The ImpactAssets 50 (IA50) is the only open-source, publicly published database of exceptional impact investing fund managers. We’re thrilled to have been included on this list every year since it’s inception.

In the next ten years, the impact investing space is estimated to reach $1 trillion dollars. The question we have at Living Cities is, “how do you unlock and direct that capital in a way that it lands in cities to improve the economic well-being of low-income people, particularly people of color?”

The Catalyst Impact Funds

Our Catalyst Impact Funds give Living Cities the opportunity to be an “activist investor” and test new approaches to using private capital to drive towards increased employment, income and wealth building for low-income people in the US. Our two loan funds–the Catalyst Fund and Blended Catalyst Fund–are designed to advance and complement the Living Cities agenda. They seek to achieve both financial and social returns by investing in the development of healthy, sustainable communities and the creation of economic opportunity domestically. To date, our Catalyst Impact Funds have lent a cumulative total of $50 million, sparking initiatives with total funding of over $1.1 billion in the areas of transit-oriented development, energy efficiency, fresh food financing, neighborhood revitalization, and small business development, among others.

Two of our most recent investments include:

  • A $500,000 loan into the Salt Lake County REACH Pay for Success Project. The REACH (Recovery, Engagement, Assessment, Career and Housing) Project seeks to address the revolving door of the criminal justice system by providing comprehensive services to reduce recidivism and improve the quality of life for those most likely to re-enter the Salt Lake County jail or Utah State prison system. Our investment will help First Step House, a local non-profit, scale its services to implement the REACH program, a community-based treatment model to decrease recidivism and increase employment for 225 individuals in Salt Lake County.
  • A $1.3 million loan to NewCorp, Inc., a small business lender and technical assistance provider that supports the Network of Economic Opportunity, Living Cities’ Integration Initiative work in New Orleans. The loan is part of the BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund, which will help finance loans to minority and women-owned small businesses working on publicly funded construction contacts. The fund not only furthers New Orleans’s economic opportunity strategy to connect job seekers and businesses with work, but will also help local small businesses grow their capacity and benefit from the numerous infrastructure projects happening across the city.

Investments as Learning

Living Cities’ Catalyst Impact Funds are not just about transactions—our investments are also about learning. We are committed to sharing what we are learning about innovating with capital in real time. We believe this approach can accelerate behavior change in the field and get to the outcomes we seek faster. For example, our early investments in Pay for Success transactions and our willingness to share what we are learning in real time has enabled others to bypass the time-consuming and difficult work of figuring out how to underwrite and structure these deals.

We are excited to see the diversity of funds represented in the IA 50. We look forward to learning from them and to continue sharing what we are seeing in our own work. This is what it will take for impact investing to become the truly transformational force that we firmly believe that it can be.

For more details on the Catalyst Impact Funds, please see our 2016 Catalyst Fund Annual Report and 2016 Blended Catalyst Fund Annual Report.

For more information, please refer to the official press release.

Published: February 15, 2017
Category: Blog