Low Income Investment Fund Releases First-of-Its-Kind Social Impact Calculator Tool

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For Immediate Release
September 4, 2014

For More Information Contact
Samantha Hojo, 415.489.6113, shojo@liifund.org

The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) today released its new “Social Impact Calculator,” a first-of-its-kind tool that puts a dollar value on the social impact of its investments in five core program areas: affordable housing, quality child care, education, community health clinics and equitable transit-oriented development. LIIF is encouraging other organizations to use, adapt and help refine the new tool.

LIIF initially announced that it was developing the calculator as an “open source” tool in June at the Clinton Global Institute America in Denver and SOCAP Health in New York City, two of the nation’s most important gatherings of social impact investors. Only ten weeks later, LIIF is delivering on its commitment and launching the first version of the Social Impact Calculator.

“Efforts to improve lives—or create ‘social impact’—through financial investments are now mainstream,” said Nancy O. Andrews, President and CEO of LIIF. “But the ability to monetize the largely unmeasured effects of these investments is new. And while our Social Impact Calculator was developed by LIIF for LIIF, our goal is to advance broad discussions about the value of social investments and help other organizations think about how they measure their work—their social return on investment—in new ways.”

Over the past 30 years, LIIF has invested $1.5 billion dollars and served 1.7 million people. In the last 10 years, it has doubled its capital impact and tripled its human impact. The new Social Impact Calculator allows it to value its social impact at $30 billion using an “impact by proxy” approach.

“We know that a healthy, well-educated child carries the promise of a better future for all of us, not just herself and her family. LIIF created the Social Impact Calculator because we wanted to better understand the additional value created by our investments for both the people we serve as well as society. For example, when we finance a child care center with 30 slots for low income kids, how can we quantify the improvements to their lives? Further, what are the benefits to society of a child with better prospects for long-term success and better health? The calculator is our effort to begin to answer these questions in a way that is meaningful, but also simple and practical,” Andrews said.

In the coming weeks, LIIF will reach out to community development financial institutions, social impact investors and others to encourage them to try out the calculator for themselves, learn about its methodology and offer feedback. For more information, visit www.liifund.org/calculator.

FAST FACTS

What is the Low Income Investment Fund Social Impact Calculator?
The calculator is a first-of-its-kind tool that allows users to monetize—or attach a dollar amount to—the social impact of community investments.

Who should use it?
LIIF and other community development financial institutions are just one possible group of users. The calculator relies on an “impact by proxy” approach, allowing any private or public sector organization that makes financial investments in one of five community-building strategies to adapt the tool to their own context. Organizations operating programs in these sectors, such as child care center or health clinic operators, may also find it valuable to measure their social impact.

Who developed the Social Impact Calculator?
The calculator was developed by Low Income Investment Fund staff and was reviewed by subject matter experts. For more information, visit liifund.org/calculator.

What’s the methodology behind the Calculator?
LIIF developed its impact by proxy approach using the best available social science research to estimate social value across 10 impact metrics. To learn more, you can read an Executive Summary, Abridged Methodology Paper or LIIF’s Full Methodology Paper.

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About the Low Income Investment Fund:
The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) invests capital to support healthy families and communities. Since 1984, LIIF has served 1.7 million people by investing $1.5 billion. Over its history, LIIF has provided financing and technical assistance to create and preserve affordable housing, child care centers, schools, healthy food retail, health clinics and transit-oriented development in distressed neighborhoods nationwide. LIIF’s work has generated more than $30 billion in family income and societal benefits. LIIF has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. For more information about LIIF, visit www.liifund.org.