Susan Auchterlonie (CVCF) presents Maurita Prato (LUSH) with a cheque for a $75,000 impact loan towards the down payment for LUSH’s new space. (Supplied by the Comox Valley Community Foundation)
The LUSH Valley Food Action Society’s dream of owning its forever home will soon become a reality.
This is thanks in part to a partnership between LUSH and the Comox Valley Community Foundation.
The two groups recently reached an agreement on a $75,000 impact loan towards the down payment for LUSH’s new space on Rosewall Crescent in Courtenay.
“First of all, congratulations to LUSH Valley, its dedicated board members, staff and volunteers for their tireless efforts to secure a permanent home,” said foundation president, Christine Helpard.
“We are delighted to be involved and thank LUSH Valley for reaching out and trusting us as we developed a new program to support impact investments in the Comox Valley.”
“Over the past two years, LUSH has demonstrated its ability to support our community during a time of crisis, offering over 1,000 meals and healthy food deliveries each week through their healthy student meal, good food box and hot meal programs,” added Helpard.
“It is most remarkable that this was accomplished while operating out of multiple spaces, often at the same time. We look forward to watching what can be achieved now that they are operating out of a single facility.”
“Our new location offers certainty to our organization at a time when a lot is uncertain,” says Lush Valley executive director Maurita Prato.
“We see this new space as a community food asset, and our role as taking responsibility to steward this asset for the greatest benefit of the Comox Valley community. We are honoured to be the first recipients of the CVCF’s impact investment program – and take pride that we will be supporting both social and financial gains towards more good work across the region.”
CVCF’s impact loan to LUSH Valley Food Action Society will generate a blended value return, providing both a financial return (interest paid on the loan) and, the foundation says, “a social benefit to the valley.”
The interest LUSH Valley pays will be subsequently re-invested in the community through grants to local charities, similar to the income CVCF earns on its traditional investments.
Impact investing is not new but has recently found momentum, as community and private foundations across Canada and North America explore and undertake new ways to invest their capital for local, community impact.
Impact investing refers to investments in charitable or nonprofit social enterprises with the intention of producing a social or environmental impact.
“The loan is repaid to the investor, often with a financial return, but more importantly, the investor expects a social impact resulting from their investment,” CVCF said in a release.