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March 23, 2015
Community Capital Management Outlines Plans for $100 Million in Rural Development Bonds
    by Robert Kropp

The Florida based fixed income investment adviser published a report in which it reveals that it plans to invest $100 million in bonds financing rural community development.

As the 2014 Trends Report of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment makes clear, community investment remains a comparatively small percentage of sustainable assets, but is a critically important response to the consequences of entrenched and increasing wealth inequality.

The fixed income products that make up the bulk of community investment provide stability to the portfolios of sustainable investors, as they are lower risk that equity investments while offering modest financial returns. At least as important is the fact that community investment fulfills the social justice mission of sustainable investors as well.

Community Capital Management (CCM), a Florida based fixed income investment adviser, has been a leading community investment firm since its establishment in 1998. According to a recent paper published by CCM, the firm has invested nearly $7 billion in community investment initiatives since then.

In its paper, CCM announced a new investment initiative consisting of $100 million in bonds to finance rural community development. Rural communities face unique challenges, and generally face different opportunities and limitations to achieving prosperity relative to their urban and suburban counterparts,” the paper states. “More than 35% of the people living in completely rural counties live in high-poverty counties and more than 26% live in persistent poverty counties.”

Opportunities for economic growth in rural areas include tourism and outdoor activity; according to CCM, “The outdoor economy is the economic output that results from the protection and sustainable use of America’s lands and waters.” Opportunities also present in sustainable agriculture, the goals of which “include environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity,” the paper continues.

The paper also describes CCM's investment strategy, “a positive screening approach to identify bonds that finance or support initiatives in rural and underserved communities. Fixed income investing through a diversified portfolio enables investors the opportunity to meet their financial goals while helping local communities to create a more sustainable economy.” Numerous examples of CCM's investments thus far are included in the paper as well.

“Rural communities face unique challenges, and generally face different opportunities and limitations to achieving prosperity relative to their urban and suburban counterparts,” said Barbara VanScoy, co-founder and chief impact investment officer of CCM. “Our goal with the $100 million initiative is to channel more monies into financing community and economic development initiatives in rural and underserved communities nationwide.”

“Rural community development is an important component of our economy and we hope that our initiative is just one way to help these communities achieve prosperity,” added chief investment strategist David Sand.


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