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Three years after the raise: an update from the Argonaut Rowing Club

By Client Stories, News

It’s been three years since the Argonaut Rowing Club successfully completed their community bond raise of $1.2 million. The funds from their 90 investors were put to use to revitalize their facilities after a flood caused by the high waters of Lake Ontario resulted in severe damage, and today the Club is looking better than ever! “The renovations have changed everything,” shares Jason van Ravenswaay, President of the Club. “Members are proud of the facility, they are referring others to join, and we have so much dock space for our rowers. We have a real community feeling now, because we have this amazing space where people want to be and catch up.” 

In the wake of the flood, the Board knew they needed to make major repairs but they chose to view the renovations as an opportunity rather than a burden. They saw the opportunity to make the Club fully accessible to their para-athletes and all guests, create new gym space for erging and weightlifting, build new and much needed dock space, and give a facelift to their event space – an important source of revenue for the non-profit organization. And they chose to make this a reality by allowing their supporters to become investors.

 

 

The last few years have not been without hurdles but the Club weathered the storm that Covid-19 brought on, due in large part to the strong cohesion of their community. “Covid was a scary time because there were so many unknowns,” shares Jason. “We had no clue if it was going to continue for 2 weeks, 2 months or two years!”

The Club was closed for short periods in 2020/21 due to province and city-wide restrictions and faced challenges to run two of their most important programs as a result – Camp Argo and Learn to Row. Fortunately, through the perseverance and creativity of their leadership team, the Club was able to reopen through a pilot program launched with Rowing Canada. “The idea was that we could do a test run of how rowing Clubs across Canada could reopen safely,” Jason explains. 

The Club invested in a new fleet of single boats – a necessity with regulations on social distancing and maintaining bubbles. They also got creative with new equipment like oar boards (a quasi paddle board/rowing boat). “The great thing is that this ingenuity has led to some great new developments for the Club. The oar boards have been wildly popular and it’s a fun new offering for us,” says Jason with a smile. 

The tribulations brought on by Covid never affected the Argonaut Rowing Club community bond investors. “We were concerned about the bond holders and adhering to our repayment schedule,” Jason shares. “We considered a number of different options, including the potential to defer interest payments by a year, but we never needed to do that because we got creative with new sources of revenue and really cut costs – all while keeping our employees on board.”

The Argonaut Rowing Club has a close relationship with their investors and believe in always keeping an open and transparent channel of communication. “Our investors were very supportive, they applauded our leadership, offered to help, and many even chose to donate their interest payments back to us,” says Jason. “Through it all, the Club really came together.”

The future is looking very bright for the Argonaut Rowing Club. They are seeing great demand for their event space now that restrictions are being lifted, the rowers are eager to get back out onto the water (in some of the Club’s beautiful crew boats this summer!) and members are gearing up to celebrate the Club’s 150th anniversary this June. The Club has also established a diversity and inclusion committee and allocated 10 free memberships to remove barriers to youth in the local community. 

ARC recently made a momentous announcement that they will become the official rowing center of the University of Toronto (U of T). “A partnership with a university is something we have wanted for a long time now,” says Jason, who is clearly excited about this new development. “We have this brilliant juniors program and so many talented young athletes. We have watched so many of them graduate and leave the Club to pursue rowing at universities outside Toronto.” The hope of the Club is that they can support the university with their recruitment and create continuity to keep their former Junior Argos at the Club. “We are confident that we can help U of T transition into that brand of being a rowing school.”

The Argonaut Rowing Club has a track record to back this up. They have seen their Argo rowers off to a multitude of national and international competitions. Three Argo alumni (Gavin Stone Men’s 4-, Sydney Payne Women’s 8 and Vicky Nolan in the PR3Mix 4+) competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this past summer. “We hope with this new partnership with U of T, we will see more amazing young athletes sticking around to become the next leaders of the Club.”

