Site Visits in Portland, Oregon Provide Insight for Investors
Representatives from the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon joined RCIF Executive Director Sr. Corinne Florek during site visits to three organizations that RCIF supports with loans in Portland, Oregon. The day started with a visit to Portland Youthbuilders. After that, the group moved on to visit two affordable housing developers – Proud Ground and the Housing Development Corporation/Human Solutions. Site visits were made to Proud Ground’s Pardee Commons, a 10-unit homeownership project in the Lents Urban Renewal Area that combines deep affordability and sophisticated green building; and to HDC/Human Solutions’ Rockwood Building, which will include 47 affordable apartments and a multi-service center housing key social service non-profits. (See the RCIF 2010 Annual Report, left, for a full story on Rockwood.)
Said Sr. Jane Hibbard, SNJM Leadership Team, “The three sites are a great testament to what investment in non profits can accomplish. RCIF is an excellent way for religious communities to share resources with very worthy groups. Each one of the three sites: invest in people who do not have a great array of opportunities readily available and who choose to work with the people involved to make a difference in this world for themselves and others. Our partners at each site are very dedicated folks who are assisting in this effort. The old cliché ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is very apropos.”
“Before the tour,” said Karen Kinzey, Program Director for the Holy Names Heritage Center, “I had always thought of the Holy Names Sisters’ commitment to social justice in terms of the work of individual sisters and the community’s sponsored ministries. The tour opened my eyes to the additional ways the congregation is working to improve the lives of people experiencing poverty and marginalization. After learning about these organizations, I have a deep appreciation for the way RCIF is combining financial resources to further social justice through the vital work of these non-profits.”
The full day of site visits, explained Sr. Corinne, provides a sense of the exponential impact RCIF loans are having on the lives of many people.
RCIF Comes Closer to $5 Million Threshold
With the completion of an additional investment by the Holy Family Sisters, RCIF’s fund has reached a total of $4.3 million – only $700,000 away from the $5 million goal that will allow the fund to become an accredited international investor.
“Our impact will grow with the ability to invest in a greater range of international organizations,” said RCIF Executive Director Sr. Corinne Florek. See our Winter 2011 Newsletter for more on international impact.
Jamboree Housing Resident Is Shining at Diamond Housing
Celebrating 20 years, RCIF borrower Jamboree Housing in Irvine, CA, is an award-winning non-profit housing development company that develops, acquires, renovates and manages permanently affordable rental and owned housing for working families, seniors, and people with special needs. Here is a story about one resident they shared with us:
This month’s resident spotlight features Tom Simcox, a resident at Jamboree’s special needs apartment community, Diamond Apartment Homes.
Tom’s speech at last year’s Diamond Grand Opening was inspiring and we were interested in his progress. After serving as Vice President of a corporate bank for 35 years, Tom lost his job and his life fell apart. He became homeless and lived out of his car for 8 years. While suffering from physical and mental illnesses there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel for him, until he teamed up with the recovery program Telecare. His conditions were treated and he was on the road to recovery. Diamond was just finishing construction at the time and Tom was accepted into residency.
In just one year, Tom made leaps and bounds in his recovery and states, “Becoming involved in my recovery has allowed me to have what everyone calls ‘basic needs’. I am fortunate and now I feel strongly about giving back to the community.” Tom is doing exactly that. With the help of Telecare, he has set up a group mentoring program at their Anaheim facility. His program helps others get back on track with life by creating teams of peers who work and socialize together, under the supervision of a Telecare representative. They participate in auto detailing where members can earn a little bit of income, painting classes, cooking classes, self-help group meetings, poetry, dance, self-defense classes, hygiene education, bible study, arts and crafts, bingo, a women’s group and even a group rock band!
Tom hasn’t stopped there. He continues to recruit new clients and work with their core gifts to strengthen his community.