Comox Valley Community Foundation offers impact loan to make LUSH’s dream a reality

Susan Auchterlonie (CVCF) presents Maurita Prato (LUSH) with a $75,000 impact loan towards the down payment for LUSH’s new space.

The Comox Valley Community Foundation (CVCF) is excited to have been a part of making LUSH Valley Food Action Society’s dream of owning its forever home a reality. Working together in the spirit of partnership, and with a joint commitment towards positively impacting community outcomes, in this case the achievement of food security within our community, CVCF and LUSH Valley reached agreement on a $75,000 impact loan towards the down payment for LUSH’s new space.

“First of all, congratulation to LUSH Valley, its dedicated board members, staff and volunteers for their tireless efforts to secure a permanent home,” said Christine Helpard, CVCF’s President. “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 1000 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 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 Maurita Prato, Executive Director of LUSH Valley. “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 a social benefit to our community. 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.

Impact investing is just one more way CVCF supports the Comox Valley community. Up to 5% of CVCF assets will be made available for impact investing purposes, allowing CVCF to offer debt financing to registered charities within the Comox Valley.