When asked if there are future projects on the horizon for the Club, Jason said “I’m the type of person that is always thinking of what I can do next, but to be honest, the Club is looking great and there aren’t many items on my to-do list anymore.” For the time being, ARC is focused on growing their membership, developing its staffing model and continuing to provide the high quality programming that they are so well known for.

EcoCharge Trottier Family Foundation Investment

Earth Day Canada receives large investment from the Trottier Family Foundation

By Client Stories, News

Earth Day Canada’s community bond campaign has surpassed the $1 million mark with a $300,000 investment from the Trottier Family Foundation. “Not only is this the first community bond campaign to fund the clean transportation transition in Canada, but it is also now the largest community financing project to date in Quebec,” says Tapestry’s Co-Executive Director, Ryan Collin-Swartz. 

The campaign, which will raise a total of $2 million in community investment, will finance the construction of a network of 100 electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations that will stretch across New Brunswick and Quebec. 

“We are actively working to develop new ways for mobility because we acknowledge that at the center of the climate change issue is the way our society moves. We want to be part of getting EVs to the masses and democratizing the needed infrastructure,” says Pierre Lussier, President of Earth Day Canada.

In addition to the environmental return of the project, community bonds will offer investors 4% interest per year for a period of 7 years or 3.5% per year for a period of 5 years. Investors will also receive free recharging time at EcoCharge stations.

“We are proud to take part in this social project, which is consistent with our mission,” says Éric St-Pierre, the Executive Director of Trottier Family Foundation. The foundation has also said they will extend the impact of their investment by committing their earned interest to other environmental initiatives. “We will put out a call for projects every year for five years and invite applicants to propose environmental initiatives for grants of up to $20,000,” Éric St-Pierre shares. 

The investment campaign is open to all Canadians interested in investing with impact. To learn more about the campaign, visit Earth Day Canada’s EcoCharge website here

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Earth Day Canada

Trillium Waldorf School launches Bond Campaign

By Client Stories

In 1996, a group of parents based in Guelph, Ontario came together with a vision for a different type of school. One which would nurture their children, teach to their developmental needs, and inspire a lifelong love of learning through the Waldorf Education philosophy. 

And so the first Waldorf school in the Tri-cities area was born. Initially opening their doors to 21 children in a local church building, the school has since grown to over 20 faculty and staff, and 175 students from grade one to eight. 

In 2005, the school relocated for its third time to a beautiful 3 acre property next to the Guelph Lake Conservation Area. It was everything they needed, with nature abound and space to grow. 

In early 2021, an opportunity arose to purchase the property from longtime supporters, Christine Golec and Mark Carragher. For Trillium, this meant the opportunity to avoid future rent increases, save on property taxes, and therefore become more financially sustainable and stable. Owning the property also means that they will be able to expand their programming and facilities to better meet the needs of their students and families.

The Waldorf School’s philosophy centers around community, so the choice to fund the project through the use of community bonds was a natural one. “I’ve always been interested in bonds as a way for community members to make a fair return while also keeping their money local,” says Ian Digby, former Trillium Parent and Chair of the Trillium Rising campaign. “Community bonds will give our supporters the opportunity to make a solid investment, while also allowing them to support our amazing school.”

The Trillium Rising campaign will raise $2 million in community bond investments and $1 million in donations, over $830,0000 of which has already been secured. With investment minimums as low as $1,000 and interest rates as high as 4%, Trillium Bonds have been designed to attract a wide range of bond purchasers from everyday Canadians, to corporations, foundations and Waldorf Education supporters.

“We’ve intentionally launched a series of bonds to suit a wide array of people in our community, while offering them a competitive return at the end of each year” says Mike Craig, Chair of the  Board of Directors. “Our bonds will appeal to investors as they are backed and secured by our real estate and allow funds to stay within the community.”

Trillium Waldorf students, families, alumni and community see this campaign as a critical step for the maturing school, helping to expand enrollment, facilities and programming. “Buying the school right now will give us a foothold for the future. We want to be able to grow, and one day even have a Waldorf high school in Guelph,” Ian says with a proud smile. 

