September 1999

Direct Community Investment Applications Reviewed, Investments Made

Catholic Health Initiatives has made the first three investments under the Direct Community Investment Program, which provides loans to institutions or projects that promote access to jobs, housing, food, education or health care for low income and/or minority populations. Market-based organizations and sponsoring congregations have taken an active role in promoting the availability of the funds to deserving recipients. As a result, Catholic Health Initiatives has received 13 applications for direct community investments during the past several months. Three of the applications have been approved, and the others are now under review by the Social Responsibility Staff Committee. "We are excited about this innovative program and very pleased with the tremendous interest it has generated," said Colleen Scanlon, vice president of advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives. "The direct community investment program is one more way that we express Catholic Health Initiatives’ mission and vision by using the financial resources of the organization in a manner that enables us to build healthy communities." While special consideration is given to applicants in communities served by market-based organizations and sponsoring congregations, there is no requirement for a direct link between applicants and Catholic Health Initiatives. A total of $32 million, or two percent of Catholic Health Initiatives’ operating investment program assets, is available for direct community investments. The three organizations that have received direct community investments are: Louisville Community Development Bank, Louisville, Ky. Certificate of deposit amount: $1 million Louisville Community Development Bank delivers financial products and services to disenfranchised neighborhoods in Louisville. The bank’s objectives are to stimulate minority and small business expansion, increase home ownership, improve the quality and value of local real estate, enhance the quality and number of goods and services available locally and link residents to career path employment. Self-Help Ventures Fund, Durham, N.C. Loan amount: $500,000 Self-Help Ventures Fund is a community development financial institution founded to promote social justice and economic opportunity for employee- and minority-owned businesses. The goal of Self-Help is to open the door to economic security through increased opportunities for low-income people in North Carolina. Shared Interest, South Africa Loan amount: $300,000 Shared Interest is a not-for-profit organization established in 1994 to promote equitable and sustainable development in South Africa’s low-income communities. Shared Interest’s guarantee fund, which currently exceeds $4 million, enhances the flow of credit from South African banks to economically disenfranchised communities with the goal of building a more equitable South Africa.