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What is the Investment Readiness Program?

Par | News, Policy and Advocacy

At Tapestry, we speak with many non-profit organizations on a weekly basis. With Budget 2021 announcements, the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) has been a common thread of 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 non-profit 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

With the release of Budget 2021, the federal government confirmed the establishment of a $755 million Social Finance Fund, and plans to disperse up to $220 million in the next two year. The objective of the Fund is to provide social purpose organizations (which include charities, non-profits, co-ops and social enterprises, both non-profit and for-profit) with access to capital to carry out activities which will have a positive social or environmental impact. The Fund was first announced in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement and the federal government re-affirmed its commitment to the Fund in the 2019 Federal Budget.

In recognition of the fact that private investments and social finance are new concepts for many social purpose organizations, Budget 2021 also proposes to renew the Investment Readiness Program for $50 million over two years.  This program aims to assist these organizations with building capacity to allow them to participate in Canada’s social finance market, and to prepare them to participate in the Social Investment Fund.

Investment Readiness Program

The Investment Readiness Program will be administered through several readiness support partners. A full list of partners can be found here.

Starting this year, 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 practice, investment readiness refers to 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 or environmental return.

How can Non-profit 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 have worked 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 are still waiting on further information on the Investment Readiness Program. 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.

Satyameet Singh joins the Tapestry Team

Par | News

We are pleased to introduce Satyameet (Sattu) Singh as the newest member of our Tapestry Team. Sattu will be joining our campaign team as a Campaign Manager, where he will be working with our Senior Campaign Manager, Jennifer Bryan. In his new role, Sattu will support our clients in building campaign excitement, media attention and demand for their investment opportunities, and more broadly, increase awareness of community bonds as a viable financing mechanism for non-profits, charities and co-ops all across Canada.

Satyameet Singh TapestrySattu brings to our team a wealth of experience in both social enterprise, and marketing and sales. He is a graduate of the MBA program at the Schulich School of Business, and a self professed pragmatic altruist and idealist.

It was Sattu’s education at Schulich that first brought him to Toronto from Delhi, India in 2011, and opened his eyes to the world of social enterprise. Post-MBA, he began his career with WE (Free the Children), where he led the India operations for the charity’s ‘Adopt a Village’ development model. He moved back to Toronto in 2014, to join a social enterprise called Eva’s Initiative for Homeless Youth, where he was a Program Lead. In 2015, he was recruited by Schulich School of Business to lead marketing and administration at their India campus.

“This was actually a great first experience in selling investments, because education really is an investment – and not a cheap one,” says Sattu with a smile. “We needed to demonstrate to prospective students that their time on campus would be transformative and open doors in the future.”

“During my time at the Schulich campus in Hyderabad, I was exposed to all sorts of amazing thinkers and leaders,” he explains. “What really resonated with me was that the world is rapidly shifting to a solutions oriented mindset, and I knew I wanted to be part of the solutions based economy. It was during this time that I made the conscious decision to move back into the social enterprise space.”

He returned to Canada to lead to the marketing and sales initiatives at Good Foot Delivery, a social enterprise that provides meaningful employment to the neuro-diverse community through a professional courier service.

“What excites me most about joining the Tapestry team is the chance to help scale a proven solution. Tapestry has seen the success and impact of community bonds. The method is tried and tested. I am excited to help even more organizations all across Canada to take advantage of this model.”

In his free time, Sattu is an avid violinist and loves to listen to stand up comedy.

We hope you will have the pleasure of getting to know Sattu and working with him on a community bond campaign. “I am always free to have a coffee and a chat,” says Sattu. If you’d like to connect with him, you can email him at satyameet@tapestrycapital.ca.

Kingsway College School (KCS) Senior School

Kingsway College School launches $4M Community Bond Campaign

Par | 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. 

Resources for Raising Community Bonds

Par | News

Sometimes organizations want to do a bit of their own homework on Community Bonds before they reach out to us. This is why we have launched our new resources page, to give you and your team the tools you need to explore and evaluate the option of community financing at your own speed.

“We want organizations to be able to self-select whether this is a good fit for them or not,” says Ryan Collins-Swartz, Co-Executive Director of Tapestry. “Through our experience helping to raise and manage over $70 million in community bonds, we have come to realize what works and what doesn’t. We want organizations to use these tools to say either, ‘yes, this is a great fit for my project’ or ‘no, we aren’t quite there yet.’

Community bonds are still a very new concept to most. This means there is often a good deal of educating that needs to take place at the Senior and Board level before organizations feel comfortable exploring this idea in greater detail.

“Once they dig into these resources and see how others have done it and succeeded, they walk away confident that they too can realize their visions with the help of community finance,” says Ryan. 

On our new resources page you will find two case studies that can be downloaded free of charge. These walk you through the amazing stories of how the Argonaut Rowing Club and The Mount Community Centre raised community bonds to transform community real estate. 

There is also an in-depth guide written by the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), who have now raised over $8 million in community bonds, that tells their story and shares their wealth of experience.

“We are very happy to have all these tools easily available online now, and hope that this will improve the accessibility, and general awareness, of community bonds across Canada,” says Ryan. 

For those that have explored these resources and wish to move further in their research, we offer a 3-hour workshop designed to bring your team together to further evaluate how community bonds can work for your project. 

Join our Board of Directors

Par | News

In a time of exciting growth, our parent organization – TREC Renewable Energy Cooperative – is looking to expand its Board of Directors.

TREC has incubated and launched several organizations that solve environmental challenges and advance the power of community economic development in Canada, including WindShare, SolarShare, and Relay Education.

TREC’s most recent venture is Tapestry Community Capital. At Tapestry, we support social purpose organizations across Canada to raise and manage community investment. Our clients are cooperatives, not-for-profits, and charities engaged in developing renewable energy, and social purpose real estate such as: housing, arts venues, recreation facilities, community hubs, co-working spaces, and innovation centres.

We know that more diverse, equitable and inclusive leadership will lead to greater innovation and amplified impact. This is why TREC is actively seeking to improve the diversity of our Board of Directors. We are particularly seeking representation from people of colour, rural communities, Indigenous groups, and those that identify as
LGBTQ2S++, and encourage applicants from equity seeking groups.

In our most recent episode of Café Tapestry, we had the opportunity to speak to Rebecca Black, long standing TREC Board Member, Co-Founder of Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) and Designer & Communicator at Black Current Marketing. Rebecca shared her experience of being a Member of the Board, what she has learned over the years, and how this opportunity has helped her to develop new skills and shape her career.

Watch the full episode below to learn more about what it is like to be a Member of the TREC Board.

For those interested in applying, please read the full description here.

Join us for Café Tapestry

Par | 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

Par | 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.

Centre for Social Innovation 192 Spadina Location

Centre for Social Innovation Closes Raise of $1.9M!

Par | 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.

What is the Investment Readiness Program?

Par | 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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