Driven by a strong belief that Waldorf education should be accessible to all families, Trillium Waldorf has also committed to a Tuition Adjustment Program for students. “We have a sliding scale to ensure that the acceptance of a child doesn’t depend on their economic status,” explains Ian.  “We hope to be able to grow this program further in the future.”

It is clear from the way Ian speaks about the school that he, like all Trillium Waldorf parents and students, has a strong bond to the school and community. “I believe that Waldorf education is very special. It’s hands-on and allows children to learn in a beautiful way at their own developmental rate. It has had a profound impact on my own children and supported them to become the free-thinking individuals that they are today.” 

This campaign will allow Trillium Waldorf to continue providing the extraordinary Waldorf Education that develops bold, courageous, loving and giving citizens well into the future.

 “We want to build the foundation for the next 25 years of Waldorf education in Guelph,” says Ian smiling again, “I am looking forward to that time in another 25 years when we can gather and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Trillium and know that we laid those foundations through this campaign today.”

Learn more about Trillium Waldorf School and how you can invest by visiting their website here, and register for their upcoming information session

Kingsway College School enters last phase of their Community Bond campaign

By Client Stories, News

The kids are back to school and those at KCS couldn’t be more thrilled! For students and families who have entered the newly launched Senior School program, this is a particularly exciting time because construction of their new facility is well underway. 

For the past 7 months, KCS has been on a journey to raise $4 million in community bonds and $1 million in donations for the construction of a new campus at 2183 Lake Shore Boulevard West in Toronto, which will allow them to expand to grade 9-12. 

Set to open its doors in September 2022, the new Senior School will give students access to open spaces for performing and community-building, science labs for chemistry, biology and physics, and a fitness room to support healthy activity. 

Since March, community investors have purchased and pledged $3 million in KCS community bonds. With just shy of two months until the close of their campaign on November 30th, KCS are getting ever closer to achieving their investment goal and Senior School vision! 

Learn more about their story here, and watch the video below.

Community Bonds supercharge the electric vehicle transition

By Client Stories, News

Earth Day Canada is building the infrastructure of the future, and using community bonds as a way to engage all Canadians in the electric vehicle transition.

Seven in 10 Canadians who plan to buy a new vehicle within the next five years are likely to buy an electric vehicle (EV). “The change is coming,” says Pierre Lussier, President of Earth Day Canada, “The Canadian Government has pledged to ban the sale of gas cars by 2035, and major car manufacturers like Volkswagen and Honda have made similar commitments to phase out sales of combustion engines.”

While the electric car industry is evolving rapidly, charge points aren’t always easy to find. This unmet need is why Earth Day Canada is building a network of 100 fast-charging stations that will stretch across New Brunswick and Quebec.

For the past 25 years, Earth Day Canada has been supporting Canadians to lower their impact on the environment. In recent years, the organization has had a strong focus on mobility. They developed a ride-sharing application used across Quebec, and partnered in creating the first zero-emissions refrigerated lightweight truck in Canada.

“We are actively working to develop new ways for mobility because we acknowledge that at the centre of the climate change issue is the way our society moves. We want to be part of getting EVs to the masses and democratizing the needed infrastructure,” says Pierre.

The EcoCharge network will extend to areas where there is currently a lack of fast charging equipment; not only in the metropolitan areas of Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke, but also in less populated areas, including Victoriaville, Gaspé, Rouyn-Noranda, Chelsea, Saint-Félicien. The locations of the EcoCharge stations, which will be installed by the end of 2021, can be viewed here.

To bring this project to life, Earth Day Canada has brought together a network of dedicated partners, including IGA (Sobeys), the Quebec Association of Electric Vehicles (AVEQ), Natural Resources Canada, Investment Quebec, Fondaction, as well as our team at Tapestry Community Capital. Jointly, these partners will support in financing the $14.75 million project.

