Community Spotlight: Arizona Community Foundation


June 14, 2016

The Arizona Community Foundation and its affiliates curate the donations given to them by persisting to reach the goal of durability and growth, and from the investment earnings on the endowment, award millions of dollars in grants and scholarships every year. MRA’s CEO Mark Feldman is a chairman for ACF, and MRA Chairman, Bill Hodges, is the immediate Past Chairman of the Board of the Arizona Community Foundation. MRA Associates is extremely proud of what ACF has accomplished over the years and here is a recent triumph for the foundation.

ACF leads a national movement with its Community Impact Loan Fund

The Arizona Community Foundation is becoming a national leader in impact investing, also known as program-related or mission-related investing. It is the practice of deploying charitable capital in ways that create both a social and financial return, often leveraging additional financing to bring projects to scale and achieve greater impact.

Through its Community Impact Loan Fund, the Arizona Community Foundation invests in innovative nonprofit community projects using familiar market instruments such as loans, debt and loan guarantees made at or below-market rates. Impact loans are for community projects that align with one or more of ACF’s strategic priorities: health innovations, quality education, community improvement and development, environment and sustainability, and arts and culture.

As loans are repaid, funds become available for use with other projects, creating a recycling of charitable capital.

The Community Impact Loan Fund is now available as an investment option for donor advised funds held at the Arizona Community Foundation. Donor advisors may allocate a portion of their fund balance to the Community Impact Loan Fund for a minimum of seven years, with the ability to annually extend the commitment period. After helping to achieve positive social returns through loans made during the commitment period, loaned assets will be returned to the donor advised fund with 1% interest.

“This new investment option gives our donor advisors a way to utilize their charitable assets to achieve positive social outcomes while also seeing a financial return on their investment,” said Elisa de la Vara, ACF’s Chief Community Officer who oversees the Community Impact Loan Fund. “It’s an innovative approach that donors find appealing in that they’re helping nonprofits bring important projects to scale through the availability of flexible loan capital, while still growing their donor advised fund in the long term.”

The Foundation’s Impact Investment Committee, comprised of Board members and other experts in the community, approves all loans through a thorough application and review process.

The first loan was made in 2012 and has been repaid in full, while several others are currently in repayment. Below are some of the projects around Arizona that are being supported through ACF’s Community Impact Loan Fund:

Loan Amount: $125,000
Program Area: Quality Education
Status: Repaid in full

Made in partnership with the Phoenix Industrial Development Authority, this loan funded pre-development costs related to the acquisition and development of a new high school as part of Phoenix Collegiate Academy, a successful South Phoenix charter school.

Phoenix Collegiate Academy was formed with the idea that children of all socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds should have access to a quality education, and that a rigorous program can help students obtain the necessary skills to enter and succeed in college and in life. Opened in 2009, the school has a proven track record of successfully educating children in lower grades, adding grade levels each year. The expansion allowed the school to continue educating students through 12th grade.

Loan Amount: $350,000
Program Areas: Environment & Sustainability, Arts & Culture
Status: In repayment

Warmer nighttime temperatures and the addition of new exhibits and plantings have required the Desert Botanical Garden to use increasing amounts of water over the last several decades. To meet this need, the Garden had to increase its use of City of Phoenix water to supplement annual rainfall. Treated municipal water is both expensive and lacking in nutrients needed by the Garden’s native plant life.

A $350,000 loan from ACF’s Community Impact Loan Fund and a partnership with SRP allowed the Garden to construct a new pumping system to draw nutrient-rich grey water directly from the adjacent SRP canal. The canal water is a healthier and lower-cost option for the Garden’s plant collection and allows the city to conserve its water resources in this time of persistent drought. The project is saving the Garden about $75,000 annually in water costs.

Loan amount: $500,000
Program Area: Health Innovations
Status: In repayment

Jewish Family and Children’s Services conducted a $3.2 million capital campaign to replace its Catalina Behavioral Health Clinic in Maryvale, where 95 percent of the population served by the clinic is covered by Medicare.

A $500,000 loan from ACF’s Community Impact Loan Fund covered the purchase of necessary equipment for the new 24,000-square-foot Catalina Wellness Center, a state-of-the-art integrated medical and behavioral health center for children and families. The new facility includes child and adult waiting areas, integrated primary and behavioral health services, observation rooms, videoconferencing and training, fitness and play therapy areas, and tele-medicine capability.

Loan amount: $500,000
Program Areas: Health Innovations, Community Development & Improvement
Status: In repayment

The Mariposa Pharmacy in Nogales serves moderate- to low-income individuals and families from an office on the Mariposa Community Health Center’s Nogales campus.

As a federally qualified healthcare center, Mariposa serves medically underserved areas and populations, including migrants and other seasonal workers, with pharmacy outreach, daily prescription deliveries to Rio Rico and Patagonia, and full-service medical and dental care.

A $500,000 loan from the Community Impact Loan Fund in partnership with Dignity Health allowed for expansion of the current facility, technology upgrades and an increase in service capacity to help meet the community’s growing needs.

Loan amount: $325,000
Program Areas: Environment & Sustainability, Community Development & Improvement
Status: In repayment

In partnership with Salt River Project and the City of Tempe, the Rio Salado Foundation has been working for more than a decade on restoration of the historic Eisendrath House, a 1930s Pueblo Revival adobe house in Tempe. Recently renamed the Eisendrath Center for Water Conservation, the property is quickly becoming a focal point for Tempe’s water conservation efforts. The newly built SRP Water Education Facility is located on site and provides a free, functional meeting space for water conservation and landscaping classes. Future plans for the house include interactive displays telling the city’s water story and helping promote conservation efforts for the entire region.

With $3 million previously raised through donors including American Express, Vestar and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, the project was only $1 million short of completing the renovation in 2013. The Rio Salado Foundation’s $325,000 loan from ACF’s Community Impact Loan Fund made pledged capital available immediately to complete the restoration. Funds previously committed by donors to be paid over the next several years will repay the loan.

Loan amount: $400,000
Program Area: Quality Education, Health Innovations
Status: In repayment

The Torah Day School of Phoenix received a $400,000 loan from the Community Impact Loan Fund made in partnership with Dignity Health to complete expansion of its existing campus in response to recent and expected future enrollment growth.

Founded in 2010 with a class of seven kindergarten boys, the campus now accommodates more than 175 students enrolled in kindergarten through 8th grades and another 70 enrolled in the Kindertots preschool.

The Torah Day School of Phoenix is unique in the demographic that it serves and is recognized as the only Jewish day school in Arizona to offer single-gender classes.

Written By

Mark Feldman

MRA Associates

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