The Foundation for Regneneration is focused on blended finance harnessing the full capital continuum; traditional debt and equity, concessional, risk-transfer, insurance, and philanthropic capital to deliver economic, social, public health, and other benefits to people and communities. See our financial innovation initiatives below:
In partnership with the National Center for Economic Gardening, FFR is sponsoring 7 regional companies. We selected the inaugural cohort of Stage 2 Companies (more than 10 employees and USD $1 – 50 million in revenue) to participate in the National Center for Economic Gardening Program (“NCEG”). The 7 companies that are receiving 36 hours of strategic consulting from NCEG are Missouri Organic, Urban Lumber Company, Mark II Transfer Station, Clay & Bailey, Habitat Architects, Ruby Jean’s Juicery, and Blue Chip Roofing & Waterproofing.
Here is a short presentation on deliverables for each company: There will be a program evaluation upon completion at the year anniversary which reports on outcomes in terms of additional revenue and new jobs for these companies. The team is agile and could take up to 100 companies should we be able to fund 5k per company with partner funders.
Open Source Ecology and FFR entered into an MOU to pilot Seed Eco-home Affordable Housing. BNIM provided recommendations on the prototype model and the Novo Foundation provided $150k in funding. In December 2022, OSE led a workforce development program where 17 people were paid $30-$50 to construct the world’s first production Seed Eco-Home within city limits—an affordable, rapidly built, high performance single family home. The donated funds combined with a private loan of $250k allowed OSE to do two builds at different sizes. Expectations for sale for the first house is $190k (Summer 2023). Recommended watching is Dr. Marcin Jacoboski’s TED talk.
Building on a model pioneered in Indiana with Carbon Neutral Indiana, Carbon Positive KC is a disruptive climate funding model harnessing the power of local individuals, households, and businesses. CPKC is working to set a carbon price from the bottom’s up by analyzing and offsetting the carbon footprint of its members. CPKC is differentiated from many other carbon offset providers because it directs a portion of its funds to local regenerative projects that its members can see and feel. Through this channel the FFR is raising funds for its many other projects while helping local area households and businesses offset their carbon footprint.
Blended finance is about harnessing the full capital continuum; developing portfolios that blend traditional debt and equity, concessional, risk-transfer, insurance, and philanthropic capital to deliver economic, social, public health, and other benefits to people and communities.
During Summer 2023, FFR hired Quantified Ventures to support the design, capitalization, and scale of investible solutions that address the most pressing challenges facing BRV communities. Together we are honing in on a combination of financial tools that pull the levers of data, finance, innovation, partnerships, and policy to produce verified environmental and social outcomes. Examples are their Cincinnati Green Jobs model, Department of Defence REPI and Sentinel Landscapes Program, and the Urban Wood Economy.
We’ve supported the MARC EPA grant application and served on the Conservation Finance Working Group. The ReFocus Partners team developed this Financial Tools List.
- Microgrants: So far $2,500 1x and $12,500 2x provided to each of Eastwood Hills, Dunbar, and Noble neighborhood associations. These funds have supported school meals, urban agriculture, revenue generating venues, and basic needs like wifi, printer, security. Each neighborhood self defined what they most needed for use of funds.
- Impact Investments: FFR introductions for the Kansas City Community Foundation led to Capshift adding impact investing to their client management platform (about $2.8 billion under management) and now actively seeking local projects. We’ve also made introductions between Founders Ajia Morris and Jeff Mendelsohn that resulted in the creation of Local Code KC (https://www.localcode.co/) who acquired a 80k sq ft school in Oak Park neighborhood. We’ve included Hardesty in our BRV footprint and have been following Jonathan Arnold’s development here which has raised half of the $200 million site development requirements.
Here are some examples of Quantified Ventures work:
Outdoor Recreation Catalyzes Rural Economic Growth
Problem: Rural communities are facing tough financial times and searching for new ideas to breathe life into their local economy. Natural assets (e.g., forests, rivers, lakes, parks) can be developed into recreation destinations to diversify the economy, but this requires up-front investments in people, plans, and partnerships that most rural communities are not resourced to make.