The Community Bond campaign

Together, Earth Day Canada and Tapestry, have developed a $2 million investment campaign that will mobilize private capital through the use of community bonds. “They are the perfect tool for our vision,” explains Pierre, “because this isn’t just about financing, it’s also about building a community around these service centres.”

The investment campaign will be open to all Canadians interested in investing with impact. In addition to the environmental return of the project, community bonds will offer investors 4% interest per year for a period of 7 years or 3.5% per year for a period of 5 years. Investors will also receive free recharging time at EcoCharge stations.

“We are so excited about this campaign,” says Ryan Collins-Swartz, Co-Executive Director of Tapestry. “Not only will this be the largest community bond campaign in Quebec to date, but it will also be the first of its nature across Canada,” he shares. “There is something very powerful about allowing the average citizen to participate, not just emotionally but also financially, in a cause that they believe in. We hope this investment opportunity will give those interested in making a difference the agency to be a part of the positive change.”

A convenient charging experience

Earth Day has partnered with IGA to install the chargers across 50 IGA sites so that customers can charge their vehicles while they shop for groceries. With a speed of 62.5 kW, the charging stations will be the fastest network of charging stations in Canada and will be able to fully charge a vehicle in just 20 minutes. Built for the future, these stations will always be installed in pairs and can be combined to provide 125 kW of electricity to meet the needs of the next generation of electric vehicles.

“Access to charging stations on private property multiplies charging options for citizens, complements public initiatives and reduces pressure on public property” says Montréal City Councillor, Sophie Mauzerolle. The EcoCharge network is a much needed complement to the existing 225 public fast-charging stations already in operation across Quebec.

Building a more sustainable Canada

With more charging infrastructure available, the decision to buy an EV should become an easier one for those looking to make a car purchase. Even at current rates of EV penetrations, within 10 years of operation, EcoCharge will have saved 33,000 tons in GHG emissions.

“We all have a role to play in fighting climate change,” says Pierre, “and we don’t have any more time to wait for solutions.”

“We know that EVs are the way of the future and a part of the answer,” says Pierre, “so, together we are going to build the infrastructure that this country needs to expedite the transition.”

What’s Next?

To learn more about how you can participate and invest, visit the EcoCharge website and register for their upcoming Investor Information Session.

Community Bonds that turned Waste into Power

By Client Stories, Success Story

The project that charmed Ontario

“Everyone is just so excited to talk about poop,” laughs Daniel Bida, Founder of the ZooShare Biogas Co-operative. I’ve just connected with him over Zoom to hear about the recent completion of their biogas project at the Toronto Zoo. “The joke never seems to get old and that’s an advantage we’ve always had,” he says, “it’s part of what drew people to our story and mission.”

With a background in finance and a passion for the environment, Daniel has always been fascinated by the potential to turn waste into something useful. Ten years ago, that curiosity turned into a bold vision to build Canada’s first zoo-based biogas plant.

The plan was simple – take zoo waste (yes, poop!) and commercial food waste collected from the Greater Toronto Area, use an anaerobic digester to produce biogas, and burn that gas to produce clean power. His plan also revolved around financing the project through community investors, like you or I, who could invest as little as $500.

“We’ve been really lucky that the media loved to tell our story. I think that’s partly because the conversation on food waste and its impact on greenhouse gas emissions has really picked up in recent years, and partly because of the ‘cuteness’ of our project,” says Daniel, “these two elements really helped us to raise the financing that we needed.”

To date, the organization has raised over $7 million from over 700 investors, to invest in the project and to refinance earlier investments that are now maturing. The co-op also joined forces with Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation, who made an investment in the project in exchange for 49% of the equity, and the Federal government, which granted $2.7 million from the Low Carbon Economy Fund.

What started as a mere idea, now stands fully constructed across from the Toronto Zoo processing zoo poop and commercial food waste, producing biogas, and running a combined heat and power generator to produce clean power for Ontario’s electricity grid.

