The Catalyst Fund and Blended Catalyst Fund are structured debt funds that advance Living Cities' programmatic initiatives. Through the Catalyst family of funds, we have deployed approximately $60 million and our investments have leveraged over $1 billion in additional financing.
The Living Cities Catalyst Fund is a $38 million domestic structured debt fund that closed in 2008 and is fully deployed. The fund made 19 investments, 12 of which have matured and been fully repaid. Financing from the Catalyst Fund has supported over 2,400 units of affordable housing; 585,000 square feet of commercial and community space; 60+ small businesses; social services for 3,000 people; employment for over 2,100 people. The Catalyst Fund was selected three years in a row (from 2011-2013) for the ImpactAssets 50—a publically published database of experienced private debt and equity investment fund managers.
The Catalyst Fund has made investments to finance innovative initiatives in areas including community development, transit-oriented development, energy efficiency retrofits and access to fresh foods. Of note, the Catalyst Fund was one of the early lenders testing how Pay for Success models can address human capital issues such as juvenile recidivism. Since fund inception, our loan capital has helped launch initiatives with total funding of nearly $450 million from numerous public, private and philanthropic financing partners, and resulted in a leverage ratio of 13 times.
In this current strategic cycle, the Fund is specifically looking to support lending that:
Complemented The Integration Initiative sites and their priorities; Supported equitable transit-oriented development through our Connect work; and Tested new models financing human capital through Pay for Success transactions.
Learn more from the TII Final Report.
The Blended Catalyst Fund (BCF) is a $37 million structured debt fund that is focused on closing the racial wealth gap by supporting the development of jobs, income and wealth for people of color. The BCF achieved its final close in December 2016 and is still making new investments. Based on more than a decade of experience in impact investing, and the recognition that capital is not deployed equitable within the current system, Living Cities repositioned the Blended Catalyst Fund in 2018 to focus exclusively on closing racial income and wealth gaps.
The response to this change—making us one of the first impact investment funds dedicated to racial equity—has been overwhelmingly positive. In February, ImpactAssets50, an impact investing showcase featuring leading social impact fund managers, recognized the Catalyst family of funds as one of the top impact funds globally for the ninth year in a row.
As we focus on deploying the Blended Catalyst Fund, the team is engaged in ongoing exploration of the challenges experienced by fund managers and founders of color and the innovative investing approaches to address them. We take seriously our unique position as a researcher in the impact investing field and recognize the opportunity we have to leverage our risk model to test innovative approaches that address the racial wealth gap.