Investing In Our Community's Future

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Waterloo Region will soon have additional housing units and emergency shelter support thanks in part to the KWCF's Impact Investing Program.

During 2017, both Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region and Housing Cambridge received impact investments from the KWCF to help cover the cost of housing and shelter projects, allowing the two organizations to redirect resources to other community initiatives.

For the past few years, the KWCF has granted in excess of $3 million annually throughout the Waterloo Region. The KWCF Board determined there was an additional tool they could add to their toolkit to benefit the community. Impact Investing is an approach to investing that
intentionally seeks to have a positive social and/or environmental impact while also generating a financial return.

“Impact investments can complement grant-making to drive greater impact,” explains Deborah M. Currie, Board Chair of the KWCF. “By directing a percentage of the assets from KWCF’s fixed-term portfolio towards impact investments at charities, not-for-profits, and social purpose businesses, the funds can be generating measurable social, environmental, and community benefit while providing financial returns for the KWCF for future granting.”
The charities that have received the impact investments are already using the funds to do more good in the communities they serve. Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region (WCSWR) received an impact investment specifically to reduce the interest cost on loans that were required to complete Haven House.

“As a result of securing this loan, we were able to save financially, which in turn eased the burden of other incurring expenses,” says Mary Zilney, former CEO of WCSWR.

“The funds saved were allocated to ongoing programming for the clients we serve.”

For Housing Cambridge, receiving an impact investment loan meant being able to purchase property that will be converted into affordable housing units.

“One of the biggest challenges that Housing Cambridge faces is finding the financial resources to purchase suitable properties for development,” explains Steve Garrison, General Manager of Housing Cambridge. “The KWCF’s Impact Investing program has allowed us to make a significant contribution to the purchase of the old Satellite Motel property, in partnership with our private sector developer.”

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Affordable housing was identified as a priority area for Waterloo Region through the Wellbeing Waterloo Region initiative, and these investments will start to tackle this issue in a sustainable way.

For more information on Impact Investing and how it is being used as another strategy at the KWCF to support the community, please visit If you would like to discuss partnering with the KWCF on future impact investments in the community, contact Elizabeth Heald at 519-725-1806 x 201 or

Click here to download and read the KWCF's 2017 Annual Report.