Now that the project is operational, it will divert 15,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year, reduce CO2 emissions by up to 20,000 tons, generate 500kW of renewable energy each year, and produce a nutrient rich fertilizer as a by-product.

The Investors made all the difference

“I don’t think I realized at the time how proud people were to become investors in ZooShare,” says Daniel, “that’s something I only came to understand with time.”

While Daniel’s plan for the biogas digester may have appeared simple on paper, the execution was far from it. He was working in what is still an emerging industry and using a technology that was not widely understood in Ontario at that time.

ZooShare faced several hurdles along the way, including finding long-term suppliers of waste and dealing with organic waste that was not free of plastics, just to name a couple.

In 2017, ZooShare held what Daniel describes as their most difficult Annual General Meeting. They had come up against so many hurdles that they were faced with a major decision. “Essentially, we were at the point where we either just had to pull the plug and return investor’s money, or as a Board and co-op, make the decision to deploy the capital we had even though all the financing to complete the project was not yet in place ,” shares Daniel.

The co-op was quickly approaching the cut off date of their feed-in-tariff contract – a key element of their business model to ensure that their renewable power would be purchased by the Ontario power grid. They needed to begin generating power to maintain the contract, and to do that they needed to finance the combined heat and power generator.

They put the decision to the investors. “I was fully expecting for people to ask for their money back,” shares Daniel, “I really thought there was a limit to the patience the members would have after the previous delays we had faced.”

“But I was wrong, this wasn’t a traditional boardroom,” says Daniel, “the investors just said ‘you just keep fighting, you get back in there!’ It was really powerful to have that type of support.”

With their community bond investors behind them, they met the deadline to generate electricity. There were still hurdles ahead to be met, but it was clear at this point that the investors were in it for the long haul.

ZooShare investors gather for the groundbreaking.

Impact First, Returns Second

“The patient investors we have are the reason we were able to do what we did,” says Daniel. “These are people that were motivated to make an impact. They weren’t people who wanted to make a return and the impact was ‘a nice to have’. They wanted to make an impact and the return was ‘a nice to have.’”

With a background in finance, it was very interesting for Daniel to see the ways in which different people perceive risk. “When we got started we priced our offering based on the pricing of securities with a similar risk profile,” he says.

“I’m not sure that the people who ultimately invested in ZooShare would have been swayed by a 0.5% or 1% difference in interest.” says Daniel. “That’s not to say that they didn’t care about the return, they did, but they cared about the impact first.”

Daniel believes that if you are doing something environmentally or socially positive and you offer at least an average return, then it really comes down to telling a compelling story.

Some advice to those looking to raise financing

The ZooShare Biogas Co-operative was one of the first non-profits in Canada to issue community bonds. As pioneers in the space, they have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with fellow organizations looking to build a project and finance it through community investment.

Reflecting on his experience, Daniel shared three pieces of wisdom for those looking to follow in the co-op’s footsteps.

1. Assume things are going to go slower and cost more than you think.

Pad your assumptions so that you don’t have to go back to the drawing board and find more funding. Be frugal and diligent with the money you have in pocket. Having some wiggle room will give you the flexibility to make good decisions.

2. Even if things don’t go as planned, it’s important to keep investors informed.

My approach was always to be hopeful and optimistic, but also as forthcoming and transparent as possible. I think investors appreciate and respect that.

3. Don’t issue bonds to build something until you are ready to build.

When we got started, I really felt that we needed to have the money in hand to prove that we were serious to the other stakeholders we were negotiating with. The problem was that once it was in the bank, we were paying interest on it and as the delays piled up, so did the interest costs. You don’t want to be paying for capital that you aren’t using.

What’s next for Zooshare?

