In addition to grantmaking, the Mary Black Foundation is able to achieve its mission through Impact Investing. Impact Investing refers to the use of a foundation’s invested capital to generate positive social and financial returns. Common impact investments include loans or equity positions in projects for the development of affordable housing, community revitalization, job creation and construction of community facilities.
The Mary Black Foundation’s Impact Investing strategy makes investment funds available to organizations and entities that have the potential to impact the Foundation’s mission to improve health, wellness, and success in Spartanburg SC, while generating a financial return that can be used for future investments or grantmaking. Unlike grantmaking, these investments are expected to be paid back, allowing for funds to be recycled back into the community in a way that cannot be done with traditional grants.
Our first impact investment was made in January 2009, with a loan to the City of Spartanburg to provide gap funding for the CC Woodson Community Center. Since then, the Foundation has invested $4,487,500 in projects that created two new community centers, added affordable housing on the City’s Northside, renovated five City parks, and generated new entrepreneurial businesses. In addition to those social benefits, the Foundation generated investment returns of 3.6%.
Early success led our Board of Trustees to expand our commitment to Impact Investing. In 2019, the Board of Trustees approved an allocation up to 7% of its investment portfolio for Impact Investing projects in Spartanburg County. As of December 31, 2020, approximately 20% of the impact investing allocation has been committed. For more information, please contact Kim Stravolo, Vice President/Chief Financial Officer.