 2019 Newsletter
Modern Philanthropy Through Impact Investing:
Non-Traditional Philanthropy in Action
This month, Cathy Berry of The Sandy River Charitable Foundation shares her organization's impact investing journey.
Cathy Berry is a board member of The Sandy River Charitable Foundation , a small, family foundation based in Farmington, Maine created by her Grandfather in lieu of passing on money to his heirs. Founded in 1997, the Foundation supports the physical, social, and spiritual well-being of its neighbors, whether close to home or farther afield, with an eye toward helping people help themselves. Cathy is also Managing Director at Baldwin Investment Management . We sat down to talk to her about the Foundation’s decision to go into impact investing.
Philanthropy is motivated by the desire to make the world a better place. For my family, The Sandy River Charitable Foundation has always been about strengthening rural communities, supporting traditional farming, and nurturing a deeper appreciation of the balance required to sustain life. We initially started with grant making and traditional investing, with an eye to moving into impact investing. It quickly became clear to us that many of our grantees would benefit from extra capital, whether in the form of a revolving loan fund or direct investment in a project to get it off the ground. This led us to providing investment dollars to CEI in their funds and to get a couple of their investment projects off the ground, to Accion’s microfinance program and other projects, helping World Vision launch a micro finance fund and other grantee led projects. In other words, using our endowment to invest in both non-profit and for-profit ventures to catalyze economic development and social change – as a natural extension of our grantmaking . In the last two years, we’ve expanded this to include investing directly in for profit companies. Impact investing is a new way for philanthropy to do what it’s always done to improve the world.
Our mission and approach won’t change regardless of whether it’s a grant, loan, or equity investment. We still need to see a shared vision, work with established partners, and see that they have capable staff who can do the job better than we can. In 1997 when we made our first grant, we had no preconceived ideas about what we were supposed to do. People ask us how we knew to do this, we didn’t; it just made sense to us. Along the way we came to see impact investing as a powerful tool – albeit one that’s forced us to develop new skills, processes, and relationships with those we invest in – which more effectively advances our founding mission. Read More
LOCUS is grateful to have friends like Cathy at The Sandy River Charitable Foundation, and we thank her for sharing their story.
Opportunity Zone Updates
While the bill establishing Opportunity Zones has no requirements that fund investments demonstrate positive impact, The Kresge Foundation is anchoring two funds with the stipulation that managers measure and track their impact. This is hopefully the start of a trend to ensure positive social returns in Opportunity Zone developments.

Village Capital founder Ross Baird announced the formation of Blueprint Local , an initiative looking to rebuild local communities by bringing together stakeholders using Opportunity Funds.

Adam Northup of LOCUS and Virginia Community Capital stressed the need for Opportunity Zones to benefit communities in an article from the American Banker .

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson revealed in an interview with The Real Deal that HUD would give added weight to proposed affordable developments located in Opportunity Zones to spur construction in those areas.
Capacities for Place-Based Impact Investing. LOCUS President Teri Lovelace wrote an article for GreenMoney Journal on the capacities foundations need to build as they step into place-based impact investing. In it, she described the skills that foundations need to develop in order to launch successful place-based impact investing programs: the ability to EXPLORE opportunities; UNLOCK assets for investing; and effectively DEPLOY investment dollars. – Read More
Community Foundation Peer Learning. LOCUS and the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group launched the pilot cohort of the Kansas Community Philanthropy Innovators Network (CPIN) in Wichita on March 6-8, 2019. Initiated by the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) , this pilot CPIN cohort engages four community teams set by a local community foundation. Teams included staff and board members of the community foundation plus community partners such as local economic development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, business owners, local health, recreation and utility agencies. The four foundations – Coffeyville Area Community Foundation , Hutchinson Community Foundation , Norton County Community Foundation , and Topeka Community Foundation – are committed to engaging in community and economic development, innovating and using new tools, such as local impact investments, to improve community, business and family outcomes. Watch out for more peer learning updates from KHF and LOCUS in the coming weeks.
Partner Spotlight
The Kansas Health Foundation has a history of philanthropic innovation. Their new initiative includes the launch of the Kansas Community Investment Fund , with NetWork Kansas .
Energy Savings for Common Good. LOCUS’ parent company VCC is partnering with Commons Energy to bring sustainable energy sources and cost savings to community-oriented buildings with a public purpose. For municipal and community buildings, healthcare facilities, schools and educational centers, and affordable housing projects considering implementing energy-improvement projects, VCC and Commons Energy will offer an energy and risk assessment, technical assistance, and financing. – Learn More
Charities Pursuing Planned Gifts . A new article in Chronicle of Philanthropy examines how charities are exploring strategies to encourage planned giving. A collaborative report between LOCUS Impact Investing and the Chronicle reveals that close to $9 trillion in assets is expected to flow from estates by 2027. The report, “ $9 Trillion and Counting ,” reveals that capturing just 5% of that for philanthropy could unlock $441 billion for initiatives like place-based impact investing.
News From the Field
The MacArthur Foundation , in conjunction with The Rockefeller Foundation and Omidyar Network launched the Catalytic Capital Consortium , a $150 million initiative to help address capital gaps in impact investing. – Read More
Stanford Social Innovation Review and Mission Investors Exchange (MIE) launched a new series, “ How Foundations are Using Impact Investing to Advance Racial Equity ,” that features voices from ten foundations that are using impact investing programs to tackle racial equity. – Read More
Center for Community Investment (CCI) released three briefs diving deep into its three tiered-capital absorption framework used to unlock investments in communities. The three briefs each include: “ Defining Shared Priorities ,” “ Identifying, Analyzing, and Executing a Pipeline ,” and “ Strengthening the Enabling Environment .” – Read More
CCI also announced the names of six hospitals participating in its “ Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities ” initiative. The initiative is designed advance affordable housing as a way to create healthier communities. – Read More
An article from Community Wealth highlights how student led fossil fuel divestment campaigns can catalyze community investments. – Read More
Where You'll Find the LOCUS Team
April 8 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. Sydney England and LOCUS Board Member Sherry Magill will participate.
May 1 Kansas City, MO
Adam Northup is a speaker.
May 1-2 Philadelphia, PA
LOCUS Board Member Cathy Dolan will participate.
June 11-13 Atlanta, GA
LOCUS will participate.
June 13-14 Washington, DC
CJ Carter and Teri Lovelace will participate.
Sept. 6 Berkeley, CA
LOCUS will sponsor and participate.
July 15-17 Cleveland, OH
LOCUS team members will participate.
Oct. 17-19 Colorado Springs, CO
Deb Markley will present with Ellen Ray, Still Water Foundation, on Big Impact for Small Towns through Regional Collaboration.
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.