Monthly Archives

October 2018

Social innovation reaches new heights in Ottawa

By | Uncategorized

On October 17th, Tapestry was joined by more than 80 non-profits, charities, co-operatives and social enterprises in Ottawa, all eager to learn how social finance can help them scale-up their impact. The question among all of them – where do we start? What are the tools that we can put to work in our favour?

Social enterprise is still a very new, and arguable poorly understood, sector of the economy. Even less explored is the realm of social finance.

So what is social finance?

Social finance is an approach to mobilizing private capital that delivers a social dividend and an economic return to achieve social and environmental goals. Mobilizing private capital for social good creates opportunities for investors to finance projects that benefit society and for community organizations to access new sources of funds.

The term can include community investing, microfinance, investing in socially-responsible and sustainable businesses (such as B-Corps), social impact bonds, and social enterprise lending. A social investment is not a grant or donation; it’s repayable, with interest.

Tapestry works specifically in the space of community investment. We make use of a social finance vehicle called a Community Bond. Simply put, a Community Bond, is an interest bearing loan from a community member. It could be for as little as $1000 or more than $1 million, but the bonds must always be repaid, providing a fair interest return and a proven social or environmental benefit.

To shed light on other tools across the social financing continuum, Tapestry brought in partners including:

Vancity Community Investment Bank

Vancity works exclusives with organizations and entrepreneurs that are working to solve environmental, social and economic challenges. Committed 100% to impact, Vancity offers project, portfolio, and business lending; impact capital transaction advisory services; and investment banking for community and environmental enterprises.

Ottawa Community Foundation

The Ottawa Community Foundation (OCF) is a non-profit organization created by and for the people of Ottawa to connect people who care with causes that matter. OCF recently launched a new Impact Investing Strategy that will allow the Foundation to go beyond their traditional grant-making role by helping charitable and non-profit organizations access loans, guarantees and mortgages. Under the terms of the Strategy, OCF will allocate up to 10% of their endowment to impact investing.

The Ottawa Community Foundation is also one of the lead investors in the Community Forward Fund, a fund which lends exclusively to charities, non-profits and social enterprises.

PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise

As a not-for-profit social enterprise, PARO collaborates to empower women, strengthen small business and promote community economic development across Ontario. PARO has become well know for their Peer Circles – small groups of like-minded women who meet regularly to share their experiences, offer advice to each other and expand their individual and shared contact networks.

One of the key elements of a Peer Circle is that members also provide access to micro-credit of between $500.00 and $5,000.00. Members of the Peer Circle are involved in the review and approval of a member’s PARO loan application before it is approved. Today PARO is one of the strongest peer lenders of small business loans in North America, supporting a diverse range of women who may have no or poor credit history, and no sources of equity.

Centre for Social Enterprise Development (CSED)

CSED is a non-profit organization based in Ottawa that offers a wide range of services to social enterprises, including access to technical expertise, coaching, financing, learning communities, training, and cross-sector partnerships. They have worked with hundreds of clients developing their social enterprise plans and provided them with the tools, strategies, and support to perpetuate positive social change and grow profitably.

CSED’s UNCAPPED program enables the start-up, growth and scaling of social enterprises through organizational readiness and capacity building support, including access to funding. The program is open to charities, not-for-profit organizations, co-operatives, and for-profit businesses with a clearly demonstrated social purpose. Under the program, participants will receive curated readiness and capacity building support that may include one-on-one coaching, facilitated cohort-based training, access to community mentors/experts, and funding in the form of grants, loans or grant/loan combinations.

Ottawa Community Loan Foundation

The Ottawa Community Loan Fund (OCLF) is a non-profit organization providing microloans for business and professional development purposes. Since its inception in 2000, it has constantly pursued its overarching goal; to ensure their loan recipients eventually have access to traditional financing, increase their assets and/or achieve the professional development.

More recently, OCLF has expanded their scope of activity to include new micro-financing products, business technical expertise, financial literacy training, professional development, affordable housing and social enterprise development.

