‘Deaconess dollars’ a welcome investment in community

Katie ArnoldJP In The News, News

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Foundation seeks proposals

 11:46 AM CDT October 8, 2021

ST. LOUIS — The Deaconess Foundation is accepting proposals for up to $600,000 in community investment funding through its mission-related investments initiative.

The initiative provides low-interest loans to social impact organizations with capital management and a strong commitment to advancing the health and well-being of children and families in the St. Louis region.

Kiesha Davis, director of partnership and capacity building at Deaconess Foundation, said, “We have an opportunity within our portfolio to support mission-related investments through low-interest loans to social impact organizations that have a strong commitment to the health and well-being of children and families in our region.”

Mission-related investments are part of the Foundation’s commitment to spending up to two percent of the market value of the Foundation’s endowment, or up to $1 million, on community investments.

“I would say this work is very crucial, especially since we are navigating an economic downturn created by the global pandemic,” Davis said. “We know that there are many social impact organizations working on behalf of families and the community that could use additional capital.”

The Foundation has supported many mission-related investments over the years, including Justine PETERSEN’s initiative to provide 200 low- and moderate-income families with children the opportunity to increase their wealth and assets through participation in asset-building services.

“The Deaconess dollars have directly resourced familial financial asset building, which is not just building financial assets for an individual but for the family in addition to inter-generational asset building, which is thinking about how asset building can transfer from one generation to the next,” said Galen Gondolfi, Justine PETERSEN senior loan counselor and chief communications officer.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website, a community development financial institution (CDFI) is a mission-driven financial institution that has been certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund.

“In our first partnership with a philanthropic organization as it relates to social impact investing, so in fact, the investment with Deaconess is monumental in many ways, not only for Justine PETERSEN but for community development financial institutions in St. Louis,” Gondolfi said.

CDFIs include credit unions, banks, loan funds, and venture capital funds that operate with a primary mission of serving low-income communities.