The National New Markets Fund, LLC (NNMF) is an investment partnership created by Strategic Development Solutions (SDS) and Economic Innovation International, Inc., two mission-driven firms based on opposite coasts—SDS in Los Angeles and Economic Innovation in Boston—that partner in investments that target low-income communities across the country. The Fund has received $312 million in New Markets Tax Credit Allocation awarded by the United States Department of Treasury. While NNMF has the ability to invest nationally when projects meet it impact criteria, it largely targets its investments to communities with the highest levels of economic distress by targeting the Gulf Opportunity Zone, various communities throughout the South, and the Great Lakes region. NNMF invests in all key asset categories including mixed-use, workforce and affordable housing, industrial, commercial retail, office buildings, hospitality, and community facilities. Other investment considerations includes projects that are located in areas that face endemic poverty issues, high unemployment and crime; have strong support from public and private sectors, community leaders, and residents; catalyze economic revitalization in the surrounding community and its infrastructure; and achieve high environmental sustainability impacts. Ultimately, NNMF targets real estate development projects and investments into businesses and nonprofits that have strong potential to improve communities by creating and retaining jobs, building wealth, increasing wages and providing essential community services such as healthcare and education.
Deborah La Franchi is the founder and CEO of Strategic Development Solutions (SDS). SDS develops innovative market-driven approaches to economic development and has built and capitalized more than $2 billion of Double and Triple Bottom Line private-equity funds with its affiliated partner Economic Innovation International, Inc. The three bottom lines of these funds are: (1) market rates of return, (2) positive community/social impacts, and (3) environmental sustainability. The two firms also jointly manage the $312 million National New Markets Fund, LLC, an allocation of federal tax credits for real estate projects in low-income communities. Ms. La Franchi is a co-author of the Double Bottom Line Handbook funded by the Ford Foundation. During the past four years, SDS’ Nonprofit Capacity Building Division has secured $15 million in grants for nonprofit clients serving high-poverty communities. SDS and Economic Innovation created Sustainable Communities Fund (SCF) in 2007 to make investments that impact impoverished communities in the United States and internationally. SCF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that recently launched the SCF Microfinance and Community Venture Fund of Funds. The Fund invests debt or equity into micro-finance funds, as well as community venture capital funds with a demonstrated track record of success. Prior to founding SDS in 2001, Ms. La Franchi was the First President/CEO of Genesis LA, a nonprofit with six funds ($450 million) targeting low-income communities. Prior, Ms. La Franchi served as Assistant Deputy Mayor for Economic Development under Mayor Riordan (Los Angeles), spearheading many of the City’s economic development and reform initiatives.
Belden Hull Daniels is the founder and CEO of Economic Innovation International, Inc., a firm internationally recognized for building more than $100 billion of privately capitalized funds designed to accomplish civic and public purposes in 37 states and 21 nations of North America, Europe and Asia since its founding in 1970. Since 1997, Economic Innovation has been the leader, in partnership with Strategic Development Solutions, in creating a new Double Bottom Line private equity industry in which large institutional investors join with community stakeholders to invest more than $5 billion of private capital in market-rate funds managed by world-class fund managers to rebuild poor neighborhoods. These Double Bottom Line Initiatives and private-equity Funds invest in low-income neighborhoods to produce superior market returns for large institutional investors—major banks, insurance companies, pension funds, university endowments, corporations and high-net-worth individuals—while simultaneously producing jobs, wealth and community revitalization for low-income residents. Funds that Economic Innovation has helped to build are found from Boston, Massachusetts to San Diego, California and Portland, Oregon to Miami, Florida, as well as in such difficult overseas environments as Northern Ireland, Central Europe, Puerto Rico and Palestine. Belden Hull Daniels is an attorney and former international banker in Asia who taught for many years at Harvard and MIT.