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LISC Invests $1M in SustainVC Impact Investing Fund

LISC is using a portion of its investable assets to reinforce its mission of catalyzing opportunity throughout the country. The strategy includes a new impact investment in SustainVC Impact Fund II, which finances enterprises that advance climate solutions, economic equality, health and education.

LISC expands impact investing strategy with $1M commitment to SustainVC fund focused on social, environmental progress

NEW YORK (April 16, 2019)—The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has committed to invest $1 million in SustainVC Impact Fund II, a $25 million fund supporting early-stage companies focused on social and environmental impact.

The commitment is part of LISC’s capital management strategy to align a portion of its investable assets with its mission to build a broadly shared prosperity throughout American communities. LISC is one of the country’s top community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and over the last 40 years it has made $20 billion in grants, loans and equity investments to help catalyze opportunity in thousands of urban and rural areas.

“We are utilizing capital traditionally associated with conventional financial instruments to invest in impact-focused funds that actively promote quality jobs, healthy communities and a strong financial return,” noted Maurice A. Jones, president and CEO of the national nonprofit. “We are being intentional about how we deploy investments from the treasury side of our organization to advance our mission.”

SustainVC supports entrepreneurs in three impact categories: climate and sustainability, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and carbon emissions; equality and empowerment, to expand technology that gives underserved populations better access to jobs and vital services; and health and education, to improve the overall quality of life of individuals and communities.

SustainVC’s Impact Fund II is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 100 million pounds per annum while supporting more than 1,000 jobs. Half the fund’s capital is targeting women- and minority-owned firms.

“SustainVC backs entrepreneurs that share a vision of a more sustainable, equitable and healthier world,” says SustainVC managing principal Tom Balderston.  “We look forward to collaborating with LISC in areas of mutual interest, including fostering innovation and empowering people in underserved communities.”

For example, the fund’s first investment, Solstice Power Technologies, is working to lower the electricity bills of low-to-moderate income American households by providing access to community solar, Balderston said.  “We are hopeful that as one of the nation’s leading CDFIs, LISC’s involvement will catalyze additional CDFIs to follow LISC's example of aligning even more of their investments with their mission,” he added.

LISC is able to take advantage of its size and growing liquidity to channel $15 million toward impact investments, explained Courtney Branker, LISC vice president and treasurer. “This is another part of the capital stack that advances social and environmental goals, while also producing returns that can support community investments in the future,” he said.

About LISC

With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $20 billion to build or rehab 400,500 affordable homes and apartments and develop 66.8 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. 

About SustainVC

Since its founding in 2007 and with offices in Boston, Philadelphia and Durham, SustainVC invests market-rate equity in early-stage companies looking to provide meaningful social and/or environmental benefit in the US.  A majority of SustainVC’s investments to date have benefitted low-income communities.  Learn more at www.SustainVC.com.  




April 16, 2019

Colleen Mulcahy
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