New Report: Investment Opportunities in Community Development Are Expanding Due to Demand from Accredited and Other Investors


WASHINGTON--Opportunities for investors and investment advisors interested in community development finance are growing, according to a report released today by US SIF Foundation.

Options & Innovations in Community Investing: A Report from the Field reviews the vehicles available, by asset class, to retail, high net worth and institutional investors, and finds that many of the innovations in the community investing field are being driven by interest among high net worth individuals and other accredited investors. 

The report, intended as a practical guide for a wide array of investors and investment professionals, draws on interviews with more than 50 investment professionals, including investment advisors, fund managers and community development advocates. 

Community investing puts money at risk or on deposit, with the expectation of repayment with a financial return, for the purpose of helping poor and underserved people and places.  In the United States and around the world, community investing organizations provide financial services to low-income individuals and supply capital for small businesses and vital community services, thus helping to build more vibrant neighborhoods and to foster economic growth.

Retail investors can engage in community development finance by placing deposits in banks or credit unions with a community development mission or by investing in community development notes or bond funds; additionally, accredited investors can invest in a growing number of real estate and other special purpose alternative funds. 

“Investors concerned about the fallout from the current economic crisis are looking for ways to invest that will improve the health of local communities,” said Meg Voorhes, Deputy Director and Research Director of US SIF Foundation.  “As a result, community investing options are attracting new interest in the United States.”

“All the information in the report is fresh from the field,” said Rosalie Sheehy Cates, the guide's author.  “We note the challenges that potential investors often face in community development, but also how innovative investment advisors are responding.”

Georgette Frazer, co-chair of the US SIF Community Investing Working Group and a financial advisor with First Affirmative Financial Network, said, “The new US SIF Foundation report provides excellent insight into the current practice of community investing and ideas for future developments. Our clients have been asking for ways they can directly invest in the health and growth of their local communities, and provide for their neighbors' basic needs during the recession and recovery. Community investments are important additions to their portfolios.”

The report, available in electronic format, provides links to the resources listed within.

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US SIF Foundation undertakes educational and research activities in support of US SIF:  The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (  US SIF is the US membership association for professionals, firms, institutions and organizations engaged in sustainable and responsible investing. US SIF and its members advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. US SIF's members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, banks, credit unions, community development organizations, non-profit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners.

Options & Innovations in Community Investing:  A Report from the Field was made possible through the generous support of Citi Foundation.

CONTACT: Megan Smith, 202.747.7820, or [email protected]