Reflections and Looking Ahead
Jan 31 2023
Since RSF Social Finance’s start in 1984, we’ve recognized money as a tool to create a better world. We have had the privilege over the decades to work alongside inspiring investors, donors, social enterprises, and partners committed to creating positive change regardless of what is happening in the broader market.
In the current moment, we continue to find hope and inspiration in the strength of our community. The following is a snapshot of the incredible work we supported in 2022 and what is motivating us in 2023.
Centering Social Enterprises
Last fall, when interest rates were on the rise, RSF took the opposite tack: We lowered borrower interest rates. This decision was influenced by the quarterly Community Pricing Gathering we convened in September and ongoing conversations with our community. The common theme: RSF investors care most about capital preservation and impact and less about maximizing their return. The enterprises RSF supports are addressing today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges while facing lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including supply chain disruptions, staffing challenges, higher tariffs, and inflation. We all want to do everything we can to help them thrive so they can continue their important work.
In 2022, we provided nearly $39 million in new loans, growing the portfolio to almost $100 million. Some recent additions to our lending portfolio include Boldr, Sunwealth, and Obran Health.
Boldr aims to interrupt the cycle of human exploitation and economic disparity by giving underserved communities worldwide access to digital skills training, meaningful employment, and career advancement. RSF provided Boldr with a line of credit to help fund its growing operations.
Sunwealth invests in solar projects that bring clean power, carbon reduction, cost savings, and jobs to diverse communities across the country. Partnering with skilled local solar installers, community organizations, local businesses, and investors, the company has financed over 575 projects, creating over 1,275 jobs and totaling 37 megawatts of solar capacity. RSF’s loan will finance new and existing solar projects, primarily in the Northeast U.S.
Obran Health is a portfolio of healthcare companies that deliver exceptional care by empowering caregivers through an employee cooperative model that provides employees with ownership and control. In an industry where caregivers typically are treated as cogs in a machine and burnout is chronic, Obran gives caregivers a share of profits and a voice in decision-making. RSF’s loan financed Obran’s acquisition of Physician’s Choice, a home healthcare company it intends to convert to an employee-owned cooperative.
Enabling Active Philanthropists
In addition to the loans we provided, RSF donors continue to be active philanthropists. Donor-advised fund clients provided 1,839 grants totaling over $40 million to nonprofits in 2022.
Two organizations that received multiple grants over the year were Choose Love Inc., a nonprofit providing refugees and displaced people with everything from lifesaving search-and-rescue boats to food and legal advice, and Grassroots International, an organization that connects people in the U.S. with global movements addressing the root causes of injustice and oppression.
Connecting through Kindness
In February, we launched the KindQ campaign, a fun and engaging quiz that tells you your kindness personality and provides customized resources for learning more about social impact initiatives that will likely be most meaningful for you. We appreciate all who participated. Stay tuned for a new and improved KindQ coming soon!
Regenerative Finance in 2023
In 2023, we’re deepening our commitment to regenerative finance. This equitable, relationship-based, holistic, and integrated approach is what’s needed to activate capital to help solve systemic problems.
This year, we are focused on fundraising for our Women’s Capital Collaborative and Racial Justice Collaborative to further support women- and BIPOC-led enterprises. We aim to provide more loans to organizations addressing climate solutions and are working to increase the portion of our loan dollars dedicated to that work.
We couldn’t do this work without you. Thank you for being part of the RSF community.
The RSF Executive Team
Dana Stranz, Vice President, Credit and Risk
Erika D. Williams, Vice President, Client Development
Jasper J. van Brakel, Chief Executive Officer
Michael Jones, Vice President, Lending Business Development
Michelle Bruno, Vice President, Operations
Sylvia Lee, Vice President, Finance