Lifting up non-profits amidst Minnesota’s shutdown

Ethical Markets SRI/ESG News

Last month, Minnesota experienced the longest state government shutdown in our nation’s history. Among those hit hardest by the shutdown have been non-profit organizations that depend on funding from state grants.

Where do Minnesota-based non-profits turn when they can no longer count on their primary source of funding to continue providing critical services? The Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF), a Calvert Foundation borrower, stepped in to offer emergency bridge loans, providing credit to cover cash flow delays.

Leading up to the shutdown, Minnesota’s budget reallocations forced many charter schools to drain their reserves, take out expensive loans, and freeze teacher hiring to cover cash flow gaps caused by deferred state payments. Government funding holdbacks recently jumped to more than 30 percent. According to a survey taken by NAF, only 10 of the 110 charter schools surveyed were able to cover the funding gap with budget reserves alone.

Northern Lights Community School of Warba, MN is among the many charter schools that have sought refuge in NAF’s bridge loans. A well-managed and incredibly successful school catering to students who have faced difficulties in traditional public school settings, Northern Lights struggled to secure an affordable line of credit to manage its cash flow and complete necessary renovations to its outdated facilities. In response, NAF made a loan to fill the school’s financing gap and provided support to help Northern Lights refine their financial processes. “Without them, we would not have been able to stay in our facility and make the necessary changes,” said Dave Hagman, Director of Northern Lights Community School. “They understand the charter school model. The entire process was easy; the communication was clear and timely.”

Since 1980, Nonprofits Assistance Fund has provided over $75 million in loans to more than 1,700 non-profits. Impact investors working through products like Calvert Foundation’s Community Investment Note are a key part of this process. “Years ago, we came across an opportunity to fund a project and were unable to get the financing we needed from anyone but Calvert Foundation,” said Kate Barr, NAF’s Executive Director. “NAF is now serving this role for the communities of Minnesota when it’s needed most.”

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Rockefeller Foundation Grant

Last week, Calvert Foundation was honored to recieve a $515,000 grant for strategic planning from Rockefeller Foundation, a leader in global philanthropy and longtime supporter and partner of Calvert Foundation.

In May of 2011, Calvert Foundation engaged Monitor Institute, a strategic consulting firm which focuses on the social sector, to help create a flexible, longterm strategic roadmap which will guide our future direction as a leader in impact investing. Implementation of the plan is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012 and will encompass both Calvert Foundation and their wholly owned subsidiary, Community Investment Partners.

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First-ever book on Impact Investing

On September 13, Jed Emerson and Antony Bugg-Levine will publically release their book – Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making A Difference .. This groundbreaking book presents impact investing as a positive disruptive force and a transformational vehicle for delivering blended value through investment. Rather than taking a normative approach to argue how investors should behave, the authors provide examples of how entrepreneurial people and institutions are already offering an integrated alternative which has the potential to address the most critical social and environmental issues of our day.

Jed Emerson is a Senior Vice President with Impact Assets, a Calvert Foundation affiliate, and has worked on several projects in the past, including numerous white papers with Calvert Foundation. Antony Bugg-Levine is a thought leader in philanthropy and Managing Director of Rockefeller Foundation, a longtime supporter and partner of Calvert Foundation.

Get your copy by pre-odering online or at your local bookstore. Free copies will also be handed out at SOCAP 2011 (see events below).

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East Africa Crisis

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those hit hardest by the drought and famine that have ravaged Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti. Our industry partner Acumen Fund recommends supporting the following organizations in order to help the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable men, women, and children who are suffering in this crisis:

Mercy Corps

International Rescue Committee

Kenyas4Kenya Initiative


Upcoming Events

  • NACHC: 2011 Convention & Community Health Institute August 26-30, San Diego, CA
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  • SOCAP 2011
    September 6-9, San Francisco, CA
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  • COF: Fall Conference for Community Foundations September 19-21, San Francisco, CA
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  • SRI in the Rockies
    October 2-5, New Orleans, LA
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