Impact investing refers to the use of our investments 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, or construction of community facilities. Impact Investing is another tool, in addition to grantmaking, that the Mary Black Foundation uses to achieve its mission.
The Foundation’s impact investing strategy makes investment funds available to organizations that have the potential to (1) advance the Foundation’s mission of health and wellbeing in Spartanburg, SC and (2) generate a financial return for the Foundation 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.
CC Woodson Community Center
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 over $5.9 million in projects that created two new community centers, added affordable housing in the City’s Northside and Southside neighborhoods, renovated five City parks, supported cultural organizations, led to a full-service grocery store in a food desert, and generated new entrepreneurial businesses.
Early success with impact investing led our Board of Trustees to approve an allocation of up to 7% of its investment portfolio for impact investment projects in Spartanburg County. For more information, please contact Mary Kathryn Snead, Chief Financial Officer.