Impact Investing

Including Loans and Debt Financing

Our Impact Investment strategy allows us to do more with our endowment by leveraging our assets in new ways to have maximum community impact. Our strategy is designed to allow us to seek out investments that provide both a financial return and a social or environmental benefit.  It allows us to go far beyond our traditional grant-making role by helping charitable and non-profit organizations access loans, guarantees and mortgages.

How it works:

We allocate up to 10% of our Assets Under Management (AUM) to the Impact Investing strategy that will allow us to leverage our assets through both Direct Investments (2%) and Market Investments (8%).

Direct Investments

We have set up an Impact Investing Fund that is separate from the existing AUM to make Direct Investments in local charities in the form of loans, guarantees or mortgages. Donors are encouraged (but not required) to allocate some of their existing funds, or provide new donations, to the Impact Investing Fund. The fund could grow over time up to a maximum of 2% of the total AUM.

Local Support

Since March 2012, more than $3 million in loans has been made available to Ottawa-based charities through the Community Forward Fund.

Here are examples of local organizations that have received a loan through this partnership:

  • 25OneCommunity, a co-working space in Ottawa for progressive organisations and individuals who share space, resources and values.
  • Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, a charity supporting the settlement and integration of new Canadians, and providing affordable housing options to them.
  • Unity Non-Profit Housing Corporation (formerly OCISO Non-Profit Housing Corporation),  a housing provider located in the City of Ottawa that offers safe, affordable rental accommodations to families and individuals.
  • Funeral Cooperative of Ottawa, the city’s first, it provides a cost-effective alternative by offering funeral arrangements on a not-for-profit basis.
  • New Edinburgh Community & Arts Centre, serves over 1,500 area residents with facilities that support recreational and arts programs.
  • Rural Ottawa South Support Services¸ providing rural community support and advocating on behalf of physically disabled adults and seniors and their caregivers.
  • Tucker House Renewal Centre, an environmental learning and charitable retreat centre, promoting sustainable living.
  • Canadian Centre for International Justice, a charitable organization that works with survivors of genocide, torture and other atrocities to seek redress and bring perpetrators to justice.
  • Dundas County Hospice: offers a variety of services to anyone suffering from a terminal or life-threatening illness. They support clients and their caregivers through all stages of their illness, including grief and bereavement support after death.
  • Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa, an organization dedicated to building affordable homes, including single-family and multi-unit houses.
  • Heartwood House, home to 20 non-profit and charitable organizations that provide a variety of services to the community.

Market Investments

We have allocated 8% of our AUM to Market Investments that achieve a market rate of return while having a social or environmental benefit. We have invested over $3.5 million in Market Investments that focus on the following impact themes: renewable and alternative energy, sustainable resources management, water infrastructure and technology, pollution control, waste management and energy efficiency.

An Impact Investing Committee manages and monitors the Impact Investing Fund, as well as assists and advises us on opportunities and objectives for Market Investments.

Both Direct and Market Impact Investments give the Ottawa Community Foundation a way to use more if its assets to support its mission, which is to have “an enduring impact on communities”.

View our Impact Investing Policy.