Our History & Founders
Sustainable Communities Fund was formally established in 2007 with the goal to make investments that impact impoverished communities within the United States and internationally. Since that time, SCF has been capitalized by donations from the founders of National New Markets Fund (NNMF), a joint venture partnership between Strategic Development Solutions (SDS) and Economic Innovations International (EII). NNMF, upon its exit from a New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) investment (at the end of the required 7-year compliance period), donates 100% of any received exit fee to SCF. This enables the initial taxpayer-supported NMTC subsidies to continue to benefit extremely high-poverty communities as the money is reinvested through SCF’s revolving ‘evergreen’ investment fund. SCF began its investment activities benefiting low-income persons and communities–nationally and internationally–in June of 2011.
In the inaugural investment year (2011), SCF made 3 investments totaling $ 102,500 with a core focus on innovative and high-impact microfinance organizations: FINCA Haiti, Accion Texas Inc. (Louisiana borrowers) and Accion Texas Inc. (Texas borrowers). SCF is continuing its investment focus to include microfinance as well as other organizations addressing poverty alleviation suited to SCF’s targeted investment criteria.
Ms. Deborah La Franchi and Mr. Belden Daniels are the founders of SCF. Their past joint efforts include fund building efforts across the country and internationally. Ms. La Franchi and her firm, Strategic Development Solutions (www.sdsgroup.com) and Mr. Daniels and his company, Economic Innovation International (www.economic-innovation.com) have worked together for more than 12 years. Their experience in jointly launching more than $2 billion of Double and Triple Bottom Line investment funds targeting impoverished communities and their joint management of the National New Markets Fund since 2006, has led them to the development of SCF. Both entities, SDS and EII, have collectively provided the seed capital donations to launch SCF through NNMF derived fees and principal repayments. By leveraging their 60 years of collective economic and community development experience the founders are growing SCF into a successful investment vehicle that creatively address the root causes of poverty and disparities that exist in low-income communities around the world.