CIRF’s Up!

$1.5 Million Gift Fuels Impact Investments Benefitting Local Teachers, Farmers

“Do you know where your money sleeps at night? How well does your investment portfolio align with your values?”

- Morgan Simon

Those questions were posed at a recent local conference by impact investing author Morgan Simon. Thanks to a landmark gift of $1.5 million from an anonymous donor, and using board-designated funds from our endowment, we are actively aligning over $3 million of our assets with our values in the 831 area code.

A new way to invest in local solutions

Only, these funds are anything but “sleeping at night.” They’re hard at work in Santa Cruz County, teachers access the dream of homeownership, supporting farmers who strengthen our sustainable food system, easing our housing affordability crisis with workforce housing. As this capital gets deployed to address social issues affecting our community, the interest payments from the loans and the eventual repayment will get recycled for new local initiatives. Hence the name for the fund, the Community Investment Revolving Fund or CIRF.

Donor gift swells impact

More about this landmark gift. The CIRF was designed to fill local funding gaps and invest strategically in organizations making Santa Cruz County a better, more equitable place to live. We suspected it wouldn’t be long before donors dropped in on the wave, and invested their own philanthropic dollars in the fund. We were thrilled when an anonymous donor stepped forward with an extraordinary $1.5 million gift. It enabled us to make significant increases in our loans to FarmLink’s farmers and the local teachers getting downpayment assistance through Landed. Our staff’s eyes are on the horizon, scouting out the next opportunities so that as the CIRF grows, so will the deals benefiting our community.

Giving that builds community wealth

“Our donors are always looking for ways to support causes they care about,” said CEO Susan True. “Through this fund, we can harness the power of capital working in our own backyard.” Donors to the fund have the option to make their investment from an existing donor advised fund or make gifts (of $25,000 or more) directly to the Community Investment Revolving Fund. While the fund is new and is the first of its kind locally, we see it as an important tool with a bright future for accelerating positive social outcomes in Santa Cruz County.

Contribute to the Community Investment Revolving Fund

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Sam Leask

To learn more about making a gift to the Community Investment Revolving Fund at 831.662.2060 or