Hawaii Pacific Health (HPH) and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation announced that they are providing a combined $1.5 million in social-impact loans and grants to support Hawaiʻi Community Lending (HCL), a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) dedicated to building the capacity of low-income households and communities to achieve and sustain self-sufficiency through homeownership.
HCL projects this funding will support 200 low-income families in their pursuit of housing in Hawaii, with the potential to help more than 900 families over the next three years.
The combined $1.5 million capital contribution was made through a novel partnership that enables HPH and the Weinberg Foundation to contribute in ways that best align with their respective missions. For HPH, that meant providing $1 million in the form of a low-interest loan to HCL, which reflects the health care nonprofit’s commitment to improve the social and cultural determinants of health through social-impact investments.
“At Hawaii Pacific Health, we believe health starts where we live, learn, work and play. We also recognize that improving factors outside of the medical care system that impact how healthy, or unhealthy, we are requires engagement beyond our traditional hospital boundaries, specifically in the areas of food system development, affordable housing, economic empowerment and education through holistic child development and family educational attainment,” said Michael Robinson, vice president of government relations and community affairs at HPH. “To further our mission of creating a healthier Hawaii, HPH is pleased to be able to launch our social impact investment fund in the form of a loan to support the very necessary work of Hawai‘i Community Lending as it provides capital access to those individuals seeking to qualify for affordable housing across our state.”
The Weinberg Foundation contributed $500,000 through a grant. “This unique partnership allows the organizations to address current issues affecting local communities,” said Marisa Hayase, the foundation’s managing director of Hawaii programs and communications.
“The Weinberg Foundation believes in the power of collaboration to support effective, community-led solutions across our grantmaking areas of housing, health, jobs and education,” Hayase said. “The greatest challenges facing Hawaii, such as the lack of affordable housing and food insecurity, are also our greatest opportunities to come together, listen to those most affected by these issues, and invest in solutions that will make our islands more healthy, stable and vibrant for all.”
The combined support from HPH and the foundation will expand HCL’s loan fund and help increase the nonprofit’s capacity to help vulnerable families move closer toward affordable homeownership, ultimately improving their economic stability and overall health.
“This partnership combines loans that will go directly to families and a capacity-building grant to HCL that will support financial counseling and increase our team’s ability to navigate community members on their path to affordable homeownership,” said Jeff Gilbreath, Hawaiʻi Community Lending executive director. "We extend our mahalo to HPH and Weinberg for coming together to show a new way forward on social-impact investing, one that is rooted in relationship first, and recognizes and lifts up the strengths all partners bring to the table.”
HCL is the premier nonprofit mortgage lender navigating local and Hawaiian families on their path to affordable homeownership. As a CDFI, HCL specializes in providing loans to local residents who are able to make regular loan payments but are unable to qualify for loans from conventional banks and credit unions. With a focus on supporting Native Hawaiian and rural families, the organization partners with Hawaiian Community Assets to provide affordable loans and free financial counseling to nearly 3,000 individuals annually, helping them build credit, afford housing and reach financial stability. This holistic approach, coupled with relationship-building that starts as soon as a family reaches out to HCL, has been key to the loan fund maintaining a historic default rate under 5%, despite the fact that loans are going to those who are considered “too risky” by traditional lenders. Last year, for every dollar HCL deployed in loan capital, households accessed $6 from banks and credit unions.
“This partnership affirms that our best investment is in our hardworking local and Hawaiian families who may struggle to find a home they can afford, but when given access to credit and capital, are the driving force behind remaking a more equitable Hawaii,” Gilbreath said.
“Our Community Health Priorities focus on strengthening families and developing resilient children by promoting economic empowerment through food security, housing stability and self-sufficiency; and education through holistic child development and family educational attainment,” Robinson said. “We recognize we need to take a team approach with other funders and lenders to bring our resources together in support of organizations like HCL that are making significant strides to strengthen the well-being of Hawaii's families.”