The Georgia Social Impact Collaborative (GSIC) created this guide because several foundations have been asking for advice on their impact investing strategies. With a lot of resources available, but disbursed online and in the cloud, we thought it could be helpful to bring them out into the light. We’ve done our best to organize it, but we’re always looking for feedback to make this, and all other resources we manage, more helpful. Please email [email protected] with any and all feedback!

There are four pieces to this guide: Impact Investing 101, Georgia Examples, PRI Resources and Local Experts. Each one is meant to help you on your journey of putting creative capital to work, leveraging capital, and blending different forms of capital.

Program Related Investments (PRIs) are codified in the 1969 U.S. Tax Reform Act and provide a means for private foundations to create blended value, financial and social returns.

While private foundations are guided by the 95/5 rule, whereby they must donate 5% of their assets per year to enjoy their tax privileges, the law considers PRIs a philanthropic endeavor that count as part of the 5% because their associated favorable terms for investees and mission-alignment.

The Ford Foundation produced the video to the right to succinctly explain why and how they began making PRIs:

Here you’ll find an overview of the field. These resources will answer questions relating to the language of impact investing, the growth of impact investing, and strategies to incorporate impact investing into and alongside existing grant programs. There are also several case studies from foundations around the country, from the Surdna Foundation to the Russell Family Foundation.

Making your first impact investment can be intimidating, but we’re hoping that knowing your peers have taken on the challenge will inspire you to reach out, ask questions, and find ways to invest. We know that Georgia-based foundations have been making impact investments since at least the early 2000s and you can find many of those case studies here. If you know of a PRI that’s missing from the list, please fill out this form or email [email protected].

Arthur M. Blank Foundation (2005): The Metro Atlanta Revolving Fund was originally seeded by a $2 million philanthropic gift from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to land and water conservation. It operates with a unique revolving model for financing sustainable conservation outcomes – a revolving fund fueled by grants committed to land and water conservation. The Fund is still active as of 2020, most recently preserving Lake Charlotte in SE Atlanta to become one of the city’s largest greenspaces, slightly bigger than Piedmont Park.

R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation, Inc. (RHD) (2011): The Dobbs Foundation has for years supported the Emory Eye Center because of their research into the prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), a leading cause of blindness in seniors and a condition suffered by the foundation’s late founder. Aligned with this interest, in 2011, RHD invested $300k in equity in venture-backed Iconic Therapeutics, a biotech startup developing a novel intervention to treat ARMD. While the treatment exhibited early promise, the biotech venture stumbled during Phase II trials when testing for efficacy and subsequently failed to secure later rounds of financing necessary to complete FDA approval for the ARMD treatment.

United Way of Greater Atlanta, The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, The Cousins Foundation, The Nonami Foundation, and The Kendeda Fund (December, 2015): First Step, a nonprofit bringing in roughly $1 million per year, raised acquisition capital to purchase a larger for-profit staffing company, LGS Staffing, with annual revenues of almost $18 million. First Step was able to raise $7.5 million through a unique financing structure comprised of commercial financing, government investments, and philanthropic investments, growing First Step by a factor of ten almost overnight.

The Kendeda Fund and Grady Health Foundation (July, 2016): The Grady Health Foundation received $850,000 from The Kendeda Fund that was matched by the Grady Health System to create a Green Revolving Fund, a financing tool that will invest in sustainability projects such as energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy. The GRF projects will produce cost savings that will be reinvested into future sustainability projects as well as direct patient care, improving the Grady community and the hospital’s ongoing commitment to the environment.

The Kendeda Fund (January, 2017): The Lifecycle Building Center (LBC) purchased their 1116 Murphy Ave. facility on the southside of Atlanta. The acquisition and renovation of the 70,000 square foot, 100-year-old warehouse is critical to the execution of LBC’s mission. The facility acquisition, triggered by an expiring lease with a buy out option, created an urgency that many supporters, including the Kendeda Fund, stepped up to meet. With the Kendeda Fund acting as a “bridge guarantor,” 22 individuals serving as loan guarantors, and $115,000 in pro bono legal work from Alston & Bird – Atlantic Capital Bank agreed to make the loan so LBC could own its home. Following this effort, LBC launched a capital campaign to repay the loan, repair/renovate the facility and raise more awareness and community support, thereby increasing the scale of its work.

GoATL Fund, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (April, 2018): The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta announced the GoATL Fund (GoATL), an impact investment fund designed to support long term sustainability of programs and solutions that address the region’s areas of greatest need. GoATL’s first investment, a $750,000 commitment to Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc. (ANDP) helped grow their successful single-family revitalization programs in order to expand housing affordability in targeted neighborhoods in the region.

