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• PHILANTHROPIC COLLABORATIVE RAISES $3.35 MILLION TO INVEST IN NATIVE COMMUNITIES IN SOUTHWEST

December 05 2018
December 05 2018

The Rainmakers Investment Collaborative (RIC), a coordinated group of mission-related investors spearheaded by Confluence Philanthropy, has raised a total of $3.35 million in PRI and grant investments to Native communities in New Mexico and Arizona. Developed to address the lack of investment in tribal communities, RIC aims to fund affordable housing, small businesses, and agricultural development (among other focus areas) to rural communities across the Southwest. Tribes eligible for the program include The Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, and Hopi, communities where there is staggering need for infrastructure development.

Impact investors are focused on indigenous communities all over the  world, except for here, in Native America. There are plenty of below market rate investable opportunities in America’s tribal communities and there’s just no good reason why they shouldn’t be included. Rainmakers plans to demonstrate that Native American communities are an important part of the impact investing ecosystem.

- Dana Lanza, CEO, Confluence Philanthropy

In the latest round, The Woodcock Foundation contributed $250,000 and the Grove Foundation another $500,000 in Program Related Investments for a total PRI raise of $2.25 mm with another $1.1mm in supporting grants. The Collaborative aims to raise a total of $4 million in PRI investments by 2019.

The Grove Foundation is pleased to join the Rainmaker’s Investment  Collaborative and to invest in Native-led opportunities in Native communities, which are often overlooked by investors and donors. The need for investment in Native communities in Arizona and New Mexico has become even more urgent as the region transitions away from coal and to new industries and opportunities. As a small foundation, we appreciate Confluence’s leadership in putting together a collaborative that made it easy for us to invest in a way that aims to honor community needs and local Native leadership.

-Rebekah Saul Butler, Co-Executive Director, Grove Foundation

The launch of RIC in the Spring of 2017 was preceded by a year-long research initiative into barriers to mission-related investing in tribal communities. Confluence Philanthropy brought together foundations and Native leaders for strategic discussion and focused interviews to better understand how to stimulate economic growth, maintain sustainability and address the basic needs of Tribal communities. That research helped RIC set its sights on supporting a pipeline of investment-ready deals and building the capacity of Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) as its two primary objectives.

Woodcock was pleased to join the Rainmakers Collaborative to invest in business growth in native communities in the US. While supporting indigenous leaders and communities in other parts of the world has become a popular theme among impact investors, native communities in our own backyard have faced a surprising lack of investment. We learned earlier this year, based on Census Bureau Data, that child poverty rates in Native American communities are three times the rate among white children. This is just not acceptable. We appreciate Confluence’s leadership in shepherding investor support in this sphere and fully support the Collaborative’s goal of building CDFI capacity to meaningfully invest in native communities.

-Stacey Faella, Executive Director, Woodcock Foundation

In addition to $2.25 million in program-related investments, RIC also received grant funding to support the initiative. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded $1 million in capacity building grant funding to RIC's investment partner, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC). RIC selected RCAC— a community development financial institution (CDFI) with a long lending history and expertise in rural communities — as the intermediary partner after a competitive selection process. Grant funding will support RCAC's expanded work in Native communities and partnerships with Native CDFIs such as Native Capital Access, based in Arizona.

 

Confluence Philanthropy supports and catalyzes the work of private, public and community foundations, individual donors, and investment advisors who are committed to moving philanthropy towards mission-aligned investment. For more information, visit www.confluencephilanthropy.org.


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