Capital Magnet Fund Development

Grand Rapids Downtown

Today, I received an email from a friend that I have not spoken with in a while. Wes Emert owns and operates the successful CityWide Real Estate Services in the Grand Rapids, Michigan Metropolitan area. “brother, what are the human elements that go beyond just placing capital in a piece of brick and mortar. Why should we develop core objectives for investing. Let’s blow it open and discuss. ”I responded, “these are critical issues, lets take action.”

A first-time study of the impact investment market in Chicago points to a significant unmet need for capital and a growing opportunity for investors. Commissioned by MacArthur and the Chicago Community Trust, the report by Next Street urges intermediaries to help mobilize capital and connect it to promising ventures. The report focuses on Chicago, but it is applicable to any urban area in America

Cities are a natural place to try to reduce inequality. So trumpets Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities. This is what he calls the “New Urban Practice.” Hecht makes the point that Eighty percent of our population is in cities and metros,” Hecht said. “If we want to bring about change, that’s an important place to focus, especially when you have innovative leaders willing to take risks.

This week the Grand Rapids, Michigan Business Journal reported that a professional soccer franchise, a new downtown hotel and a convention center expansion are among a list of proposed projects that could be undertaken in Grand Rapids over the next several years.

Also helping to under-gird New Urban Practice and connectivity is the Seamless Accelerator. It is apparent that Rick Devos, founder of Seamless and Start Garden, has instituted an effort of impactful investments by bringing together a diversity of people and cultures within the Start Garden mentor-ship and investment ecosystem in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust, MacArthur and Calvert Foundation announce Benefit Chicago, an innovative collaboration that aims to mobilize $100 million in impact investments for nonprofits and social enterprises in Chicago. It is this type of community effort and collaboration that will bring about equality and positive growth within Cities. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) are excellent vehicles to acquire funds and invest those dollars to vital businesses within the community. The CDFI Fund has a pivotal role in generating economic growth and opportunity in some of the nation’s most distressed communities. By delivering resources and innovative programs that invest federal dollars alongside private sector dollars, the CDFI Fund serves mission-driven financial institutions that take a market-based approach to supporting economically disadvantaged communities.

The CDFI Capital Magnet Fund offers competitively awarded grants to finance affordable housing solutions and community revitalization efforts that benefit low-income people and communities nationwide. This is the real change that communities recognize. From one $80 million award round in FY 2010, the Capital Magnet Fund has generated more than $1 billion of combined investments and has created over 9,000 affordable homes

Through the Capital Magnet Fund, the CDFI Fund provides competitively awarded grants to CDFIs and qualified non-profit housing organizations. These awards can be used to finance affordable housing activities, as well as related economic development activities and community service facilities, with the objective of revitalizing low-income communities and undeserved rural areas. Funding for the Capital Magnet Fund comes from allocations made by the Government-Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and varies from year to year.

As written on the Capital Magnet fund web page, “Each business financed, each job created, and each home built represents a critical step in the transformation of a life, a family, and a community.

This is real change.”

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