Unlocking capital for social good is a principle at the heart of Living Cities’ approach to closing racial gaps by supporting the creation of jobs, income, and wealth. That’s why we’re thrilled to be included in the ImpactAssets 50 among an impressive set of peers in this vibrant and growing field.
At Living Cities, we believe that we can use the power of capitalism and incentives to get more resources where they are needed most and be an activist investor for social impact. It’s something we’ve seen proven out over nearly a decade of work in the impact investing space and in our 25 year history of blending and pooling capital to improve the lives of low-income people in the United States. But, we’re also committed to learning in real time and doubling down on what works.
Our new race-informed impact investing strategy is only the latest example of how we use capital to address seemingly intractable problems in U.S. cities. Another approach we’re experimenting with through our Blended Catalyst Fund is the notion of combining philanthropic debt and commercial lending from a diverse group of investors toward a shared set of outcomes, a model shared by many others on this year’s ImpactAssets 50 list.
The Catalyst Impact Funds
Living Cities manages two structured debt funds. Catalyst Fund and The Blended Catalyst Fund (BCF) is the second fund, which is capitalized at $36.9 million. BCF’s twelve investors include some of the world’s largest financial institutions and foundations. Through our funds, we have deployed approximately $57 million and our 29 investments have leveraged over $1.13 billion in additional financing. Two-thirds of our newest fund, approximately $20 million remains to be invested.
Some of our most recent investments include investments that will deliver on our racial economic justice goals and have informed our approach of putting racial equity front and center:
Central Baltimore Future Fund ($2.5M loan): This $10M fund finances revitalization projects in ten Baltimore neighborhoods that connect low-income residents, who are predominately African American, to economic opportunity. By being intentional about the design and construction firms used for these projects, the Central Baltimore Future Fund will work to address racial economic disparities in Baltimore.
BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund ($1.3M loan): Co-created by Living Cities and the City of New Orleans, this fund helps minority and women-owned business enterprises access the capital necessary to bid on public construction and infrastructure projects.
Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Project ($650,000 investment): Through the provision of vocational English classes, skills training and job access, this $12.43M Pay for Success project improves economic outcomes for approximately 2,000 English language learners living in low-income neighborhoods in the Greater Boston area.
We are honored to share this recognition with such extraordinary group of firms with similar commitments to social impact. We are certain that we will continue to learn from their unique experience shaping the impact investing field, as we implement our new investing strategy.
Living Cities is actively seeking new debt opportunities for the Blended Catalyst Fund. Please reach out to us if you have a transaction we should consider (firstname.lastname@example.org).