Innovative partnerships impacting affordable housing across RVA: the Richmond Association of Realtors commitment
When we say that the work VCC does would not be possible without the help of partners, we truly mean it. Our partners include individuals with as little as $25 to invest, along with large institutional investors and organizations that believe in the power of social impact investing.
One such partner has been the Richmond Association of Realtors (RAR). In 2016, RAR made a $1 million investment in VCC to support affordable housing across the city. The association sees the investment as “a quality-of-life investment strategy,” believing people buy houses only when they believe in the community’s high quality of life. RAR increased this investment by $250,000 in 2017.
We hope this will serve as an innovative model for other organizations wanting to make an impact on the quality of life in their communities as well.
Instead of sending VCC’s interest income back to RAR, the association diverts it to The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. The Community Foundation is the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth, managing approximately $750 million in charitable assets and deploying resources to help create a healthy, thriving Richmond region.
In addition to the annual interest earned on the Local Impact Opportunity Note, or LION, the association dedicates 10 percent of the annual distribution from the Central Virginia Multiple Listing Service to The Community Foundation. With the guidance of the foundation, these donated funds are used to invest in area non-profits working to enhance K-12 educational offerings.
Like any prospective partner, VCC had to get buy-in from RAR’s investment committee, and its CEO, Laura Lafayette, served as a strong advocate for us.
“The opportunity to invest our resources wisely and reap a solid return, while at the same time investing in our community’s quality of life, was something we just couldn’t resist,” Lafayette says. “We hope this will serve as an innovative model for other organizations wanting to make an impact on the quality of life in their communities as well.”
Without essential partnerships and investments from organizations like RAR, the Richmond region cannot be as competitive as it could be in terms of retaining talent, attracting jobs, and stimulating new development.