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Stephanie Pinnington

Join us for Café Tapestry

By | News

With pandemic restrictions and working from home, we are really missing our morning coffee chats about the social finance work that’s inspiring us. Grab a cup of coffee and join us for Café Tapestry! We will be meeting exciting minds working in community finance and hearing their amazing stories about communities rallying to finance social and environmental change.

This episode features our Co-Executive Directors at Tapestry, Mary Warner and Ryan Collins-Swartz. Mary and Ryan share how community bonds have performed over the past year (2020) and their outlook for making social finance more inclusive and more impactful.

 

Have an idea for the next episode of Café Tapestry? Get in touch with us.

Announcing our new Co-Executive Directors: Mary Warner & Ryan Collins-Swartz

By | News

We’re proud to announce Mary Warner and Ryan Collins-Swartz as the new Co-Executive Directors of Tapestry & our parent organization TREC

Mary and Ryan are stepping into their new roles as veterans of the organization, both having a deep understanding of social finance and its impact on communities across Canada. They played a central role in founding Tapestry and growing the organization from an idea to an incredible reality – an organization that has now raised over 70 million dollars in community investment for community owned assets. Mary, Ryan, and the entire team, imagine a future with clean energy, housing for all, inspiring spaces for the arts, and social services brought to life with community bonds.

Mary Warner is the longest serving member of our organization and a pioneer in the world of social finance. She joined TREC 11 years ago and supported the growth of leading bond issuers like SolarShare, ZooShare, the Centre for Social Innovation. As Co-Executive Director, Mary will oversee operations and finance. 

I bring the spirit of facing new challenges by working collaboratively in my new role. It is not a leap I take lightly or alone, and with the support of my Co-Executive Director, Ryan, and with deep confidence in our entire team, I am eager to continue our tradition of thinking big and finding ways to further the social and environmental causes that are fundamental to our mission and values.”  – Mary Warner

Ryan Collins-Swartz has been an instrumental force in our organization and a champion for community bonds.. Since joining TREC to launch Tapestry 3.5 years ago, he’s built out our services, expanded our reach to new sectors and geographies, and worked closely with organizations to develop their bond campaigns for success. As Co-Executive Director, Ryan will lead the growth of Tapestry by working with partners, clients, and stakeholders. 

“It’s inspiring to support organizations to engage their community, increase their impact and empower everyday investors and institutions to align their investments with their values. I believe in the power of community bonds to change not only our relationship to finance, but prove that together, we can create the communities we want to live in.” – Ryan Collins-Swartz

Deb Doncaster, one of TREC’s founding staff and now a Director at the Greenbelt Foundation, shared the Board’s perspective on co-leadership:

“Our Board was thrilled to unanimously approve Mary and Ryan as our new Co-Executive Directors. Co-leadership provides stability for the organization as a whole as well as for the co-leaders themselves. Together, they can support each other in this pivotal role and model a more inclusive, co-operative and rewarding form of leadership. We’re excited for our organization to continue to evolve and grow under their leadership”  – Deb Doncaster, Board Member

2020 has proved the resilience of our communities and we are excited to support new ideas with the power of community bonds in 2021. We look forward to the year ahead with confidence in our team, energized to dream even bigger.

If you have any questions about Tapestry or community bonds, please get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.

What is the Investment Readiness Program?

By | News, Policy and Advocacy

At Tapestry, we speak with many not for profit organizations on a weekly basis. Over the last few months, the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) has been a part of that conversation. When we bring up IRP, we tend to get a variety of responses ranging from excitement to confusion. What is the Investment Readiness Program? How can it benefit nonprofit organizations? What does investment readiness even mean?

The idea of private capital being invested in the nonprofit sector is a new sort of conversation in Canada. In past blog posts, we’ve discussed the investment continuum and where community bonds sit in reference to traditional philanthropic tools. IRP is another piece in this financing conversation.

In this blog post, we’ll seek to:

  • Provide clarity about the program
  • Give some insight into the idea of investment readiness
  • Point you in the right direction for learning more about the program

Social Finance Fund

On November 22, 2018, the federal government announced the establishment of a $755 million Social Finance Fund. The Community Foundations of Canada CEO, Andrew Chunilall suggests that the goal of the fund is to “attract increased investment to help vulnerable people and to solve pressing challenges like climate change, housing affordability, technological disruption of jobs, and other national and local priorities.”

Full details about the fund are still forthcoming, however, it is expected that the $755 million will be distributed in the form of a matching investment over the next 10 years, starting in 2021. In other words, like the funds from private investors, the social finance fund be a repayable investment into social purpose organizations.

In recognition of the fact that private investments and social finance are new concepts for many social purpose organizations, there has been $50 million earmarked to help get organizations ready for the planned release of the Social Finance Fund. These funds are being distributed as the Investment Readiness Program.

Investment Readiness Program

The Investment Readiness Program was launched in July 2019. The funds are being distributed in the form of grants through readiness support partners. These partners include:

Starting in 2020, these readiness support partners will put a call out to social purpose organizations (both for profit and not for profit), that are interested in becoming investment ready. In fact, the Canadian Women’s Foundation has already put out its first call out for applicants.

In practice, investment readiness refers an organizations ability to successfully participate in the social finance market. This means generating revenue through a new social enterprise, or scaling existing social enterprise activities. The capital earned through investment will allow organizations to increase their social impact, and being “investment ready” means the organizations will have the capacity to repay that investment.

There are different financial vehicles that allow organizations to accept financing, including community bonds. What is common amongst these social finance vehicles, is the expectation of a financial return in addition to a social return.

How can Nonprofit Organizations benefit from the program?

For not for profit organizations that have only ever relied on grants and fundraising, the Investment Readiness Program presents an amazing opportunity to think differently about financing. In leveraging this opportunity to establish a Social Enterprise, or grow existing revenue generating activities, organizations can both position themselves for social investment, and create long-term sustainability that could come in the form of:

  • Investing in social purpose real estate
  • Addressing food insecurity and clean energy generation
  • Providing equitable jobs and training opportunities
Argonaut Rowing Club President - Investment Readiness Post

The Argonaut Rowing Club leveraged community bonds to raise $1.2 Million for their club revitalization project.

Organizations that we work with, like the Argonaut Rowing Club (ARC), are a great example of how private capital can enable a greater social impact. By leveraging community bonds, ARC was able to increase their clubs membership capacity, make the club accessible, and make essential improvements to the revenue generating events space. To learn more about how the Argonaut Rowing Club leveraged social finance, click here.

 

What’s Next?

We will be working with Innoweave to host an Investment Readiness and Ideation session on Thursday, December 18 at 1:30pm. The session will be hosted by Tapestry at the Foundation House (Foundation House Board Room, #300-2 St Clair Ave East, Toronto, ON) and facilitated by Wayne Miranda the Social Finance Investment Readiness Lead.

If you’re interested in participating, signup through the link below:

In addition, before the end of the year, the Community Foundations of Canada will be announcing more information on the Investment Readiness Program. They will be one of the best resources to stay up to date on program developments, and gain access to program funds through community foundations. And, as we learn about funds being released through the different Investment Readiness Partners, we’ll be sure to let you know through the Tapestry Community Capital newsletter, on our Twitter account, or through LinkedIn.

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