New Impact Investing Collaborative Drives Investments in Michigan

Monday, August 7, 2017

Announcing Investing for Impact: The Michigan Collaborative

Greetings members,

CMF staff wakes up every day thinking about how to help our members leverage more resources towards improving outcomes for Michigan. We believe in the results we have seen from impact investing as a useful tool for change, however, CMF's first attempt championing with investment professionals to create a product to facilitate investment in social impact in Michigan proved to have several barriers.

We gave your feedback to the financial services industry and are proud to announce to CMF members a new opportunity developed to align endowed assets to benefit Michigan.

Investing for Impact: The Michigan Collaborative is an initiative managed by Community Capital Management (CCM), that invests in targeted fixed income investments in affordable housing, small business lending, and civic infrastructure - all targeted toward investor's individual respective desired geographies and areas of impact within Michigan through CCM’s publicly traded mutual fund, the CRA Qualified Investment Institutional Shares (CRANX) fund.

Leveraging a social impact investment product that already has over $2 billion invested, with new specific attributes to target investments in Michigan, CMF believes the Michigan Collaborative component of this fund overcomes some of the barriers to this type of impact investing that members indicated.

"The W.K. Kellogg Foundation began participating in fixed income investments over a decade ago as a core component of our mission-driven impact investing practice. We consider this to be an important asset class and have grown our impact investing knowledge and capabilities through our initial start with CCM.”-Cynthia Muller, Program and Portfolio Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

What makes it a collaborative? While the CRA Qualified Investment Institutional Shares fund is a publicly available fund and investors act individually, through CMF's collaboration with members, we've championed the development of additional benefits to CMF members not available to other investors through the publicly traded fund, including:

  • Significantly lower minimums ($100,000 vs. $500,000)
  • Ability to target funds by impact area or to county-level
  • Social impact reporting working group

We have already seen how the Minnesota Council on Foundations, led by the McKnight Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the Otto Bremer Trust, and inspired by CMF’s early efforts, were able to catalyze a group of foundations to invest more than $18 million in Minnesota through a fixed income social impact fund.

As an emerging field, there is a lot of talk, some accurate and some not, regarding impact investing. The CMF Impact Investing Committee represents some of the most highly regarded leaders in the field of impact investing nationally, and CMF staff has devoted significant resources to become a leader in education and systems thinking regarding impact investing. We stand ready to serve you every step of the way as you begin, grow and evolve your impact investing practice.

“CMF is a leader in bringing education, awareness, and action to foundations of all sizes looking to engage across the spectrum of impact investing.”– Melanie Audette, Senior Vice President, Member & Partner Engagement, Mission Investors Exchange

We are motivated by the potential to unlock capital towards Michigan-specific social impact. We look forward to being a resource to you as you explore ways to put your endowed assets to work to make an impact in Michigan communities.

Next steps:

While we support this CMF member benefit, CMF has no financial interests in CCM. We are excited to work alongside CCM to advance social impact reporting of impact investments, but are doing so without compensation, monetary or otherwise. Please also note that CMF is not an investment advisor and may not, and does not, recommend any investment or investment product, including the CCM CRA Fund. Any investment in the CRA Fund will be based upon such investor's own judgment.
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