Episode 02: Growing an Impact Lending Program

Small staff sizes, limited resources, and varied borrower needs can make growing an impact lending program a real challenge.  The Leviticus 25:23 Alternative Fund has grown by 46% in three years and has over $30 million of capital under management today.  Its Executive Director, Greg Maher, joins us for episode two to describe how the fund has managed this growth.  The framework he shares includes evaluating current operations, trimming services outside of your core competency, targeting only those investments that align best with your needs, and developing capacity through staffing, external consultants, and partnerships. Listen below or on iTunes to learn more.


Today’s Guest:

Greg Maher joined the Leviticus Fund as Executive Director in 2013 and is responsible for leading and managing all aspects of operations and for formulating new initiatives to address the needs of the low-income people and communities the organization serves. Previously, he spent 23 years at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the last seven as Senior Vice President for Lending. While a member of LISC’s Loan Committee he reviewed and helped shape over 2,500 loan requests totaling over $1.1 billion to a wide variety of projects. Greg is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and St. John’s University School of Law.

Resources Related to This Episode:

Leviticus 25:23 Alternative Fund: https://www.leviticusfund.org/

Transcript of Mark Pinsky’s “Grow, Change, or Die” speech from a 2006 meeting of the Community Development Society: https://ofn-drupal-pub.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/2006_grow_change_die.pdf

‘Coopetition’ Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coopetition

The fateful news article that sparked Greg Maher’s interest in impact lending: https://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/11/nyregion/nonprofit-community-groups-rebuild-housing-in-the-bronx.html

Acronyms Used in This Episode:

  • OFN – Opportunity Finance Network. On this episode, Greg is referencing OFN’s annual conference.
  • EQ2 – Equity Equivalent Investment. Banks and foundations make EQ2s to fund lending programs and/or operations of CDFIs.  EQ2s are debt with equity-like features—in particular, it is subordinate to all other debt on the balance sheet.
  • SRI – Socially Responsible Investment. The practice of seeking social good along with financial return on investments.
  • CDFIs – Community Development Financial Institutions. Private institutions that focus their lending and investing activities on markets that are underserved by the traditional finance industry, including communities of color, economically disadvantaged communities, and others.

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