Impact Hub Ottawa

Impact Hub is a community and co-working space that Inspires, enables and connects people that are working to solve the world’s challenges. Impact Hub is part of a global network of 15,000 purpose driven individuals and organizations in 102 impact hubs worldwide.

In the context of our social finance discussion, the Impact Hub Ottawa shared their experience as a non-profit raising $400,000 in community bonds. To learn more about their story, click here.

Explore Presentations from this Event

David Cork, Tapestry Community Capital

Alfred Lee, Vancity Community Investment Bank

Brian Coburn, Ottawa Community Foundation

Jane Duchscher, Ottawa Community Loan Foundation 

Michael Murr, Centre for Social Enterprise Development (CSED)

Kiran Pal-Pross, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise

The Best Tool to Manage your Community Investors

By | News

In the age of Google, there are many manual-entry methods available for calculating interest payments. Whether it’s spreadsheets or giant accounting books, you know as well as we do that they aren’t sustainable, cost a lot of human-power (and with that, potential for human error!), and aren’t scalable. That’s why at Tapestry, our Investment Management Services are backed by a powerful little engine we adoringly call Atticus.

Why Atticus?

We could tell you that our software was inspired by the literary character Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He certainly represents all that we believe in – justice, morality, fairness. But to tell you that would be a fib..

…because Atticus is really named after a dog. And not just any dog, but the pride and joy of Tapestry’s former Community Investment Manager, Greg Goubko.

Our software, which Greg customized, refined and improved over the years became something of a child to him. Like his dog, Atticus became his loyal, intelligent and reliable companion. And so, it seems fitting that he leave a mark of his legacy with this special name.

And now, why use Atticus?

Forget Your Spreadsheets and Calculators

Atticus is a powerful database and accounting system at its core. It was custom-designed and built to aid in raising and managing community bonds. Atticus’ brain has the ability to calculate complex or simple bond configurations. We don’t waste time scrolling through sheets of data in Excel. And you shouldn’t either.

Trust in Data

Your data is safe with Atticus. Our system is secure and reliable. Our data is encrypted and stored right here in Canada. Our data is backed up nightly, weekly, and monthly all throughout the year. We comply with internal policies when accessing data and we never, ever transmit information unless necessitated by law.

Atticus Tracks Our Progress and Workflows

Raising a bond is exciting; it’s where the magical moments for your community happen. Managing a bond is where the practical deliverables need to be met. Atticus helps us keep on top of the thousands of bonds we currently manage. The system was designed to align with our workflows and ensure we don’t ever miss a step in the care of investments.

Reports

We’re able to create customized reports to do some hard analysis work. Whether it is a big-picture overview of an organization and its investors, or its getting to the granular details of daily transactions and calculations – if you ask Atticus about a number, it can answer it pretty quickly.

Communication

Atticus built with the ability to integrate seamlessly with third-party email services. It allows us to work in things like transactional emails to investors with the click of a button. Investors are alerted automatically when they purchase a community bond.

Tapestry Launches Bond Camp

By | News

Across Ontario, communities are coming together to reclaim ownership of community assets

These community assets are becoming spaces for change. We are witnessing amazing transformations – from old furniture stores into social purpose co-workings spaces, historic abbeys into affordable housing hubs, and empty hockey rink roofs into places for clean solar power generation.

Non-profits and charities have bold ideas to address systemic issues. Bringing these iconic project to life requires innovative business models, creative partnerships and financing.

Community bonds have proven to be part of the solution,  but the getting to the point of issuing the bond is a journey. We’re here to help you on the road to raise.

Over the past year, we have been travelling across Ontario meeting with groups who have important projects to implement. We have seen and heard that additional resources and coaching is needed, not only to raise a community bond, but also to help move the project forward. Everyone needs a little bit of help. For some groups it is about business planning and financial modelling, for others they need help with securing a property or architectural renderings.

That’s why we are launching Bond Camp

Bond Camp is a 5-month program to give you the funding and coaching support needed to help bring your vision to life with community bonds.

Successful applicants will receive up to $10,000 in grant funding and coaching to increase your project’s investment readiness and prepare you on the road to raising a community bond.

To find out if you are eligible and submit an application, click here.

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