From the very start, one of the main drivers behind this project was to leverage it as an educational asset. It is one of the reasons that Daniel selected the Toronto Zoo as the site for the digester. “Our hope with this project is not just to process waste and generate power, but also to introduce people to biogas,” says Daniel. The co-op is actively working with the Zoo, Parks Canada and a renewable energy education charity called Relay Education to make this a reality.

Expansion could be a likely next step for ZooShare. In bioenergy, Daniel explains, economies of scale are very much at play. The co-op could conceivably build another digester tank, take more waste and generate more gas. “There is strong demand for renewable natural gas (or RNG), to be sold as gas, rather than used to generate electricity. We are actively exploring this market,” says Daniel.

Daniel stands next to the completed biogas digester. Photo Credit: Dan Pearce.

A time to celebrate the accomplishments of Zooshare

While Covid-19 may have thrown a wrench in their plans, ZooShare still intends to find a way to celebrate the launch of the facility. They will be releasing a video about the project next month, and hope to host an open house in the fall so that the public can tour the facility.

Stay tuned to the ZooShare’s newsletter and social media to stay up to date on what they have planned!

 

Kingsway College School (KCS) Senior School

Using Community Bonds to change the landscape of education

By Client Stories

“We’re ready to shake up the independent school scene,” says Hallie McClelland, Director of Advancement at Kingsway College School (KCS) in Toronto.

I’ve just connected with her over Zoom to discuss how their project is progressing, and when I see Hallie’s energy, it’s clear how excited and proud she is of what KCS has planned. 

“We come from humble beginnings,” she shares, “we were founded by a group of dedicated community members 32 years ago, and when the school opened we had just 50 students.” Over the years the school has organically grown and evolved, due in large part to the overwhelming demand for independent education in Toronto’s West End. The school now has almost 400 students, with two classes per grade from JK to grade 8, and over 70 staff. 

“We are finally ready to deliver on a promise that we’ve had for a long time now,” says Hallie with a big smile, “we are ready to build the senior school that our community needs and our students deserve.”

Delivering on their promise of a senior school

The new KCS senior school will be 40,000 square feet, spread over two floors of a new condo development at 2183 Lake Shore Boulevard West. The school will give high school students access to open spaces for performing and community-building, science labs for chemistry, biology and physics, and a fitness room to support healthy activity. The school is set to open its doors in September 2022. 

To bring their vision to life, KCS is raising $4 million in community bonds and $1 million in charitable donations. Anyone across Canada can invest as little as $2,500 in KCS and make a 3% return over 5 years. 

KCS Community Bond Investments

“We love the fact that we are going to be paying out interest to individuals and organizations that believe in our mission. We are seeing community bonds as a really meaningful way to connect with people and engage them in this special project. We also love that we are leading the way for our students and showcasing what innovation looks like.”

“The really amazing thing,” Hallie adds, “is that anyone who invests in the school will become a lifelong Senior School Founder.” This means that investors will be recognized in perpetuity for their role in creating this school. 

Kingsway College School (KCS) Senior School

Fulfilling a community need

“I think a big part of the excitement around this project is that we are filling a real gap in the market,” Hallie notes. KCS is currently the only independent elementary school in Toronto’s West End, and when complete, will also be the only independent Senior School in the area.

In order to meet latent demand while construction is underway, KCS will be offering their first cohort of the senior school at a temporary location. “This means that when we open our doors, we will be starting with one grade 10 class and three grade 9 classes,” says Hallie, “we already know that placements in the senior school are going to be in very high demand.”

“This is because KCS isn’t your average independent school,” she says, smiling again. Yes, they meet Ontario’s curriculum standards. But KCS also goes above and beyond because they recognize that the world is changing very quickly for young people, and education needs to adapt to respond to these changing needs. 

Kingsway College School (KCS) Senior School

The senior school program is a culmination of years of work and design. A task force of over 40 people reviewed more than 80 independent schools internationally, and brought together the best pieces of all of them. “We are very confident in what we have to offer Senior School students,” says Hallie. 

