A group of New Mexico investors has raised $11 million – the first chunk of an anticipated $100 million – for a new fund created specifically for impact investing in the state.
The Local Impact Fixed Income Targeted Investment New Mexico fund, dubbed “LIFT New Mexico,” is organized by Groundworks New Mexico and the New Mexico Impact Investment Collaborative. It’s managed by RBC Global Asset Management.
Impact investing – an investment strategy that merges philanthropic goals with profitable financial returns – has been a growing industry for years. LIFT organizers say it will benefit poor and disadvantaged communities in the state.
“The objective … is to strengthen community development and advance socio-economic, health and racial equity in New Mexico by attracting more capital and investors for social good,” said Groundworks NM Executive Director Frank Lopez. “We have high aspirations to enable our local entrepreneurs and businesses to gain access to loans and resources that can lead to job creation and economic growth in underserved communities.”
It’s the first fund of its kind in New Mexico, Lopez added.
The prospect of spreading impact investing in New Mexico inspired Anchorum St. Vincent to become one of LIFT’s founding funders, said Joohee Rand, vice president of philanthropy and impact investing.
“One of the reasons why we created the New Mexico investment collaborative is because impact investing in general is a really growing field for both philanthropy and private investors and public funds, but it is hard to find those opportunities in New Mexico,” Rand said.
The initiative is not based on venture investing. Rather, it’s a fixed-income initiative that allows investors and local community development institutions to channel more money into local projects and initiatives with social impacts while earning a return from interest rates attached to loans, said Ron Homer, RBC’s chief impact investing strategist.
“We are helping lenders provide loans in under-resourced communities that facilitate wealth creation opportunities for the residents of New Mexico that need it most,” Homer said. “Our goal is to raise at least $100 million. The sooner the better because the need is great.”
An identical fund set up by RBC in California has provided loans to construct 8,000-10,000 housing units for the chronically homeless, support a veteran-owned business that specializes in fire safety and prevention in an area affected by wild fires, assist a Black-owned coffee shop, and help a law firm that defends immigrant rights.
Apart from Anchorum St. Vincent, initial investors include the McCune Charitable Foundation and CHRISTUS St. Vincent.