CSRwire - Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire

Trillium Asset Management adds another CARS-rated CDFI, Coastal Enterprises Inc., to list of offered community investments

Trillium Asset Management Corporation (Trillium) recently added Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI), a CARS-rated Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), based in Wiscasset, ME, to its list of Community Investment organizations that are available for client investment. 'CEI is well known for providing financing to job-creating small, medium and micro enterprises, natural resource ventures in the farm, fish and forest sectors as well as the child care, and affordable housing sectors. Trillium clients are actively seeking opportunities to make direct investments that have these high social and environmental impacts. We believe that CEI is a great complement to our existing Community Investing portfolio,' said Randall P. Rice, Trillium's Community Investment Manager. 'We are pleased to have been positively rated by CARS, and the new relationship with Trillium confirms its importance,' said Ron Phillips, President of CEI. 'People who are committed to social investing have many options, and must be assured that the ones they choose pass financial muster by independent reviewers. CEI's AAA rating for demonstrated impact and policy leadership only further enhanced CARS' judgment of our sound financial strength,' added Mr. Phillips. A growing number of Trillium's clients are asking for investment opportunities with direct community impact. In response, Trillium plans to add more CARS-rated CDFIs to its current Community Investing portfolio of domestic and international loan funds, credit unions and community banks. 'Trillium strongly encourages any domestic CDFI we are looking at to get CARS rated. When we look at CDFI loan funds, we look to CARS ratings reports to augment our own risk assessment and due diligence process. A CDFI that goes through the rigorous CARS ratings process makes a commitment to transparency. That is important to us and to our clients,' Mr. Rice continued. Four community development financial institutions (CDFIs) were rated by the CDFI Assessment and Ratings System (CARS) in the first quarter of 2010. The total number of CARS rated CDFIs is now 51. The four CDFIs who demonstrated their commitment to transparency and rigorous performance standards by being rated in the first quarter of 2010 are:
  • First State Community Loan Fund (Wilmington, DE)
  • Mercy Loan Fund (national service area, based in Denver, CO) -- second rating
  • Primary Care Development Corporation (New York, New York) -- second rating
  • Ways to Work (national service area, based in Milwaukee, WI)

CARS rates loan funds (nonbank CDFIs) that invest in communities and create opportunities for low-income and low-wealth people. CDFI loan funds rated by CARS serve communities across the U.S. and include small, regional loan funds with a singular focus as well as large, complex national institutions. CARS-rated CDFIs provide financing and mission-driven services that support affordable housing, small and environmentally sustainable businesses, microenterprises, community facilities, and cooperatives. About Trillium Founded in 1982, Trillium Asset Management Corp. is the oldest and largest independent investment advisor devoted exclusively to sustainable and responsible investing. Trillium manages investment portfolios for high net worth families and individuals, foundations, endowments, religious institutions and other non-profits. Trillium made its first direct community investment in 1984. More information is available at www.trilliuminvest.com. About CEI Founded in 1978, CEI’s Coastal Enterprises Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. It does that through rural business financing and technical assistance for companies that will create jobs, improve the economic development in their areas, or offer environmental benefits - in their products or in their regions.
 CEI has financed over 2000 businesses, created or preserved nearly 25,000 jobs, and manages US$715 million of invested capital. It has been recognized by 15 top national leadership organizations and foundations for its unique expertise in rural business development and finance. More information is available at www.ceimaine.org. About CARS CARS, the CDFI Assessment and Ratings System, is an independent project of Opportunity Finance Network. Launched in 2004 to promote performance as a primary criterion determining the flow of capital through CDFIs and to promote standardization of information and industry-wide performance standards, CARS is the only ratings system of its kind. Ratings include an assessment of impact performance and financial strength and performance. Ratings are based on five years of historical performance and cover a projected three-year period with annual updates in subsequent years. CARS publishes a list of CDFIs who are scheduled for an upcoming rating, and also provides an on-demand CDFI rating service for investors. More information about CARS is available at www.carsratingsystem.net. About Opportunity Finance Network Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the leading national network of more than 160 private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) who deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. To date, the opportunity finance industry has financed more than US$25 billion in underserved markets in all 50 states, yielding more than 200,000 jobs, 500,000 housing units, and 5,000 community facility projects.

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