August 2012 Update—Since we published our profile of Mark Pinsky and the Opportunity Finance Network, Pinsky has continued on at the organization's helm, deepening OFN’s commitment to supporting a stronger CDFI industry. OFN recently kicked off the “Create Jobs USA” program in partnership with Starbucks Coffee. Since its inception the Create Jobs USA fund has provided approximately $80 million to the nations’ CDFIs. The fund is managed by OFN and is comprised of donations made by Starbucks and CitiGroup. The OFN has also launched a Financing Healthy Foods project that focuses on educating CDFIs on how to finance and establish access to healthy, fresh foods in low-income communities. OFN has also started the Green Finance Program, which prioritizes financing energy efficiency renovations or retrofits projects. OFN has also begun offering CDFIs education on capacity-building including technical training, such as education on LEEDS certification standards and peer learning opportunities. A number of member CDFIs now specialize in green investment, and OFN hopes that these organizations will begin to provide insight and support to other network members who wish to develop expertise in financing in this sector.
Community Development Finance Leader Clifford Rosenthal Says CDFIs No Longer in Defensive Posture But Face Longer Term Pressures
July 2012 Update—Since we originally posted our interview with Clifford Rosenthal, the long-time President and CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, the CDFI industry has continued to face considerable challenges. However, it has also moved towards resolving many of its long-standing problems in the past 2 years.
When we spoke with him last, Rosenthal named the need for greater transparency, integration, and standardization as the three primary issues that the industry needed to address. The evolution of the industry rating system CARS™ , originally an extension of the Opportunity Finance Network, reflects progress made in the areas of transparency and standardization. CARS™ has been re-released as an independent entity and relaunched with a larger offering of analytic tools. These new products afford clients a more holistic view of a specific CDFI’s organization, function and proficiency. Many CDFIs have used their first-round CARS™ ratings to re-position their organization, and receive higher ratings in second-round ratings. The CDFI industry has become more standardized as organizations try to reach better CARS™ ratings levels. Issues of efficiency and integration are still being addressed, although integration is taking place within the industry with the establishment of centralized back office services for smaller CDFIs.
“To repair the fabric of cities, towns and communities while preserving the land around them” is the stated mission of Jonathan Rose Companies. It may sound like an unusually lofty, exceedingly idealistic goal for a real estate company. But Jonathan Rose Companies is more than about developing real estate.
Founded in 1989 by a third-generation developer who sought to mix his passion for real estate with his passion for making a difference in urban communities, every project of Jonathan Rose Companies is guided by five principles: First, to increase the diversity of the places where people live and work--mixing public spaces with residences, workplaces, marketplaces, and education and spiritual centers. Second, to build with environmental sensitivity using a combination of high-tech modeling techniques and practical, often low-tech solutions. Third, to support the integration of work life and personal life--as expressed by “livelihood.” Fourth, to be mindful of the linkages between projects, users and their surroundings. And fifth, to consider that change is a given for real property as it is for all things, and thus to recognize that development projects must be conceived to adapt to often unanticipated future needs.
July 2, 2012 update—TIAA-CREF’s Global Social and Community Investments Group was created in 2006, after a survey TIAA-CREF conducted of its clients indicated that the core values that guided their investment-decision-making turned out to be human rights, community investment, and environmental sustainability.
Since we posted the profile of TIAA-CREF’s Global Social and Community Investment Group in June 2010, Amy Muska O’Brien has assumed the role of managing director. Former Director Cherie Santos-Wuest is now Principal Investment Officer Principal Investment Officer for Real Estate for the Connecticut Retirement, Pension and Trust Funds.
The Global Social and Community Group’s Green Building Technology Investment Portfolio, operated in partnership with Good Energies Venture Capital, has been involved in several projects since its formation, including the Meldahl Hydroelectric project in Ohio as well as an investment in energy saving cooling systems. It has also entered into two joint ventures with Jonathan Rose Companies that were completed in late 2011. Both have been widely lauded as successes in retrofit and revitalization practices.—Evan Lozier. Evan is Capital Institute's Summer 2012 intern.
July 9, 2012 Update—Since we posted our profile of More for Mission (M4M) in June 2010, the organization grew to a total membership of 96 foundations. In May 2012 M4M and Program Related Investment Makers Network (PRI) combined to form the Mission Investors Exchange.
The merger of the PRI Makers Network and More for Mission was the end result of a long-standing relationship between the two organizations. PRI and M4M were initially focused on different areas of the mission-investment spectrum. PRI focused primarily on below-market investment while M4M focused on market rate investments. Gradually, conferences hosted by the two began to focus on the entire mission-investment spectrum. Leadership from both organizations realized the parallels between their respective missions, and began to contemplate the possibility of a merger in 2011. These efforts culminated in the formation of Mission Investors Exchange in May 2012.
The chair of the board of this innovative holding company talks about Upstream 21's alternative transition strategies for small companies, as well as the challenges of channeling growth and profits in directions that have the most benefits for the most people and the environment.