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San Diego Business Journal: Firm’s impact investing puts community in lending equation

by | Mar 21, 2018 | News


By Sarah de Crescenzo

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Kris Schlesser of community borrower LuckyBolt stands in front of prepared lunches

Kris Schlesser founded meal delivery and preparation company LuckyBolt, which organizes deliveries at no additional cost to customers. Photo by Stephen Whalen.

 — A group of San Diego investors is betting on locally based nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to the tune of $10 million.

That’s the total amount the firm, Mission Driven Finance, plans to invest by year’s end.

Since launching Mission Driven has deployed a total of $1.1 million, backing companies that employ artisans in Africa, deliver meals to busy office workers in three metropolitan areas, and teach children from 45 ZIP codes across San Diego County.

The idea for the firm, which was founded in 2016, originated within the San Diego Impact Investors Network, a collaborative group within San Diego Grantmakers, an association of more than 100 funders that collaboratively and strategically give to multiple nonprofits each year. Impact or sustainable investing takes into consideration factors such as social or environmental impact in addition to financial returns.

“As we were analyzing what was needed to spur more deal flow in the area — more businesses and nonprofits that are right for this kind of financing, more investors that are ready, more of the consultants and wraparound elements that are necessary to draw in state, national and global capital to the San Diego region — one of the things that was needed was a business like ours,” said David Lynn, CEO of Mission Driven Finance and executive committee member at the Investors Network. “While there are other ones like us in other parts of the country, there wasn’t anybody really with a presence here and without a local presence, you can’t do the community-based lending that we focus on.”

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