Stories

Mission Investing

  • Creating new opportunity for communities with innovative lending

    This article originally appeared as a blog post by Virginia Community Capital.

    In 2016, Fahe, a regional Network, financial intermediary, and CDFI, received $50 million in loan awards from the USDA Community Facilities Relending Program to pursue its mission: ending persistent poverty in Appalachia. Among its numerous initiatives, Fahe sought to build several...

    Fahe
  • A More Equitable ROI: Deploying our Racial Equity Tool

    As we have been wading deeper into our learning about racial equity and trying to advance opportunity through all aspects of our work, it became apparent we needed some kind of equity tool – a consistent mechanism to guide our thinking about the effects of our actions, from the grants we make to the ways we describe our work. To set about creating this tool, we drew expertise from some of the...

  • "As the South Grows" series highlights opportunity in the region

    The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and Grantmakers for Southern Progress have teamed up on a series of reports highlighting some of the promising systematic change efforts at work across the South. MRBF supported the project and Program Director Lavastian Glenn served on the advisory committee.

    As the South Grows highlights stories of potential, impact and...

    As the South Grows
  • Both/And Investing: Doing well AND doing good

    Lately we find ourselves asking how we can be better supporters of our grantee partners, who are working in increasingly difficult circumstances to advance social and economic justice across the South. With rapid expansion of income inequality, the gradual erosion of public goods and outright attacks on families’ safety and dignity, their work is more important than at any point in recent history. The Foundation, our partners and the communities we care about are at a critical juncture and “urgency” is the operative word.

    Fortunately, the Babcock Foundation board and staff now have the flexibility to consider increased grantmaking opportunities just when they are needed most. After years of planning and research, 2017 marked the first complete year MRBF’s portfolio was 100 percent invested in a mission-related strategy guided by environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. These ESG screens require best practices in labor rights, climate impact, natural resource use, corporate governance, supply chain management, community impact and other factors. Not only was the portfolio’s return up more than 20 percent last year, but every asset class outperformed its respective benchmark and achieved ESG impact. The timing of these market gains could not be any better, and we’re committing additional resources to our partners throughout the region.

  • Sparking Development where it’s Needed Most

    Big-money real estate developers are flocking to the American South, lured by aggressive economic development policies, generous tax incentives, lax regulations, low-cost land, cheap labor and a booming population. Investors are pouring considerable dollars into large real estate funds that typically target the same five to ten big cities. These dominance of these so-called “mega-funds,” which...