Building high-potential schools for low income kids in metro Atlanta
ATLANTA – April 22, 2019 – The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s impact investment fund, the GoATL Fund (GoATL), recently closed a new $1 million investment for the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) to launch a new program to finance high-potential, early-stage charter schools in metro Atlanta’s lower income communities. Together with funding from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), GoATL’s investment will allow LIIF to create a financing vehicle designed for earlier stage, promising charter schools. This flexible, long term capital will support the buildout of new seats for emerging charter schools with proven leadership and validated community support that are located in our underperforming educational markets.
Since 2018, the GoATL Fund, the first impact investment fund of its kind in Georgia, has invested $4.25 million in loans that seek to generate a measurable social outcome along with a financial return. GoATL’s impact investments are structured as flexible, cost-effective loans that are expected to be paid back, providing the ability to recycle the dollars and fund new initiatives into the future.
LIIF is a national leader in charter school financing and worked in partnership with several organizations to provide the financing for Atlanta’s Charles R. Drew Junior and Senior Academy, which helped double the school’s student population. As of December 2018, LIIF has invested $680 million into schools across the U.S., providing nearly 100,000 students better educational opportunities. GoATL’s investment provides LIIF with both flexible capital to continue their work as well as a connection to a valuable local partner with deep roots in the community.
“Throughout the nation and many parts of metro Atlanta, children of low-income families are attending poorly performing schools; at the same time, mission-driven charter schools can’t find the capital to launch in these markets. GoATL’s partnership with LIIF, along with a catalytic investment from DOE, will create an innovative new source of funding for these schools to serve the kids in the greatest need,” said Mark Crosswell, managing director of social impact strategy for the Community Foundation. “This investment with LIIF aligns perfectly with the Foundation’s overarching mission to increase equity across the region.”
The GoATL Fund invests flexible debt in initiatives that address the Community Foundation’s five Impact Areas: Arts, Community Development, Education, Nonprofit Effectiveness and Well-being. To create efficiencies and leverage even more capital, GoATL often partners with intermediaries like LIIF, and other Community Development Financial Institutions (CFDIs), that have the knowledge and expertise to effectively structure loan capital to support solutions addressing critical needs in our region.
“Early stage charter schools have the hardest time raising capital to finance their facility rehabilitation,” said Ed Chang, executive director of redefinED atlanta. “This investment provides new schools with the opportunity to create safe educational environments for their students.”
As a supporting organization of the Community Foundation, redefinED atlanta is providing crucial expertise and thought partnership to LIIF on the performance and potential of metro Atlanta schools.
“With this investment, LIIF will be able to fill a gap in the market, financing early stage, quality charter schools in Atlanta,” said LaToya Kyle, senior loan officer for the Southeast at LIIF. “All students deserve access to excellent schools. This fund will help leaders with the experience and passion for educational equity to increase access for students who are most in need.”
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About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been connecting the passions of philanthropists with the purposes of nonprofits doing that work. With 67 years serving the 23-county Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation manages the behind-the-scenes details, empowering our donors to focus on the joy of giving. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation nationally with approximately $1.1 billion in current assets and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. Launched in 2018, the GoATL Fund provides innovative and flexible capital designed to scale and sustain social solutions of critical importance to our community. Started with an initial allocation of $10 million from the Community Foundation, the GoATL Fund is now open to receive new capital from the Community Foundation’s donor community. For more information, visit: GoATL Fund, cfgreateratlanta.org or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
About the Low Income Investment Fund
The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) invests capital to support healthy families and communities. Since 1984, LIIF has served more than two million people by providing $2.5 billion in financing and technical assistance. Over its history, LIIF has supported efforts to create and preserve 78,000 units of affordable housing; 271,000 child care spaces; 98,000 spaces in schools; and 36 million square feet of community facilities and commercial space. LIIF’s work has generated $65.1 billion in family income and societal benefits. LIIF has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. www.liifund.org
Louise Mulherin, 404.405.1070