Donations to new fund will keep revolving into communities in need
Several founding members of the Leviticus Fund recently announced the creation of the Legacy Fund at the nonprofit’s annual meeting, held virtually.
In May of 1983, 27 religious communities invested $360,000 to form the Leviticus 25:23 Alternative Fund. Earlier this year, several of the founders of the Leviticus Fund invited early supporters to convert their investments to donations and in so doing, create the Legacy Fund.
Investments from religious communities are a vital part of Leviticus’ lending pool, but converting an investment to a donation multiplies its mission impact.
“A grant increases the amount added to our lending capital base in two ways that a subvention does not,” said Greg Maher, Executive Director of the Leviticus Fund. “First, it serves as a dollar-for-dollar matching grant when we apply to the federal CDFI Fund. Second, by converting a subvention to a donation, we can leverage additional borrowing on at least a 3:1 basis. Because a subvention is considered repayable debt on our balance sheet, we cannot borrow against it.”
Following a soft launch in early 2021, five member communities have joined the Legacy Fund. The first conversion from subvention to donation was received on the day after Easter from the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt. They were soon joined by Crusade for Family Prayer, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Ursuline Sisters of Roman Union, and Franciscan Sisters of Peace.
“I very clearly remember that first annual meeting,” said Sister Patricia Wolf, RSM, founding President of the Board of the Leviticus Fund. The founding members “took a risk on Leviticus, and now … nearly 40 years later, Leviticus is still here. Joining the Legacy Fund extends their membership in perpetuity.”
The Legacy Fund is a permanently restricted fund to be used exclusively for lending capital. Unlike traditional grants, this gift will never be “spent down” – but will keep revolving into communities in need. Through donations to the Legacy Fund, Leviticus’ members will continue to relieve poverty and suffering by investing in community-focused efforts that foster social, economic, environmental, and racial justice.
“By pooling their resources, our founders knew they could do more for those with less,” Maher continued. “Since then, Leviticus has invested more than $142 million to create, rehabilitate, or preserve homes and childcare centers, charter public schools and job-creating economic development projects in marginalized communities. We have touched thousands of lives in cities, towns, and rural areas across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Vermont.”
About The Leviticus Fund
The Leviticus Fund is a non-profit 501c3 organization certified as a Community Development Financial Institution. We support innovative efforts to bring affordable housing, quality education, health care, nutritious food and economic opportunities to vulnerable communities. Leviticus’ mission is rooted in the economic justice values of its investors, who are primarily communities of religious women and men.