“For too long, low-income communities have been excluded from investments in healthy and sustainable housing and small businesses,” said Gina Foote, director of Impact Investment at Conservation Law Foundation. “With help from UnitedHealth Group and the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund, that’s finally beginning to change. This investment will lead to more vibrant and inclusive neighborhoods across southern New England.”
Small businesses and entrepreneurs form the backbones of thriving communities, and right now, they’re struggling. This is especially true in the low-income neighborhoods and communities of color hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 laid bare the profound impact that our neighborhoods have on our health. People in low-income communities of color living with higher… Continue reading Boosting Local Businesses
“Too many communities in Greater Boston have been plagued with disinvestment and unhealthy homes for generations,” said Maggie Super Church, Vice President of Healthy and Resilient Communities at Conservation Law Foundation. “Old, entrenched investment models for housing and small business exclude low-income communities and worsen disparities in health and sustainability. This investment from Dana-Farber will lead to healthier, more resilient neighborhoods and we can’t wait to get to work.”
This report provides an overview of our experience with the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund (HNEF). We hope to inform other efforts investing in housing and retail in ways that can lead to equitable changes in neighborhood health and environmental conditions.
I grew up in communities that needed environmental justice the most. I also lived in neighborhoods that already had the resources and ability to make change. Still, I didn’t understand the difference or know what the environmental world called the movement until later in life. I could only connect the dots when I had more access to education and a framework for understanding the issue.
In times of change and upheaval, there is also room for hope and inspiration. While we collectively have much hard work ahead of us, we also have much to commend. Our hope is that this report offers insight into the work that your support makes possible – and inspiration for what we know we can accomplish together.
The neighborhood improved, but was still rough around the edges, said Maggie Church, senior adviser at Conservation Law Foundation, a New England community group.
The Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund is a groundbreaking example of impact investing that marries margin and mission in a marketable fund focused on social determinants of health in the built environment.
Completing a new neighborhood development is just the beginning of the story. The true success of such targeted investment will come with the changes it brings to a community over time. That’s where Vedette Gavin, CLF’s Director of Research, comes in. “The reality is that the relationship between development and health is extremely complex,” she says.
Why is it so difficult to finance the development of healthy neighborhoods when the benefits to people, communities, and the economy are so profound? The answer, at least in part, lies in the fact that these benefits are not generally measured or accounted for in any systematic way.