I’m excited to share my thoughts about our new strategic plan, “Capital, Relationships, and Voice: Investing in Communities and Change.” It’s ambitious and aims to meet the challenges of our time, leveraging Craft3’s deep expertise in capital and financing in ways that can create enduring and systemic change. It’s a plan that was developed over a longer time horizon than our past plans and integrated the voices of our entire organization and external stakeholders and partners. As such, I think it will feel current and engaging to investors and partners. And it’s also not a solo effort, but one in which we plan to enlarge our coalition of investors and partners.
You can find our strategic plan online.
A Plan that Meets the Moment
Craft3’s new strategic plan focuses on relevant and concerning challenges facing our region – systemic racism, the climate crisis, and the lack of investment in and integration of rural and Tribal economies. While these are Pacific Northwest challenges, they are also challenges faced in many other places.
Because these challenges can feel intractable and certainly won’t be solved quickly, our new strategic plan takes the long view. It lays out 5-year goals but acknowledges that this will be the work of a generation or more.
The plan leads with capital — what we know and are known for — but also integrates relationships and voice to engage our partners and network of relationships and use our standing to shift more wealth generating opportunities and decision-making power to underserved and marginalized populations, particularly people of color, Tribal communities, and low-wealth rural communities.
We plan to direct capital into four investment areas:
We will direct capital through established products, as well as exploring and testing new products and models for delivering capital where there is a need and the potential for impact.
It is important to acknowledge that our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan documents our belief that by focusing on intersections across the regional challenges and by using multiple strategies we can realize faster, deeper, and more lasting change. As a result, targeted investments will often overlap and add value in more than one investment area at a time.
For example, a nonprofit solar project to reduce operating costs of a social service provider would be an investment in both Essential Services and Community Climate Adaptation. Similarly, a loan to help a homeowner cool and insulate their house would be an investment in both Community Climate Adaption and Housing.
For Craft3 to hit these investment area targets, we estimate that we will make at least $400 million in new loans over the next five years.
A Plan that Meets Impact and Values-Based Investors and Engages New Partners
The three regional challenges — systemic racism, the climate crisis, and rural and Tribal economies — on which Craft3’s new strategic plan focuses are central concerns for many impact investors and philanthropists. I see many powerful opportunities to partner with these constituents to borrow and secure philanthropic support to capitalize accessible and innovative financial assistance. Pairing capital infusions with technical resources and advocacy, Craft3 and its partners can advance racial equity and opportunity for BIPOC communities, support climate mitigation and adaptation, particularly for front-line communities, and invest in rural and Tribal communities. Over time, these strategic investments will generate financial, social, and natural wealth, and shift more power to marginalized communities to make decisions regarding their own well-being.
To reach the levels of new loan originations forecasted during 2023-2027, we will need to maintain existing levels of investment and raise more than $200 million in new grants and investment. While ambitious, we believe that we can achieve this goal by diversifying our base of grantors, donors, investors, and guarantors, through new and existing relationships with federal, state and local agencies, national, regional and community banks, and corporate, community, and private philanthropic organizations. In addition, we plan to reach a growing number of impact investors through our Community Impact Investment Note, particularly individuals and families, and a newer investor segment for Craft3 - non-bank corporations that share our commitment to advancing racial equity, climate adaptation and mitigation, and rural and Tribal economies.
I am also eager for us to partner with impact investors and engage within the broader impact investment field to convene, share, and align data, tell stories, and refine how we measure the outputs, outcomes, and impacts of this important work. In particular, Craft3, consistent with its strategic plan, will focus on developing new and refining existing outputs and outcomes to assess progress in two key areas:
Not surprisingly, we, like many organizations, are still grappling with what to measure and how best to evaluate our direct and indirect interventions related to this second important impact area. So, we will engage with others, notably our communities and programmatic and financial partners, to find solutions.
In fact, Craft3 has already begun the work of reframing and refining the measurement of our outputs, outcomes, and impacts. It will, however, take time to put this work into practice. We ask for patience, and engagement with thought partners to determine ways we can collectively measure our progress and learn more about whether and how our individual interventions are successful. In so doing, we also want to ensure that the metrics we ask for or evaluations we conduct do not place an undue burden on our customers and the communities we serve.
We will need existing and many new partners – programmatic, community, financial – all leaning into their strengths and core competencies to have a material effect on breaking down systemic barriers to the regional challenges and achieving real systems change. We ask those partners who are working on these challenges and at their intersections to join us, to share tools, resources, information, and capital. Craft3 also will seek out opportunities to reciprocate and support your aligned efforts.
We are sincerely grateful for the generous support of our financial partners and look forward to engaging with existing and new partners in our ongoing work. We welcome questions and opportunities to discuss an investment or other financial partnership. Interested partners can contact me and visit our Get Involved page to learn more about investing, donating, exploring additional partnership opportunities, and more.