In 2012, the Community Foundation of Ottawa’s Board of Governors approved the implementation of an Impact Investing strategy that builds on the commitment it made to its new Responsible Investing policy in 2011.

Designed to allow the Foundation to seek out investments that provide both a financial return and a social or environmental benefit, the Impact Investing strategy allows the Community Foundation to do more with its endowment by leveraging its assets in new ways to have maximum community impact. View the Community Foundation’s Impact Investing Policy.

In March 2012, the Impact Investing Fund was launched with a Direct Investment of $1-million in the Community Forward Fund (CFF). Through this partnership, CFO has already helped to provide loans to three charitable organizations, including Under One Roof, the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), and the OCISO Non-Profit Housing Corporation (OCISO NPHC). With the help of these loans, all three organizations are now in a position to significantly improve their long-term sustainability while increasing their community impact.

Under One Roof:

A collaborative workspace that brings together diverse organizations and individuals to “share, grow and inspire,” Under One Roof (UOR) had been looking to secure a line of credit to pay for construction work to set up two additional floors in their downtown offices to create room for expansion. It was following an alternative finance workshop organized by the Community Foundation of Ottawa that UOR learned about its partnership with CFF and was able to make a successful loan application. This loan allowed UOR to open its doors and begin to market the space as a vibrant hub where non-profit organizations and community members can meet, interact and collaborate. Learn more about the Under One Roof project.

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO):

Since 1978, OCISO has been engaged in the settlement and integration of immigrants and refugees in Ottawa. Providing services in 40 languages to a client base that has more than doubled over the last decade, OCISO has faced significant funding challenges to keep up with the demand on its resources. To this end, it planned a major capital fundraising campaign in 2012 to increase awareness in the broader community and diversify its funding base. In need of temporary financial support to implement the planned campaign, OCISO was able to secure a bridge loan through CFF to provide the necessary working capital to roll out a successful campaign.

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization Non-Profit Housing Corporation (OCISO NPHC):

As an organization that serves new Canadians, OCISO recognized the need for affordable housing for immigrants and refugees and, as a result, founded OCISO NPHC in 1991. After completing its first housing project in 1994 and the second in 2011, both of which enjoy 100% occupancy, OCISO NPHC applied to CFF for a loan to help them secure another piece of land on which to build further affordable housing units in 2012. The approved interim loan allowed them to cover the design and construction costs required to secure a building permit and purchase land on Montreal Road from the City of Ottawa. View the OCISO NPHC project video