Community Investment Fund Handbook & Toolkit

These resources illustrate the belief held by the authors of Community Investment Funds: A How-To Guide for Building Local Wealth, Equity, and Justice that inspiration should fuel the launch of community capital funds, but perspiration will be needed to keep them running. At the same time, we know that the field will not scale if we are sweating alone. Thus, as a community of practice, we endeavor to share our learnings so that all of us can spend less time building models and more time building community. To let us know of your interest in engaging in a community of practice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The resources lay out some of the most fundamental financial choices fund designers must make. Every decision reached during the design phase has bottom line implications for the fund itself and more importantly, the community it seeks to serve. For example, as you structure a fund, if you offer investors an attractive rate of return and you want to make many small investments, you might find your fund operating at a large deficit. In such a case, you’ll need to decide whether to modify the model or seek philanthropic partners.

There are no easy answers. Experience, limited as it is, still indicates that informed choices help to preserve as many mission attributes as possible, by illuminating the costs and benefits of each choice. The templates provided here guide community fund designers to prioritize mission facets and to design a fund that can launch, scale, and succeed.