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Invest in Creativity, and in The Greater Good

LORRIE MEYERCORD wants his portfolio to consist entirely of investments aimed at making social good, gaining a return. But besides the established categories such as the environment, clean energy, and organizations that benefit from women and girls, it has invested in arts and creativity. And he hopes that others will follow his advantage.

This month he invested $ 1 million in housing for Dearborn, Mich., And Memphis artists. The two projects, developed by Artspace, offer subsidized apartments to people who work in creative fields, meet a requirement of income and pass a screening process by a committee of artists and creative professionals.

“I’ve always loved the arts,” said Mrs. Meyercord, 40, whose wealth comes from an investment in technology that she has not decided to identify. “You do not usually find ways to invest in the arts.”


Making such an investment was not easy. Ms. Meyercord, who lives in Hawaii, has made his own at Upstart Co-Lab, a nonprofit organization founded last year to connect investors with people working in creative spaces. The organization aims to bring more capital to artists who work on important social issues. (However, the money is not for artists who make art objects).

“There are artists working on all important social issues,” said Laura Callanan, founder partner of Upstart Co-Lab. “Some of these artists are starting up social activities and, like every entrepreneur, they need capital. One of our goals is to free more capital for creativity.”

The industry, known as an impact investment, is generally growing. According to a report released this month by the US Sustainable Investment Foundation: Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum, $ 8.72 billion has been invested in this sector, an increase of 33 percent since 2014.

Climate change and the activism of shareholders are popular categories, said Lisa Woll, general director of the foundation. Interest in favoring the community’s investment – such as the transfer of money to credit unions and small banks supporting the local community – doubled in that period, he said.

But investment in the arts has not yet registered, he said, given that the area is too small for large professional investors to be involved. In this regard, it is ideal for individual high performance individuals.

To run Artspace’s investments and encourage others to invest, Mrs. Meyercord also granted subsidies to organizations that facilitated the process.

He provided $ 200,000 to the Calvert Foundation, which has invested $ 2.5 million in Artspace so that he could pay a lower interest rate. He also gave $ 100,000 to Upstart Co-Lab for operational support.

“There are not many easy products to invest in an entry level,” said Mrs. Meyercord.

He said he liked giving artists a place to live and help their creativity. But you do not expect a great return. “This seems to fall into that category of not a massive but solid yield,” he said. “But there is enormous tremendous performance in terms of my sense of impact and accomplishment.”

The Calvert Foundation has set the returns for its Community investment note ranging from 1 to 4%, depending on the duration of the investment. The note has made $ 1.5 billion in investment in affordable housing, education and small business over the past 20 years, with 100% capital and interest returns.

Jennifer Pryce, president and CEO of the Calvert Foundation, said that when Calvert was approached by Upstart Co-Lab, he analyzed his $ 300 million portfolio and found he had already invested $ 20 million in creative actions.

“We never looked at our investment portfolio in terms of groups that led their investment in the arts or the creation of creative sites,” he said. “It was revealing to me that this has been part of my portfolio implicitly for years. These were the groups she had

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