Program aims to create $50 million social impact fund

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Program aims to create $50 million social impact fund

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 10:59am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Works, a new Vermont investment firm that plans to invest $50 million in Vermont companies through its social impact fund, is partnering with VSECU through its wholly owned subsidiary, Vermont Heritage Financial Group, Inc (VHFG) to spur economic growth and create new jobs in the Green Mountain State. The partnership will combine Vermont Works’ vision of increasing investments, particularly in growth stage capital — that is, capital for established companies looking to expand operations or relocate to Vermont — with VSECU.

VSECU CEO Rob Miller will advise the management company responsible for the investment fund and help guide the organization’s development and social impact investment decisions.

VSECU, based in Montpelier, is focused on bringing people together to achieve its vision of creating possibilities for greater social, economic and environmental prosperity in Vermont. Vermont Works, based in Burlington, is raising a $50 million social impact fund that will have two success measures: financial strength of the fund itself and positive social impact on the community. This focus aligns with VSECU's commitment to partner with like-minded organizations in support of its 60,000-plus member-owners and the communities in which they live. Vermont Works will support business acceleration through advice, guidance and various forms of mentorship, with a focus on creating livable wage jobs and addressing the state's demographic challenge by growing the number of working-age Vermonters.

"We are excited to partner with VSECU on this important work and know its input and expertise about Vermont's economic needs and how we can make the greatest social impact will be very valuable," said Robert Zulkoski, chairman of Vermont Works. "We will invest needed capital in companies so they can accelerate their growth and create new jobs. We believe that, together, we can have a greater impact than we can separately.''

Under the agreement, VSECU, through its subsidiary VHFG, will invest in Vermont Works Management Company, LLC to support its growth and development. In addition to the anticipated social impact, VSECU also hopes to earn a return on its investment in further support of its members and mission. VSECU and CEO Miller will provide local perspective and help guide the organization's work. Vermont Works estimates that approximately 85 percent of its social impact fund will come from outside of Vermont, bringing critical new investment to the state to meet a need for capital that is otherwise unfilled. 

"This is an enormous opportunity for VSECU and its members to be a part of something new and innovative in Vermont, investing in our neighbors and friends who are building companies, creating good-paying jobs and growing the state's economy in bold new ways,'' said Miller. "This initiative is an important part of the capital continuum ensuring that established businesses can grow and thrive. It's all about unlocking the potential that exists in our state to develop a more robust and sustainable economy and greater opportunities for more people to live and work here."

To learn more about VSECU's work to support innovative efforts to stimulate social and economic opportunities through collaboration and cooperation, visit https://www.vsecu.com/community/impact/powered-by. To contact Vermont Works, email info@vermontworks.org.

About Vermont Works –– Helping to bend the opportunity curve
"Bending the opportunity curve" refers to Vermont Works' intention to (i) play an active role in steepening the upward growth trajectory of innovation and living-wage jobs, especially amongst the young, in the state of Vermont, (ii) be a positive catalyst for the exposure to, and adoption of, global best practices in terms of operations and sustainability, and (iii) showcase the attractive investment attributes of Vermont-based companies to enlarge the pool of out-of-state capital eager to participate in the state's development for the benefit of existing and future innovative entrepreneurship. The principals of Vermont Works bring long track records of successful investment in global private and public markets, including private impact investments. The two principals are leaders and innovators in building businesses and investment portfolios, and executing complex value-added transactions benefiting portfolio companies and investors alike.  For more information, speak to either Robert Zulkoski or Frank Koster at (802) 540-2064 or contact info@vermontworks.org.

About VSECU
VSECU is a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody who lives or works in Vermont, offering a full range of affordable financial products and services to its member-owners. VSECU is committed to improving the lives of Vermonters by empowering the possibilities for greater social, environmental, and financial prosperity. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit www.vsecu.com.

Source: BURLINGTON, Vt. – Vermont Works. 4.17.2017