Directs Investments into Economic and Community Development Projects in Maine
BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC (Arctaris), a leading impact investment fund manager, today announced that the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has agreed in principle to provide up to $10 million in guarantees to Arctaris under its commercial loan insurance program to support Opportunity Zone investments in Maine. This agreement is expected to anchor $50 million of matching investments from Arctaris into economic and community development projects in Maine by providing additional security for opportunity zone qualified investments made by the Arctaris Principal-Protected Opportunity Zone Fund, LP.
FAME’s support follows the Kresge Foundation’s commitment of $15 million in guaranty capital that provides risk mitigation and first-loss protection to Arctaris’s Opportunity Zone investments in designated communities throughout the U.S. Together with Maine’s new agreement, these guarantees will improve the risk-return profile of Arctaris’s forthcoming Opportunity Zone fund, making it more attractive to investors seeking both social and financial returns.
“We are excited to partner with FAME to bring long-term, growth-oriented investment into Maine’s communities. This strategy aligns with our focus on helping foundations and government partners develop strategies to attract Opportunity Zone capital to long-term oriented, sustainable and job producing projects in their communities,” said Jonathan Tower, Founder and Managing Partner of Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC. “This funding will accelerate the growth of local businesses and create living wage jobs to mitigate economic inequality and fund critical infrastructure projects throughout the state.”
Investment targets in Maine may include growth-oriented manufacturing businesses, high-speed internet via broadband fiber, and solar power infrastructure in those areas of the state already identified as Opportunity Zones. To utilize the FAME guaranty program, individual investments would need to comply with all of the existing program requirements and limitations and be approved by FAME’s staff or board of directors. Arctaris has also agreed in principle to invest $7.5 million toward funding broadband fiber infrastructure in several Opportunity Zones in Maine, delivering high-speed internet access to these currently underserved communities.
“We look forward to working with Arctaris to provide financing for projects that will create quality Maine jobs and improve the quality of life for the citizens of Maine,” said Bruce Wagner, FAME’s Chief Executive Officer. “Arctaris’s focus on investments in areas of the state identified as high-need make them a great fit for our Commercial Loan Insurance Program,” said Wagner.
Arctaris has partnered with states, including Maine, on prior economic development programs, though Maine is the first state to agree to utilize a guaranty specifically for qualified Opportunity Zone investments. Arctaris is currently in discussions with more than twenty-five other states, cities, counties and foundations regarding similar capital matching commitments to stimulate Opportunity Zone investment in their Opportunity Zone-qualified low-income communities.
“Opportunity Zones allow us to leverage tax incentives creating social impact in our communities,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Maine. “This kind of investment will continue to push us towards creating a diverse and sustainable economy where we can focus on our prosperity and show that Maine is a place where we can work where we live.”
Arctaris plans to launch a principal-protected Opportunity Zone fund with more than $500 million in capitalization from U.S. commercial banks, institutional investors, and family offices. The Fund will make growth capital investments in small- to medium-sized enterprises involved in manufacturing, renewable energy, and telecom, and real estate infrastructure.
The Opportunity Zones incentive was created as part of the 2017 tax reform legislation, with the goal of directing hundreds of billions of dollars of investment into low-income communities, but with limited disclosure and accountability requirements for investors. Arctaris has committed to enhanced transparency and third-party impact measurement through its partnership with Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and in conjunction with its work with the Kresge Foundation.
“Opportunity Zones will only be a force for good for underserved communities with the right kind of responsible and committed long-term capital,” said Kimberlee Cornett, managing director of Kresge Foundation’s Social Investment Practice. “We applaud FAME’s agreement to work with an experienced partner committed to appropriate transparency and disclosure.”
About Arctaris Impact
Arctaris is a Boston-based impact investment fund manager focused on revitalizing disinvested cities and targeted rural communities. The firm has launched and managed five funds over 10 years through partnerships with institutional investors, CRA banks, foundations, the U.S. Treasury Department, and state economic development agencies. For more information visit www.arctaris.com
About Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine citizens pursue business and educational opportunities. FAME helps to lead the creation of good paying jobs for Maine citizens by working at the nexus between economic and workforce development. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com.