Social good and profit can go hand in hand.

By leveraging impact investing strategies, philanthropy and market-based solutions work together to address our region’s most pressing social challenges.

One such example is through low-interest loans, a model recently put into action through a new partnership between The San Diego Foundation and local nonprofit Operation HOPE – North County.

Low-interest loans are becoming an increasingly popular financial option within the philanthropic sector. This model enables organizations and donors to deploy charitable dollars in ways that generate a social and financial return.

As loans are repaid, funds become available for use with other projects, creating a continual recycling of charitable capital.

“The San Diego Foundation has been pursuing innovative investment models that broaden the type of support we can provide to the region’s nonprofit community,” explained Jim Howell, Chief Financial Officer at The San Diego Foundation. “Our partnership with Operation HOPE – North County is the perfect example of how we can leverage our charitable assets to strengthen an organization during a period of growth.”

Helping Children and Families

Operation HOPE – North County provides a safe environment for homeless families with children and single women to help support rebuilding lives. Its shelter offers a clean, warm, and welcoming setting that encourages a stable family dynamic, enhancing the ability to recover self-sufficiency.

For the past several years, the organization has been able to serve more and more homeless San Diegans. However, rising interest rate payments on a loan held by Operation HOPE started to make those efforts more challenging. Without a solution, the loan payments would begin to cut into the organization’s ability to serve more families and children.

That’s when impact investing became a viable solution.

This October, The San Diego Foundation made an impact investment to Operation HOPE – North County that allowed the organization to refinance a significant expense on an existing banknote, when conventional bank finance was prohibitively expensive.

“Operation HOPE-North County depends on the support and generosity of our donors to sustain our mission,” explained Charity Singleton, Executive Director of Operation HOPE. “With an affordable means of paying off the remaining debt, we are now able to focus on developing expanded services which will strengthen the ability to ensure success for the majority of our families.”

The savings from the low-interest loan have allowed Operation HOPE – North County to re-deploy operating resources toward its programs and services for families in need and working toward self-sufficiency.

Charity shared, “The partnership with The San Diego Foundation has given us the opportunity to cover our debt with very reasonable and fair terms. This, in turn, allows us to continue our mission, as we help families get off the streets and out of their cars. We want each person in our program to understand that they are capable and worthy of thriving and providing for their families. It is gratifying to see The San Diego Foundation roll up their sleeves and get into the trenches with non-profit organizations who are working to help others in need.”

Get Involved

As was the case with The San Diego Foundation and Operation HOPE – North County partnership, philanthropy is often better positioned than traditional investor capital to provide financial security, stability and growth.

Through impact investing strategies, The San Diego Foundation is bringing new, innovative tools to donors and nonprofit partners who together help strengthen our San Diego region.

Learn more