Central City Foundation donors have a real impact on improving the lives of our neighbours in need, and now we have proof that our investment model is working. Today we released our second community report, Putting a dollar value on doing good things for the community. With this report, we are able to show the community a quantifiable, measurable Social Return on Investment (SROI) of our social purpose real estate investments, and put into numbers how mission-based investing can yield significant financial and social return.

Social Return on Investment is an emerging way to measure how an activity or an organization benefits a community by putting a dollar value to its social and economic impact. Central City Foundation wanted to measure how our significant investments are actually impacting the community so we teamed up with Urban Matters to create a study that determined our Social Return on Investment. It’s the first report of its kind and hopefully a jump off study for other organizations to determine their community impact. That study forms the basis for this community report.

Central City Foundation donors have a real impact on improving the lives of our neighbours in need

“We invest more than 40% of our capital directly in our mission – much more than most foundations — through social purpose real estate and grants to community partners, and believe that our investment model can stand as an example to others,” says Jennifer Johnstone, President and CEO of Central City Foundation.

The results are impressive. For every dollar spent, Central City Foundation creates $3.90 in social benefits. The overall social return on our capital investment (SROI) in social purpose real estate (SPRE) is 18 per cent, with $2.4 to $3.4 million in direct community value created each year, and $4 to $11 million in indirect community value created each year. Results for each of Central City Foundation’s properties vary, but that reflects the uniqueness of CCF’s portfolio.

We invest more than 40% of our capital directly in our mission


For example Aunt Leah’s Place operates under a subsidized lease in a building owned by CCF. For 25 years Aunt Leah’s has helped young adults transition from foster care to independent adulthood, supported at-risk mothers and kept children out of the foster care system. The social impact of this program is great, but the report shows that the financial return of investing in at-risk youth is 1.6 to 3.5 per cent on every dollar spent.

“We are generating at least a 4:1 return on investment. Just having this awareness has the potential for profound change,” says Johnstone.

When housing becomes unaffordable the most vulnerable of society are hit the hardest, as well as the support programs that keep the community healthy and housed. When organizations such as Central City Foundation are the landlords it creates a sense of security that allows social programs to take risks and thrive.

“With real estate unaffordability rising in BC, social purpose real estate stands as an exemplary model that offers solutions that can help us build a community of hope to help our neighbours in need,” adds Johnstone. “Being able to prove that this model has financial and blended value returns will help non profit organizations address the affordability crisis of acquiring and maintaining space to offer programs and services. By investing a significant proportion of our core financial base in social purpose real estate, Central City Foundation is able to amplify our impact within the community.”