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 endowment to the Impact Investing strategy that will allow us to leverage our assets through both Direct Investments and Market Investments, with a 5% allocation to each.

Direct Investments

We have set up a new Impact Investing Fund that is separate from the existing endowment 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 5% of the total endowment.

In March 2012, the Impact Investing Fund was launched with a Direct Investment of $1-million in the Community Forward Fund. Through this partnership, we are providing loans to local charitable organisations, providing a new vehicle for donors to support the community.

Local Support

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

Market Investments

We have allocated 5% of our current endowment 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.