“Even though we’re growing, our ethos, mission and values will always remain the same. What is most important to us is graduating students that not only excel academically, but that are good global citizens who have the tools to do well for themselves and for others.”

An education system that gives today’s youth the tools they need to succeed

Investing in KCS means investing in the education of the future – an education that will prepare students for the real world and give them all the tools they need to become the best people they can be. “There is no more important investment than education,” says Hallie. “Education has the power to radically change our society for the better; to create more well-rounded, courageous, accountable and empathetic leaders.”

The fact that the school is meeting a real community need, has a solid foundation and strong business model, and that the bonds are backed by a real asset makes this a very attractive investment. The campaign has already built a huge amount of excitement so far, with $2.7 million pledged in bond purchases to date.

“I’m an investor,” says Hallie proudly, “actually, I purchased two bonds! I believe in this investment, I believe in this school, and most importantly I believe we will change the landscape of education and build a Senior School in Toronto that our students deserve and our community needs.”

Become a KCS Founder

KCS urges investors that are interested to learn more through their website, sign up for an investment information session, and not to delay getting involved. “We know the bonds will sell out quickly, and we’d like to have as many people involved as possible,” Hallie concludes with excitement.

Kingsway College School (KCS) Senior School

Kingsway College School launches $4M Community Bond Campaign

By Client Stories, News

We are excited to announce that Kingsway College School (KCS) has officially opened their community bond campaign to the public. KCS is raising $4 million in community bonds, called KCS Bonds, to help build a senior school for their community. 

From their beginnings as a small community school, KCS has grown to a student population of over 500 children. There’s no disputing that KCS’s JK to 8 programme produces great students. The Senior School will meet the same high standards of the Junior School, which was established in 1989, and will be aligned with the KCS vision of developing lifelong learners. 

The new senior school will give students access to open spaces for performing and community-building, science labs for chemistry, biology and physics, and a fitness room to support healthy activity. Most importantly, the Senior School will give KCS students the opportunity to continue their high school education with a school that feels like home, and provide a new independent schooling option to families in Toronto’s West End. 

What is a KCS Bond?

A KCS Bond is a community bond = an interest bearing loan that a non-profit or charity can issue to support a project that they are undertaking. Any individual or institution can purchase a KCS Bond and earn a fixed interest rate each year. Interest is paid out yearly, and the principal is paid out at the end of the term. KCS Bonds are eligible to be held in tax-advantaged accounts, including Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA’s) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP’s).

This financing model makes sense for KCS as they were able to set their own terms based on their financial situation, and allows them to involve their community and give back to their supporters simultaneously. Tapestry Community Capital is KCS’s community bond partner for this campaign, and will manage the investments for the length of the terms. 

KCS Community Bond Investments“We’ve intentionally launched a series of bonds to suit a wide array of people in our community, while offering them a competitive return at the end of each year,” says Bronwen Evens, Chair, KCS Board of Governors. “A Major pull is that our bonds are backed and secured by our real estate and are not correlated to financial markets.”

How can you invest?

With over $1.2 million in bonds pledged to be purchased to date, KCS is now inviting the greater community to join the journey. Visit kcsbonds.ca to invest. Register for the KCS Investor Information Session today to learn more. 

SKETCH Project Home

SKETCH’s Project Home: Changing the face of financing for the arts

By Client Stories, Success Story

For 24 years, SKETCH has been a stronghold for community arts in Toronto.

Their free programming – which includes everything from culinary arts, to dance, to digital media – targets youth ages 16-29 who live homeless or on the margins and navigate poverty. SKETCH is driven by the strong belief that if young people create and develop in the arts, they will build leadership skills and self-sufficiency.

When talking to SKETCH artists, it’s clear the impact they have had on their community and the radical change they have inspired. The video below features Joel Zola, an alumnae, who experienced homelessness for 7 years. He is now the Executive Director of Street Voices, and says that SKETCH had a transformative impact on his life.

