In 2014, the Centre for Social Innovation invented The Community Bond, and in doing so legitimized exempt market bonds issued by benevolent organizations by opting into the standards required by regulated issuers.
The significance of this move cannot be overstated. The Community Bond facilitated a boom in in community asset ownership by benevolvent organizations. CSI itself picked up $20M in commercial real estate to house its hundreds of member organizations. This process was replicated by Pillar Non-Profit, 10 Carden, and other nonprifits to buy the infrastructure they needed.
But a less told part of the story is how The Community Bond has its origins in renewable energy. In creating the Community Bond, CSI worked with longtime co-op bond issuer Toronto Renewable Energy Coop (TREC) to borrow the structure of their bonds, which had been financing renewable energy projects for coops for more than a decade already. The key innovation of The Community Bond was that it opened up bonds as a tool to benevolent organizations of all kinds, not just coops.
Among the first to take advantage of this new policy innovation was SolarShare, a leader in greenbonds, and ZooShare, a scrappy new startup with dreams of building a biogass reactor.
Here at HALLBAR.ORG we’re learning how Community Bonds can be used as a social finance tool to facilitate more LEED certified construction, and more energy saving updates to old inefficient buildings of all kinds.