Community Investment Fund
Join Community Social Planning Council
in Building a Community Investment Fund
We are thrilled to be a recipent of the
Community Impact Investment provided by
Vancity in the amount of $5000.
Click here to read more about the great BC Idea
that won this investment award.Thank you to all who voted for us.
Let's go 100% local: Our Community Investment Fund will support social, environmental, and economic sustainability by channeling local investment dollars into community enterprises that support social, economic and environmental goals.
Click to view our presentation on Building a Community Investment Fund
What is a Community Investment Fund and how does it work?
Community Investment Funds or CIFs (sometimes called Community Economic Development Investment Funds or CEDIFs) are gaining popularity across Canada and internationally as tools for communities to build and support local economic and social development. In financial terms, a CIF is usually a tax-incentivized equity investment in a community enterprise or group of enterprises. For example, people could invest in a CIF as part of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan or as part of a venture capital initiative and receive a tax credit. A multi-stakeholder, independent board then evaluates applications and invests money from the local CIF to local environmentally responsible and socially innovative businesses, cooperatives, community enterprises, or affordable housing developments. The CIF in turn provides investors a specific withdrawal date and a guaranteed rate of return.
Learn more about CIFs here:
- How New Dawn Enterprises uses the Nova Scotia Community Economic Development Investment Fund program: Click here
- Information on the Manitoba CED Tax Credit Program: Click here
- Equity Tax Credits as a Tool of CED, article from Making Waves Magazine: Click here
- The Ontario Social Economy Roundtable policy papers to support CEDIFs in Ontario: Click here
Why Build a Community Investment Fund for the Capital Regional District?
Would you like to see an end to homelessness in our community? Our research (read the study here) has shown that the main stumbling block for developers of affordable housing is a lack of access to low-interest, long-term equity investments. And that's exactly what a CIF can offer! Many such worthy projects and enterprises that could become self-sufficient and benefit our community are challenged to raise funds when trying to develop, expand or innovate. However, access to "friendly" or "patient" capital (long-term or low cost capital) can support the construction of affordable housing, and create opportunities for businesses, cooperatives and community enterprises to stabilize, expand and more effectively contribute to social, environmental and economic sustainability. So, would you like to see an end to homelessness, an increase in food security, and an expanding sector of environmentally responsible and socially innovative businesses, cooperatives and community enterprises in the Greater Victoria region? Then help us build the Community Investment Fund today.
How much money will the Community Social Planning Council Community Investment Fund have available to invest?
Any investment fund always grows with the investors it attracts. But there is certainly ample investment capital available in our region to develop a robust and influential Community Investment Fund. In 2010, residents of the capital region contributed nearly $360 million to Registered Retirement Savings Plans alone. But how does that money contribute to the health and vitality of our communities? The answer at this time is likely ‘very little’. A Community Investment Fund can change that. A relatively young CIF in Nova Scotia has already captured 2% of their region's RRSPs – in Greater Victoria, merely 2% of our RRSPs would redirect an astonishing $7.2 million into our local economy every single year. There is immense wealth in Greater Victoria, and we believe our region's citizens are amongst the most socially concerned and environmentally aware anywhere, so we're confident we could eventually capture double, triple, or perhaps an even a greater percentage. Imagine the impacts!
What sorts of enterprises will the Community Social Planning Council Community Investment Fund support?
CIFs have been used to support a range of enterprises that contribute to social, environmental, and economic outcomes. New Dawn’s CEDIF in Cape Breton has supported affordable housing, wind energy development, home care services, employment training and more.
Also in Nova Scotia, Just Us! Coffee Roasters, Canada's first Fair Trade coffee roaster and a worker cooperative, has been able to substantially expand their operations and re-invest in the local community. In Ontario, the Centre for Social Innovation used community bonds to finance the purchase of a new building to make space available to a host of local non-profits; while closer to home O.U.R. Eco Village has been experimenting with an Ethical Investment Mortgage to sustain their property and permaculture site.
What are the next steps needed towards building a Community Investment Fund for Greater Victoria region?
In 2012, we will build the backbone of the legal and business framework for the CIF and its operations. We will ask the federal government to authorize the CIF as an RRSP-eligible fund, and we will ask the provincial government to provide its venture capital tax credit to CIF investors. By 2013, we expect the CIF will have staff, member-investors, and a democratically elected board, and be ready to begin evaluating prospective investment opportunities. Read on to see how you can help make that a reality.
How you can support a Community Investment Fund for the region today
- Make a tax- receipt eligible donation to the designated fund we’ve set up to support this initiative by clicking here: http://www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?charityID=s3158. When you click on "Donate", you'll be able to direct your donation directly to the Community Investment Fund project. You can also mail us a cheque indicating it is for the “CIF” and we will mail you a receipt. Your donation is appreciated and will be used to support the development of a business plan for this initiative.
- Let us know what expertise and time you have available to help develop and promote the Fund. (For e.g. do you have experience in financial, business or non-profit management, policy expertise, or strong community networks and/or communications skills?). Use this form or call Sarah Amyot at the Council on 250-383-6166 x 112.
- Learn more, talk to the people close to you, help us promote the initiative: As a community one of the most important things we can do is be well-informed advocates about the need to change the way we invest our money and support the local community. You can learn more on our website and by reading our report. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or become a member to stay up to date on all of our initiatives. We welcome opportunities to discuss the initiative with groups you are involved with; just let us know when and where you’d like a speaker.
More Useful Links:
This initiative is generously funded by: