By Mark Crosswell, managing director for impact investing
In the past, traditional philanthropy has always supported nonprofit organizations by way of grants, or outright gifts. Yet even with that essential flow of funding, our communities continue to face the same decades-old challenges. Now, the emergence of a new stream of capital hopes to bring more sustainable answers to society’s systemic issues.
Through impact investing, funders look for ways to strategically invest capital to scale and sustain nonprofits and social-purpose for-profits. Unlike traditional philanthropic grants, impact investments are often structured as flexible, cost-effective funding that provides both a return and a recycling of capital that can go on to fund new initiatives in the future.
The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta recently launched the GoATL Fund, an impact investment fund designed to support long-term sustainability of programs and solutions that address the region’s challenges and opportunities. The fund, the first of its kind in Atlanta, has made initial investments that will expand housing affordability in targeted in-town neighborhoods and that will provide growth capital toto underserved entrepreneurs to fuel job growth and income equality.
The GoATL Fund works with strategic partners like Community Development Financial Institutions (CFDIs), essentially nonprofit banks, that have the knowledge and expertise to deploy loan capital for maximum local impact and return. These investments will align with the Community Foundation’s five Impact Areas: Arts, Community Development, Education, Nonprofit Effectiveness and Well-being.
The lens for making impact investment decisions is primarily influenced by the ability to create a measurable social impact. Investments can be coupled with and compliment traditional philanthropy to provide more sustainable solutions for the community’s residents, businesses and nonprofits.
More information about the GoATL Fund can be found here.