June 12, 2002
New PRI Opportunity Garners Flexible Capital for Award-Winning Community Development Corporations
By Calvert Foundation
Calvert Foundation has created a well-structured program related investment (PRI) opportunity that
for the first time allows funders to buy-into a PRI Offering, combining strong credit quality and
convenience with significant community impact.
The first round of investment into the SEA Corp PRI placed over $1.32 million of capital into ten
Community Development Corporations (CDCs), recipients of the Fannie Mae Foundations’ Sustained
Excellence Award. Over the last three years, SEA Corp members generated more than 1500 units of
affordable housing, bringing much needed housing and community facilities to families in
In the fall of 2000 these
award-winning CDCs joined together to launch a new nonprofit organization, the Sustained Excellence
Alliance Corporation (SEA Corp). This grassroots initiative partners exemplary institutions that
are committed to building affordable housing in the context of improving their entire community.
Whether incorporating financial literacy training for youth in Washington, D.C.’s inner city
(Manna), transitional jobs programs in Minneapolis (Project for Pride in Living) or childcare
facilities in Los Angeles (NEW Economics for Women), the organizations fulfill a range of needs in
their communities beyond affordable housing.
The SEA Corp PRI offering is structured to
provide credit enhancements and portfolio diversification, while allowing participating investors
to target their capital to one or more of the selected organization. Calvert Foundation’s aim has
been to bolster investor confidence while make this type of PRI more accessible
to educate funders and other investors new to PRIs about how they can incorporate investments on
softer, more flexible terms into their philanthropic strategy,” says Shari Berenbach, Executive
Director of the Calvert Foundation. “The strategy we used for SEA Corp PRI can now be replicated to
raise funding for many other community development initiatives.”
While program related
investments (PRIs) have been around for more than thirty years, many foundations and high net worth
individuals have not pursued this option given questions of credit quality and administrative
burden. Calvert Foundation has paved the way for others to invest in high impact community
development corporations by structuring this unique collaborative PRI offering.
Corp PRI raised, and continue to raise, pre-development capital for these ten organizations. This
“seed” capital equips the CDC with the resources it needs to identify a project and incubate its
development through to the construction phase. The availability of pre-development capital will
significantly increase the capacity of the CDCs by allowing more effective planning and more timely
procurement of properties.
George Rothman of Manna explains, “This new low interest money
will provide Manna with working capital funds that cover pre-development work -architectural
design, removal of hazardous materials, legal and engineering fees - for a 30-unit condominium for
very low income folks in one of Washington's most distressed neighborhoods.”
organizations to place capital in the first round of the SEA Corp PRI include Valley National Bank,
Deutsche Bank, F.B. Heron Foundation, State Farm Bank, the Needmor Fund, Calvert Foundation and
Sisters of St Joseph Carondellet, Los Angeles. This group (banks, religious institutions and
foundations) is representative of the diverse nature of institutions that can achieve their social
impact goals through this unique PRI. Kathleen Starr of the F.B. Heron Foundation commended this
initiative saying “We appreciated Calvert working to structure a deal that enables investors to
work with these ten high-performing affordable housing groups in an efficient manner.”
addition to offering this combined PRI, SEA Corp creates a cooperative environment for the CDCs to
share their experiences and knowledge to create synergies that can increase their overall community
The ten members of SEA Corp are Abyssinian Development Corporation (NY), Asian Americans for Equality, Inc. (NY), Chinatown Community Development Center (CA), Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance (MO), Manna, Inc. (DC), New Economics for Women(CA), People’s Self-Help Housing Corporation (CA), Project for Pride in Living, Inc. (MN), The Resurrection Project (IL), Southern Mutual Help Association (LA).
SEA Corp continues to actively
seek investments starting at a minimum of $25,000. Click
here for more details.
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