My, how the impact grows

Nov. 20, 2018

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Author: 
Vijay Venkatesan

With more than $3.3 million in financing out in the community, primarily for affordable housing, it’s been quite the journey since our Social Impact Fund started (way back in 2012, before rebranding in 2017). It started with a loan from LCF to convert the old Honest Lawyer building into 30 affordable housing units, the first of its kind in the downtown core. We’ve learned a lot since that process began, and, thanks to some of our great partners like Libro Credit Union and Lerners Lawyers, we like to think we’ve made great strides in how we issue financing options.

We started the Social Impact Fund wanting to make an impact in our community in a way that wasn’t dependent on grant-making. Today, all of our investments have an impact that align with our mission and they are all contributing back into the community. With a low interest-rate offered on financing options, not only are the investments affordable for those leading the projects, but it also means that the interest accrued can be invested back into the Social Impact Fund, recirculating the dollars into our community again and again.

In fact, one of our first affordable housing consortium has been a tremendous success! 356 Dundas St., an affordable housing project located in the heart of our city, has paid the loan back in full, with interest! Not only does this create more money to be re-invested into our community, but it allows LCF to deepen partnerships to enhance future funding of impactful projects.

2018 really has been a phenomenal year for us. Not only has 356 Dundas St repaid the loan in full, though construction is still in its final stages, but Growing Chefs! Ontario is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. We’re so incredibly proud to have been able to watch their growth and journey over the past few years, witnessing them become a powerhouse and voice for food sustainability for all, but especially for instilling the value of healthy food in children. Growing Chefs! have a line of credit established through our Social Impact Fund, providing them with a cushion while they transitioned their headquarters into the old Auberge restaurant.

Both of these projects and more have been a big part of creating a better London for all. With our Social Impact Fund earning an average 3.5% return since its inception, a whopping $185,000 has been recirculated for future growth! It truly is incredible the kind of impact investing can have on our community.

A few other projects have been occurring over the past year or so, and are all making an impact in their own way:

  1. LCF has made loans to three different local affordable housing projects, with a combined impact of 130 affordable housing units created, including units for CMHA clients and local veterans
  2. LCF led its first loan consortium, with a $2.5 million construction loan for 356 Dundas St. bringing both local and national partners together to complete the project.
  3. The Kiln Building at the Evergreen Project’s Brick Works site is another loan consortium LCF partook in, with six other partners, to redevelop and maintain the historic component of the Kiln Building itself, bringing together people, ideas, platforms and innovations!

All of this combined with growing local and national level support, including the National Housing Strategy (a 10-year, $40 billion plan supporting existing and new program that create safe and affordable housing, aiming to cut chronic homelessness in half by 2030), it’s no wonder that Social Impact is booming within our community.

We can’t wait to see what great partnerships and projects come our way as we enter 2019. Thanks for being a part of our journey with us!