CIGP Welcomes Arnold Ventures and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to the Pool


In January 2022, the Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP) welcomed two new guarantors: Arnold Ventures and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. CIGP is a new, collaborative vehicle for impact investments that pioneers the use of guarantees in unlocking catalytic capital for community development projects. The addition of Arnold Ventures and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation will increase the Pool’s capacity to backstop innovative affordable housing, small business, and climate change finance solutions.

“We are thrilled to have Arnold Ventures and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation as the newest members of the Pool. First, because their commitments will grow the Pool and allow us to support more initiatives that advance more equitable economic development. Second, their investments confirm philanthropic support of CIGP’s vision for unlocking catalytic capital.” CIGP Executive Director Jim Baek said.

Winthrop Rockefeller COO & CFO Andrea Dobson shared, “we are committed to bringing a full range of resources on behalf of the Foundation to advance economic and racial equity. Investing in CIGP through unfunded guarantees enables us to add a unique tool for leveraging more of our resources towards this purpose. In addition, it allows us to introduce like-minded investors to opportunities in Arkansas that address the gaps in capital access.”

2021 was a milestone year for CIGP. The Pool issued its first set of small business guarantees – one for entrepreneurs unable to access working capital from traditional banks and another focused on affordable credit products for underserved immigrant business owners. The team capped the year by building a housing portfolio of over $15 million in guarantees which are expected to leverage another $131million of catalytic capital for a range affordable rental housing use cases.

Chris Hensman of Arnold Ventures said, “Affordable housing is an important new issue area for Arnold Ventures. We are encouraged by the range of new solutions that we see emerging in the sector. We’re excited to participate in the Pool and explore financial guarantees as a highly leverageable tool for helping to launch, test and scale the most promising of these housing strategies.”

The CIGP team too is very much looking forward to building on this progress. According to Jim Baek, “There’s still so much more we want to test and explore. For example, we are working to close our first climate guarantee which was approved late last year and that seeks to bring the benefits of community solar to low-and moderate-income households. We are also exploring guarantees that can drive homeownership access for households of color and entrepreneurship opportunities for people of color and women.  Our pipeline currently totals over $100m. To get these solutions across the finish line, we’re seeking partnerships with even more guarantors looking for new ways to use  their balance sheets for impact.”

About CIGP

The Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP) is a financing tool formed in December 2019 by impact investing organizations to create a pooled commitment of financial guarantees for intermediaries involved in affordable housing, small business, and climate lending. CIGP accelerates community investments by leveraging balance sheets for impact to make more and new types of community development transactions feasible. The initial guarantors that helped make CIGP possible are The Kresge FoundationThe Annie E. Casey FoundationThe California EndowmentChan Zuckerberg InitiativeCommonSpirit HealthGary Community InvestmentsJessie Ball duPont FundPhillips FoundationSeattle FoundationVirginia Community Capital, and Weingart Foundation. Since launch, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Arnold Ventures, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation have also joined as guarantors. Learn more about CIGP by watching this short video produced by The Kresge Foundation.

About unfunded guarantees

Unfunded guarantees are a financial tool in which a guarantor provides a beneficiary with assurances to compensate them for financial losses under specific circumstances. Importantly, in these transactions, the guarantor can use their balance sheet for the benefit of the recipient without expending any capital until the guarantee is called. While unfunded guarantees are not new to community development finance, CIGP is novel in providing guarantors with infrastructure though which to deploy guarantees and potential guarantee users with a single point of contact through which to access the balance sheets of multiple guarantors.

About LOCUS Impact Investing

The program manager for CIGP is LOCUS Impact Investing, a national social enterprise launched by Virginia Community Capital (a CDFI) to empower place-focused institutions to invest their capital locally to build prosperous, vibrant communities. LOCUS works with investors, underwriting guarantee commitments as well as monitoring and managing the portfolio for both impact and risk.