GoATL Fund, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (June, 2018): GoATL Fund (GoATL), an impact investing fund launched by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta in 2018, closed on its second investment. The investment to Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), a leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in metro Atlanta, provides loans and business advisory services to underserved entrepreneurs in order to finance the growth of small businesses.

GoATL Fund, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (September, 2018): GoATL Fund (GoATL), an impact investment fund launched by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, closed a $1 million investment in Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.’s loan fund (“Enterprise”) to support their expanding portfolio of multi-family affordable housing throughout the metro Atlanta area.

GoATL Fund, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (January, 2019): GoATL Fund (GoATL), an impact investment fund launched by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, closed a $1 million investment to Reinvestment Fund to support a diverse portfolio of impactful investments throughout metro Atlanta. Focused primarily on low-income neighborhoods with historically deprived levels of investment, GoATL’s investment will provide Reinvestment Fund with locally-sourced, flexible capital that will support initiatives in education, food access, the arts and affordable housing.

GoATL Fund, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (April, 2019): The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s impact investment fund, the GoATL Fund (GoATL), closed a new $1 million investment for the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) to launch a new program to finance high-potential, early-stage charter schools in metro Atlanta’s lower income communities. Together with funding from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), GoATL’s investment allows LIIF to create a financing vehicle designed for earlier stage, promising charter schools. This flexible, long term capital supports the buildout of new seats for emerging charter schools with proven leadership and validated community support that are located in our underperforming educational markets. 

Healthcare Georgia Foundation (May, 2019): Healthcare Georgia Foundation announced its first five-year Program Related Investment of $500,000 to Community Health Center Capital Fund (Capital Fund), a nationally focused Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to provide low-cost, fixed rate, five- to seven-year term loans to Georgia’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).

GoATL Fund, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (October, 2019): Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s impact investment fund, the GoATL Fund (GoATL), closed on a $500,000 loan to Focused Community Strategies (FCS) to boost a successful affordable housing initiative. The investment funds the acquisition and rehabilitation of blighted single-family homes located in the Historic South Atlanta neighborhood. The homes will be transitioned to affordable and workforce housing, enabling people to live near where they work while creating a stable living arrangement for their families.

East Lake Foundation (December, 2019): Columbia Residential lead an $82 million investment in the Villages of East Lake, one of the largest preservations of affordable housing in the city’s history…East Lake Foundation and the Atlanta Housing Authority are partners in the project. The transaction was pivotal. In the past two the Cousins Foundation and other stakeholders have sought approval for the refinancing from the Atlanta Housing Authority. SunTrust  Banks Inc. was the primary financial institution behind the deal. Invest Atlanta, Georgia Department of Community Affairs and Atlanta Housing Authority also provided financing. 

Ceylon (December, 2019): The Conservation Fund and Open Space Institute (OSI) announced the purchase of the largest undeveloped, unprotected Atlantic coastline in Georgia. Each organization acquired a portion of the 16,083-acre Ceylon property located along the Satilla River east of the city of Woodbine. The Fund and OSI will work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR) and federal agency partners over the next several years to permanently protect the entire property under conservation easements and transfer ownership to GA DNR for the establishment of a new wildlife management area. The Conservation Fund will own 8,555 acres thanks to a series of private, zero-percent interest loans, a grant from Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and additional philanthropic grants secured by partners, including The Nature Conservancy. OSI will own 7,528 acres of the property with funding through its Eastern Lands Initiative, with support of the Wyss Foundation. Both OSI and The Conservation Fund received funding from The Nature Conservancy; this funding included grants from the Bobolink Foundation and several other private supporters. 

GoATL Fund, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (March, 2020): Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s impact investment fund, the GoATL Fund (GoATL), has closed on a $1.5 million loan to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) that will seed their emerging Atlanta loan fund. The investment will fund initiatives that increase access to healthcare, healthy food and financing in underserved neighborhoods in metro Atlanta.

This may be the reason you’re here. In this tab you’ll find templates for investment policy statements, loan agreements, due diligence, investment memorandums and more. These are the tools seasoned impact investors use to guide their investment decisions.

This is a work in progress. While we often hear mention of other states that have deeper benches full of impact investing talent, there is more experience in Georgia than we tend to recognize.

As we connect with more experts in the impact investing space, we will curate them here as a resource for funders who have more direct questions about the process of leveraging capital in this way. 

If you are an impact investing expert and would like to support the growth of the impact investing ecosystem in Georgia, please fill out this survey.