GCF Donors Propel Social Change Through Impact Investing

Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has a 20-year history of impact investing with our visionary donors to generate social change. This innovative approach enables investments with a financial return and social return to tackle large-scale issues that affect the wellbeing of the entire region.

One of those critical issues with deep implications for the region is affordable housing. There is an estimated deficit of 40,000 housing units that are affordable and available to low-income households in Hamilton County. [1] 57% of Black female renters in the city of Cincinnati of all income levels are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on housing.[2] Because housing is a major social determinant with many collateral benefits contributing to health, economic mobility and education outcomes, it is an optimal strategy for impact investment.

GCF developed the Affordable Housing Impact Investing Pool (AHIIP)in partnership with Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) and seeded it with a $1 million impact investment that offers loans for pre-development costs related to producing and preserving quality affordable rentals. Understanding the importance of affordable housing to the region, more than 30 incredible GCF donors and counting joined the effort to create safe, quality and affordable housing in various Greater Cincinnati neighborhoods by investing $8 million in AHIIP.

GCF, together with its donors and partners, has created a movement featuring public-private partnerships to solve the affordable housing crisis in Greater Cincinnati. AHIIP has raised close to $9 million in less than two years, far exceeding the initial five-year goal of $5 million. 12 loans were made to create 400+ affordable housing units. This impact investing opportunity has hit the triple bottom line: secure investment with guaranteed return, affordable housing for families and growth opportunities for small and minority businesses. Above all, the social change catalyzed by this program is invaluable.

[1] LISC: (2017) Housing Affordability in Hamilton County
[2] National Equity Atlas