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New York Times features LISC NYC Impact Investing Initiative Promoting Arts, Culture, and Creativity

Mia Yoo, artistic director of La Mama, the storied East Village theater complex that has created and stewarded affordable space for experimental performing arts. LISC NYC's loan to La Mama, which will be funded in part by proceeds raised by impact investors, is expected to close this fall.  Photo Credit: Kevin Hagen for The New York Times.
Mia Yoo, artistic director of La Mama, the storied East Village theater complex that has created and stewarded affordable space for experimental performing arts. LISC NYC's loan to La Mama, which will be funded in part by proceeds raised by impact investors, is expected to close this fall. Photo Credit: Kevin Hagen for The New York Times.

LISC NYC’s new initiative, the NYC Inclusive Creative Economy Fund, was featured in Paul Sullivan’s “Wealth Matters” column of The New York Times business section on Saturday, October 19th. The Fund brings new sources of capital to LISC from private wealth, family foundations, and other impact investors and uses the proceeds to fund loans that we're making to nonprofit partners that are creating and preserving spaces for low- and moderate-income workers, artisans and entrepreneurs. We are carrying out this initiative with our strategic partner Upstart Co-Lab, a national collaboration connecting impact investing to the creative economy.

The excerpt below is from:
A Push to Invest in the Arts Grows Stronger
By Paul Sullivan, The New York Times, October 19, 2018

Upstart teamed up with organizations that are known for their socially responsible investing: first with the Calvert Foundation, a mutual fund that organized the investment in Artspace, and this time with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a lender known as LISC that underwrote the bond.

The New York investment is focused on the blue-collar workers in the arts community, particularly as manufacturing jobs in the city shrink.

[G]roups like Upstart Co-Lab and LISC are looking to invest in a broadly defined creative economy, which can include traditional arts organizations like La MaMa but also small manufacturing companies that make high-end cabinetry and retail displays.

“We’re providing an opportunity to invest in arts culture and creativity,” said Sam Marks, executive director of the New York office of LISC. “We’re trying to create a new channel of investment capital. This is about benefits for low- and moderate-income people.”

That channel is not necessarily a risky one, but it’s also not a lucrative one, either. The eight-year note on the New York project, which pays annual interest of 2.75 percent, is backed by LISC, which has an investment-grade rating.

Katherine Fulton, an independent philanthropic consultant in Northern California, said she was looking for impact investments in the arts but felt limited. Most of the savings that she and her wife, Katharine Kunst, an artist, have are managed by a large brokerage firm that does not have impact offerings.

Until they made a $100,000 investment in the New York project, they felt there were not a lot of options for affluent investors.

“We needed to find something that was easy to do,” Ms. Fulton said. “It’s a safe return. It’s not a high return. But it’s also important because cities and urban spaces need the creative economy.”

Read the full article here

Find about more about the NYC Inclusive Creative Economy Fund here.