Community Investments

Community decision-making is a key part of our strategy

Working in community, working for community? Let’s work together!

We’re looking to find some community investment partners interested in a long-term relationship with us to help deliver the SFF mandate. In January 2024 we closed a ‘first round’ of submissions from community investment partner applicants and we’re currently in conversations with several organizations about partnering with us. But we are still welcoming new submissions as we intend to bring on several new partners a year for the next few years. We expect to invest up to 20% of our mandate in community investments.

What We’re Looking For

Community Investment:

  • ‘Community’: community of place or community of people. In both cases, we’re focused on investing in initiatives led by, for, or with under-represented communities and meeting community-defined needs – like the Atlantic provinces, the Prairies and the North; like Black people and Indigenous peoples.
  • ‘Investment’: this is not a granting program. We are investing repayable capital with a risk-adjusted return expectation. Investment opportunities include community loans, bonds, outcomes-based contracts, micro-loan funds and community finance initiatives. We may invest in existing opportunities that have already raised outside investment or may help an organization develop a new opportunity when it’s highly aligned with our priorities.

As we read through community investment submissions, we’ll be looking to see how well the proposal meets our broad criteria for community investment partner, investment strategy and investment readiness.

Community Investment Partner

  • Mission-driven community organization
  • Has the capacity, passion and knowledge to deliver real, lasting positive outcomes
  • Deep roots, strong networks and extensive understanding of the social and environmental issues affecting their communities
  • Experience providing repayable financing to community organizations or businesses

Investment Strategy

  • Place-based, local strategy or community-based strategy
  • Has clear impact thesis
  • Aims to create lasting positive long-term impact in the community (in terms of increased social equity and sustainable development). Strategies to fund short-term rapid-response projects will not be considered.
  • Informed by community needs or developed through community participation
  • Investment decisions will be made locally – by the community investment partner or community members
  • Looking to take on investment in the range of $500,000 – $10 million, with a preference towards opportunities in the middle of that range. Those numbers sound big to some organizations, small to others! We recognize that. We’re flexible about the range but wanted to set out our thinking on it before you submit a partnership form.
  • Has a financial return built into it. With this stream of capital, we are investing with repayable capital and not grant capital. Generally, we are expecting strategies to deliver a targeted financial return of 3-5% a year.

Investment Readiness

The table below gives an idea of what an ‘investment ready’ opportunity might look like. We may be able to help organizations not quite at this stage to get to investment readinss; get in touch to learn more.

Product Well-articulated product/offering design (Type, Size, investment horizon), designed through market/community validation
Structure Well-defined structure (in terms of type, size, length, ownership, registration, capital stack, terms offered to investors, fee structure, financial model, investee profile and exit strategy)
Pipeline Strong existing pipeline with clear deal organization and deal flow management process.
Impact Thesis Clear impact thesis with strategic short-term outcomes and long-term impacts and an impact measurement system in place.
Team Dedicated team with relevant investment, sectoral and regional/local expertise.
Organization Mission-driven organisation with strong roots in the community or region with both sectoral and investment expertise and/or has confirmed partnership with a partner/partners who can provide complementary expertise.
Sector Engagement Plugged into the broader sector
Governance Well-defined governance strategy with clear decision-making and accountability framework committees and processes
Process Well defined processes in place
Operations Clear understanding of the operational requirements of the investment vehicle and established operations

 

Community Investment Partner Questions

We ask that all organizations interested in being a community investment partner answer these questions. Interested but not sure this is right for you? Let’s talk! We’re happy to answer questions during a Tuesday chat. You may fill in this webform directly or upload your answers in a format that is convenient for you – such as PDF, audio file or video file.

Please upload your file(s)
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    If you are a network, we would expect there to be one organization being accountable for this partnership – please provide those details.
    If you would be working in partnership with others on this investment strategy, we’d like to hear about that.
    We are looking for partners where other matching investment can be raised. Preferably, this can be raised on at least a 1:1 basis.
    12. Alignment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    https://sdgs.un.org/goals
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.