Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta Launches Impact Investment Fund

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta announces the GoATL Fund, 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. will help grow their successful single-family revitalization programs in order to expand housing affordability in targeted neighborhoods in the region.
The GoATL Fund, the first of its kind in Atlanta, seeks to generate a positive social outcome along with a financial return. Through impact investing, funders look for ways to strategically invest new forms of capital to scale and sustain nonprofits and social-purpose for-profits. Unlike traditional philanthropy that typically relies on grants, GoATL’s impact investments are structured as flexible, cost-effective loans that are expected to be paid back, thus recycling the dollars to consistently fund new initiatives into the future.
“The concept of impact investing has taken hold across the U.S. and it makes sense that the Community Foundation leads the charge here in our region,” said Alicia Philipp, president, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “With years of experience in matching philanthropic resources with community opportunities, we believe that an impact investing model provides an important new tool to drive greater results in a more sustainable way.”
The GoATL Fund intends to make investments primarily through organizations, like ANDP, or other Community Development Financial Institutions, that have the knowledge and expertise of how to deploy loan capital for critical needs in our region.
“GoATL’s investment in ANDP is timely due to our region’s overwhelming need for increased affordable housing,” commented Mark Crosswell, the Community Foundation’s managing director for impact investing and the GoATL Fund. Adding, “ANDP’s model not only creates sustainable living opportunities for many Atlantans, but it also allows these working families to become first-time homebuyers and, in turn, build wealth through homeownership.”
“The most effective approach to stabilizing neighborhoods is multi-pronged,” said John O'Callaghan, president and CEO of ANDP.  “The more we can diversify the number and type of funding partners we have, the more impact we can drive to our region’s most critical needs. Our work is heavily focused on areas that are still recovering from the foreclosure crisis, including Southwest Atlanta, Clayton County and South DeKalb County. Investments in housing bring a ripple effect of added attention to these neighborhoods in terms of attracting new residents, businesses and other essential community services.”
The long-term goal of GoATL is to provide cost-effective, flexible loans to the region’s social initiatives that align with the Community Foundation’s five Impact Areas: Arts, Community Development, Education, Nonprofit Effectiveness and Well-being. Initially capitalized with $10 million in seed capital from the Foundation’s unrestricted assets, the Fund will invest through intermediaries to support such initiatives.