Through the years, SKETCH was forced to move their programming location many times.

As renters, they were always at the whim of their landlords and victim to rising rents in the city. They finally found a home in 2014, in a community hub and former public school building owned by ArtScape. It was everything they had hoped for – 9,000 sqft that includes a commercial kitchen, a recording studio, a ceramic studio, an office space to meet their needs, and so much more.

In 2018, an amazing opportunity presented itself.

SKETCH was given the opportunity to purchase their space to turn their home into a permanent home. They knew that under their current lease, they were looking at a 4.5% rent increase every year and that meant that if they didn’t buy, they would need to relocate in just 5 years. They also knew that to maintain their impact, they needed to stay in a downtown, accessible location.

Graph showing cost of renting versus owning

SKETCH had a vision, a bold champion in Rudy Ruttimann, their Executive Director, and a strong and supportive community behind them.

This is when SKETCH met Tapestry. We launched a feasibility study, and together came to the realization that Community Bonds could be a very sustainable solution to creating a permanent and lasting space for their programming. Not only this, but it could also be a chance to build even stronger connections with their community of supporters.

Enter the SKETCH Project Home Bond.

SKETCH secured a mortgage for $1.1 million with Alterna Savings and committed to raising $1.52 in capital fundraising. To reach their total goal of $4.02 million, they made the decision to raise $1.4 million in Community Bonds, finally allowing them to buy their studio and admin space.

Their campaign has been designed to allow a wide array of people to invest, with an entry point as low as $500.

They are also selling a Giving Bond – which is a first in Canada. The Giving Bond allows an investor to purchase a bond and then donate the interest that is earned on it. They will then receive a tax credit for the donation, and receive their initial principal back in full.

Sketch bond offering
How is it going so far?

Their community has already invested $926,000 to date – that’s 66% of their target investment!

If you want to learn more about the Project Home campaign, you can visit their campaign page or register for their upcoming info session of Feb. 5th, 2021. If you are unable to join, watch a recording here.

Centre for Social Innovation 192 Spadina Location

Centre for Social Innovation Closes Raise of $1.9M!

By Client Stories, News, Success Story

A huge congratulations go out to the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) for reaching their 2020 Community Bond goal of $1.9M in only 41 days! 

CSI has a successful history of using community bonds to support their work:

  • In 2010, CSI raised $2 million over the course of four months to own their first CSI Annex location at 720 Bathurst St.,
  • In 2014 they raised $4.3 million to purchase and renovate CSI Spadina at 192 Spadina Ave.

“I think the record success of this campaign to build the next economy, during this unprecedented time of hardship and activism, speaks to the moment: great challenges demand that we rise to meet them. We’re entering a new era and the potential we have today to reshape ourselves hasn’t existed since the post-war era. Our community of impact investors are some of the wisest most committed people in Canada. I think they saw the opportunity, and CSI’s track record of doing the work, and proving that big ideas are possible, and they wanted to be part of the solution.

We couldn’t have done this without the essential services provided by our long-term partners at Tapestry. From the sage advice, technology, process recommendations, and thorough knowledge of the regulatory dos and don’ts, to the careful, friendly, long-term investor management, we simply could not be in the Community Bond business without them.”

Kyle Shantz, Director of Growth, CSI

With the help of Tapestry – and nearly 120 individual community investors like yourself – CSI was able to raise an impressive $1.9 M in under two months for their most recent bond project.

The CB 2020 bond offering was an invitation to their community of members and supporters to invest in the people, places, and programs that put people and the planet first. 

The funds from this raise will support a variety of programs that are in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work, Reduced Inequality, Sustainable Communities, and Climate Action. 

We are proud to be a part of this great success and look forward to watching the future unfold for the Centre for Social Innovation! Click here to learn more about this project!

If you are interested in learning more about bringing your dream project to life through community bonds, find out more here or e-mail Ryan Collins-Swartz at ryan@tapestrycapital.ca.

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