Thursday, April 21, 2011

Investing consistent with your values

For many of us contributing to causes that we believe in and investing to maximize the rate of return on our investments are mutually exclusive. Our beliefs are separated from our choices in investing for our future. We have a hometown organization that gives us the opportunity to align our investments with our belief in developing neighbor communities.

In addition to being a shopping mall developer and the creative genius behind the development of Columbia, Jim Rouse had a passion for developing affordable housing. When he left his involvement in the running of the Rouse Company he devoted himself the Enterprise Foundation to raise capital to built affordable housing. The most well known local example of this is his involvement in restoring housing in the Sandtown section of Baltimore.

The Enterprise Foundation through its Enterprise Community Loan Fund now has a way that individuals can invest in an “Impact Note” that is used to provide affordable housing. Notes start at $5,000 and return a 2% to 3.5% rate of return depending on the length of the term of the note. While this does make a substantial commitment financially it does make sense for anyone looking for a stable way to invest that provides others with the opportunity to have affordable housing.

As their brochure states in giving examples of the types of investments:

Eva Martinez and her two daughters lived together in Washington, D.C.’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in the St. Dennis building. Their landlord emptied the building through poor management and “buy-offs” in an effort to convert the building into market-rate condominiums. The family’s strong belief that working families deserve the right to remain in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood led them to endure many nuisances and some serious risks. Yet they successfully realized their dream. Through the tenacity of the Martinez family, the assistance of pro-bono counsel firm Arnold & Porter and help from the National Housing Trust-Enterprise Corporation financing was secured to acquire, renovate and keep the property affordable.

Now, families will be able to enjoy fully renovated, energy efficient affordable apartments near numerous bus lines, a metro station and a number of grocery stores and schools.

St. Dennis will undergo significant renovations including energy efficiency upgrades to meet the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. Improvements include an environmentally sustainable new roof, windows, individual HVAC systems, kitchens and baths. Meanwhile, historic features, including the hallway’s marble terrazzo flooring and fa├žade, will be preserved.

In Mt. Pleasant, these improvements demonstrate the vast potential of neighborhoods working together to build healthy, thriving communities.

“The courage and perseverance shown by the Martinez family reaffirms the real meaning of having an affordable home in a community where you have built roots and a sense of belonging,” said Enterprise’s David Bowers, vice president and Washington, D.C., Impact Market Leader.

To learn more about this investment you can contact Liz Sessler, Investment Marketing Manager at 410-772-2545


Anonymous said...

The return is very low for the risk. It's more of a cross between an investment and a charitable contribution.

Elizabeth said...

While the Impact Note is a nontraditional security there are a number of factors that mitigate the risks involved with investment:

1) Strong track record; Enterprise Community Loan Fund has committed over a billion dollars to community development and our loss rate is less than 2%

2) History of repayment; every investor in the Loan Fund for over 20 years (our entire operating history) has been paid their interest and principle

3) Guaranty; Enterprise Community Partners is providing a guaranty on the full $50 million offering

Please contact me if you have additional questions.

Liz Sessler
Investment Marketing Manager
Enterprise Community Loan Fund