Social Finance Study Group: Update

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“Every dollar we spend, lend, or invest has an effect and impacts our communities.”

-Jack Vanderkooy, CPA, CGA – Treasurer, Habitat for Humanity South Georgian Bay

Social Finance Study Group: Update

As we envision economic and social health in our community, can we look beyond traditional sources of funding to accelerate progress? This question was discussed during the Mapping Our Road to Recovery series, held last year. A key outcome from that series was to establish a group to explore how a “Social Investment Strategy” could support a more integrated economy towards a resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.

The first step on this journey is the creation of a Social Finance Study Group consisting of 14 leaders from diverse interests and expertise. We meet bi-weekly to explore new financial mechanisms and tools to unlock access to capital and to share ideas and resources.

Our group has identified common themes, key aspirations, and outcomes.

Common themes:

  1. We have a passion to create healthy, sustainable, and inclusive communities through the use of Social Finance.
  2. We have lots to learn! And we can share these learnings with others in our community to generate greater impact for the benefit of all.
  3. We want to use language that resonates and that everyone understands.
  4. We want to engage all stakeholders in our discussions – government, big business, small business, investors, beneficiaries, charities, nonprofits, and philanthropists.
  5. We want to go beyond financial returns towards impact/beneficial returns.

Key aspirations and outcomes:

  • Every dollar we spend, lend, or invest has an effect and impacts our communities.
  • Strategic investments in our communities are key to pandemic recovery and building a better future.
  • Access to capital will be a growing issue; therefore, we will need to reach beyond traditional sources to restart economies, build new economies, and at the same time ensure that we support people who were already disadvantaged before the pandemic and have suffered disproportionately as a result.
  • Social Procurement and Social Enterprise and other social finance tools can accelerate our collective progress and help us shape how we spend, lend, or invest towards that better future.

Discussion highlights so far:

  • Exploration of initiatives already in place so we do not “recreate the wheel”.
  • Collaboration and trust are key ingredients to ensure we work towards the common good.
  • Social Procurement is critical for municipalities to support local entrepreneurs focusing on the triple bottom line (financial, social and environmental).
  • Simple, descriptive language will ensure that Social Finance is understood by all.

In future newsletters, we look forward to sharing more about Social Finance with you!