New Year’s Notes from Amir Kirkwood

January 3, 2023 | Other

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As we embark on a new year, I am humbled by the experiences of my first year with VCC Social Enterprises (VCCSE). I learned a lot from our investors, partners, communities, and customers. Most importantly, I value the work with our team and what we’ve accomplished together so far. Each member of our organization has been exceptional in their commitment to our mission and the communities we serve. I am excited about the expansion of our products, services, and especially our staff, which gained 24 incredible members in 2022.

It was a year of transformative impact at VCCSE. Whether it was lending through our bank and loan fund or the strategic advice to impact investors through LOCUS Impact Investing, VCCSE continued to deepen its impact in Virginia and beyond. With all we accomplished alongside our many partners, our most recent impact measurements show $2.18 billion in total impact, more than 1,300 projects financed, 12,300 housing units developed, and over 14,400 jobs supported since our start in 2006.

Last year also reflected significant new opportunities to drive impact. Here are just a few examples of the exciting new engagements 2022 brought:

  • VCC provided Wesley Housing Development Corporation a first-of-its-kind $5.8 million line of credit for predevelopment. This facility enables Wesley to move projects more efficiently to construction in the expensive and active Northern Virginia market.
  • The Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP) provided $18 million in guarantees to eight beneficiary organizations. This $18 million will unlock over $170 million of direct capital for housing, entrepreneurship, and climate change investments.
  • LOCUS won an engagement with the Kauffman Foundation to help launch the Kansas City Credit Enhancement Fun, an effort to increase access to capital for small businesses in Kansas City by guaranteeing investments from financial institutions.
  • Our Economic Equity Fund, which provides financing specifically targeted to women- and minority-owned businesses, has exceeded $5.5 million of originations this year.
  • Our Community Innovation team partnered with the Hard Rock Casino Bristol to provide grants to small businesses as a part of the Southwest Virginia Regional Bristol Casino Pitch Contest. This contest brought together a collaborative group of organizations to support businesses to increase economic productivity in the region.

We achieved these successes while maintaining a sustainable operation and a commitment to continue the work of building a more inclusive firm.

  • VCCSE experienced the strongest year of economic performance in its history. Our net income surpassed prior year’s performance with growth in all areas of VCC Bank, VCC, and LOCUS. We have exceeded $260 million in loans outstanding.
  • We furthered our organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by gaining board approval of our DEI strategic plan and commencing its adoption with the formalization of the employee-led Mission, Equity, and Inclusion Collaborative.
  • LOCUS celebrated its fifth anniversary of operations and $47 million in investments deployed by its clients since inception.
  • We relaunched the Learning Exchange series with the theme, More Than a Moment, and concluded the series with a dynamic live event at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. We were joined by many of our staff, board members, clients, partners, and other stakeholders as we explored actionable ideas to center equity in community development.

In 2022, we also began developing our 2023-25 strategic plan using an inclusive, collaborative process that engaged our staff, board of directors, investors, customers, and partners. Through this process, we have learned a great deal about how the different business units within our organization can collaboratively extend the depth of services we provide in the communities where we work. We will begin implementing the strategic plan in February.

It is exciting to see our future start to take shape. Approaching this new chapter at VCCSE, I am most grateful that our team will embrace a commitment to being a more impactful and engaged partner with communities and stakeholders. I extend my appreciation to all the staff, investors, local and national partners, and most importantly, our communities and customers who make certain our future is bright.

Happy New Year!

Amir Kirkwood
President & CEO, VCC Social Enterprises