For over a decade, Living Cities’ impact investing work has helped us advance our programmatic strategies while testing innovative approaches to spark and accelerate social change.
Our commitment to using capital to create economic security for people of color in U.S. cities is reflected in our impact strategy around closing racial wealth gaps and has led us to gather lessons and actionable practices to inform the development of a third investment vehicle. That’s why we are thrilled and honored to announce that Living Cities and the Catalyst Family of Funds have been selected to the ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) for the tenth consecutive year and, therefore, named as an Emeritus Impact Manager. The IA50 is the only open-source, publicly published database of exceptional impact investing fund managers. Every year, Impact Assets recognizes a diverse group of impact investment fund managers who demonstrate a commitment to generating positive social, environmental, and financial impact.
The new Emeritus Impact Manager designation is awarded to impact fund managers who have achieved consistent recognition on the IA 50, demonstrated resilience within the impact investing market, and a consistent ability to generate positive impact.
The Catalyst Family of Funds
The Catalyst and Blended Catalyst Funds are structured debt funds that advance Living Cities’ programmatic initiatives. Through the Catalyst Family of Funds, we have deployed approximately $74 million and leveraged over $1 billion in additional financing. The Catalyst Fund, closed in 2008, was a 12-year fund that has recently repaid in full to its investors and which helped scale Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), explored the potential of Pay for Success / outcomes-based financing, and backed timely, innovative lending models around foreclosure mitigation in the wake of the Great Recession, energy efficiency, and equitable transit-oriented development. Our second fund, the Blended Catalyst Fund (BCF), which closed in 2015, is focused on closing the racial wealth gap in the U.S. by lending to and investing in intermediaries as well as companies that 1) are managed and/or owned by people of color; 2) actively find alternative ways of creating income and wealth-building for people of color, such as through alternative credit models and fund structures and 3) build the ecosystem for entrepreneurs and fund managers of color in U.S. cities.
Below are two examples of recent transactions.
The Blackstar Stability Distressed Debt Fund: The Blended Catalyst Fund made a $3MM loan to Blackstar Stability Distressed Debt Fund, which seeks to promote wealth creation for people of color through homeownership, and to undo the harm of predatory lending practices and products which have rendered such wealth accumulation by these groups difficult. The fund purchases and restructures distressed mortgages and land sale contracts with the aim of preventing potential foreclosures and stabilizing communities.
Mission Driven Finance Advance: The Blended Catalyst Fund made a $2MM loan to Advance, a regional, inclusive place-based fund managed by impact investment firm Mission Driven Finance (MDF). Through its national place-based strategies, MDF seeks to increase access to flexible, affordable capital for small businesses, social enterprises and non-profits being left out of the traditional financial market, with a focus on serving women and entrepreneurs of color. Advance is MDF’s flagship fund and is focused on closing capital gaps in the San Diego region.
We are honored to continue to be a part of such an extraordinary group of leaders in the impact investing field this year as we continue to share our thoughts and lessons learned on what it takes to close racial wealth gaps through capital and start the work of launching a third investment vehicle that addresses the needs of the New Majority .