ImpactAlpha, November 8 — Low-income communities that often bear the brunt of climate change also hold the key to many climate solutions. Candide Group, an Oakland-based advisor to families, foundations and other investors, has raised an initial $36 million for its Afterglow Climate Justice Fund, a “catalytic debt” vehicle to develop and expand climate solutions alongside communities.
Investors include Schmidt Family Foundation, Builders Vision, Ceniarth, ImpactAssets, MacArthur Foundation and Social Finance via its new Impact First Fund (see, “Social Finance taps donor-advised funds for impact-first investments”). “To achieve climate justice, clean energy and energy efficiency, solutions must be developed in partnership with communities most affected and deployed in such a way that everyone has full and equitable access,” MacArthur’s John Balbach said in a statement. Candide aims to raise up to $100 million for the fund.
Candide named the climate justice debt fund after “Afterglow,” a collection of short stories by diverse writers envisioning an equitable climate future.
The fund aims to plug persistent capital gaps for climate justice projects, including for smaller BIPOC-led developers without balance sheets strong enough to attract debt capital, and for non-profits or low-income households considered higher risk by traditional lenders. Loan sizes will range from $1 to $7 million; the fund will prioritize low-income communities that lack access to affordable energy and clean transportation.
The fund will build community participation into decision-making. Klean Energy Kulture’s Michael Hawthorne and Aina Abiodum of climate nonprofit VertueLab will join Afterglow’s community advisory board to bring a racial justice-lens to potential investments.
The board will be “deeply integrated into every step of our process,” Candide’s Aner Ben-Ami told ImpactAlpha. Advisors will help identify opportunities “to ensure we’re not just sourcing from our networks,” he added. They “screen every opportunity before we go into due diligence, they join our due diligence calls and are voting members of our credit committee.”