Solution: The cities and towns of southeast Ohio are seeing a surge in visitors, tourist revenue, new jobs, and investments in local businesses thanks to the economic growth brought by the Baileys Trail System, an 88-mile premier mountain biking trail in the Wayne National Forest. Our pay-for-performance financing framework that blends economic development principles with outdoor recreation asset development has spurred cross-jurisdiction collaboration, attracted $11MM+ in funding and financing, and built local capacity to take advantage of future opportunities.
Novel Financing for Cleaner Water via Nature-Based Infrastructure
Problem: Government leaders face a common challenge with infrastructure projects: choose the business-as-usual approach or choose innovation, which may create better outcomes. Because it’s tested, the rational choice is typically business-as-usual, leaving innovation on the sidelines. Take Washington, DC’s combined sewer system, which needed upgrades to manage a growing population and increasingly severe and frequent storms that caused environmental damage to rivers and health risks for residents.
Solution: Quantified Ventures designed the first Environmental Impact Bond to make innovation the rational choice – in this case financing new green space to soak up more of the problematic stormwater. If it worked as predicted, DC would pay the investors back like a normal bond. If it didn’t, investors would absorb some of the cost, minimizing the risk. This new way for governments to pay for riskier projects connects project performance directly to the bond buyers’ return on investment so investors win when the city wins.
Outcomes-Based Financing in Sustainable Agriculture
Problem: Despite the benefits of regenerative farming practices – like reducing and removing greenhouse gases and harmful chemical runoff into waterways; improving biodiversity; and producing healthy, resilient, and productive soil – adoption rates for even the basic practices remain low across the U.S. New practices often mean new costs and a perception of new risks, and farmers need incentives to participate.
Solution: The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, which pays farmers to profitably implement regenerative practices with easy enrollment, an expert agronomy staff, and payments generated by sales of greenhouse gas emission reductions and water quality outcomes. More than 240,000 acres of farmland across 12 states has implemented these practices, unlocking $3.5 million+ in payments, preventing 2 million+ pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus from contaminating waterways, and sequestering carbon dioxide equivalent to eliminating 25,000 cars for a year. Recent awards from the USDA put the fund on track to grow to 5 million acres across 27 states.
Community Health Outcomes Fund
Problem: Demand for services from community-based organizations is increasing and is only amplified during public health emergencies, economic crises, and spikes in substance use and overdoses. But these organizations are already severely constrained – working overtime to try to meet the current economic, health, housing, training, and social needs of the at-risk people they serve.
Solution: A first-of-a-kind loan fund that non-profit service providers can use to increase service provider capacity to address the health-related needs of more people. The fund is initially focused on expanding a program that supports pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorder through comprehensive residential, outpatient, and community-based-services – allowing children to stay with their mothers. This fund is paired with efforts to build more reliable and sustainable revenue for community-based organizations through value-based contracts with Medicaid health plans – giving Medicaid health plans a vehicle to pay for what works and what improves member health.
A Healthier Alternative to a Shelter or the Streets
Problem: When individuals experiencing homelessness are discharged from the hospital, they often have limited options – and nearly 75% of these individuals end up in a shelter or on the streets. Many return quickly to the hospital or emergency room, creating an expensive cycle of declining health.
Solution: Value-based contracts with local Medicaid managed care organizations put Volunteers of America on a path to double Washington, DC’s capacity for the specialized housing solution called medical respite that aides individuals experiencing homelessness. This proven solution drives improved health and social outcomes for patients at materially reduced costs.
Home Services for Retirees Living Independently for Longer
Problem: There are 54M Americans over age 65, and 90% of them prefer to continue living in their own homes instead of moving into a senior living community. This means foregoing the expertise and services that come with those communities and, instead, coordinating daily needs like home maintenance, transportation, and meal preparation on their own through a potpourri of providers.
Solution: A new company (called Dorvie) that provides peace of mind and support for retirees and their families by delivering predictable and proactive concierge-based amenities – including home services, local experiences, and wellness offerings. Quantified Ventures partnered with executives from 13 of the largest non-profit aging services providers around the country to understand the market forces at play, develop a tech-enabled solution, and raise seed funding to launch a startup to revolutionize aging services for independent living.