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Harmony Centre is a beneficiary of a new social impact investment program initiated by the Community Foundation Grey Bruce. Social investment is a method of indirect financial support provided to organizations that positively impact the community and the environment.
Under its new program, the Community Foundation will assume the Harmony Centre’s privately held mortgage and set the interest rate for it at below market rates. In exchange, Harmony Centre will continue to operate as a social enterprise that benefits the public by offering a non-profit hub for local performers, artists, and community groups.
By all accounts, it’s a win-win.
According to Lynda Chiotti, chair of the Harmony Centre board, this support from the Community Foundation is rooted in the shared values between these two organizations, and a common commitment to social impact.
“By working with Community Foundation Grey Bruce, we can strengthen our capacity to offer services that foster growth, sustainability, and positive change,” says Chiotti.
Kerry Lee, chair of the board of the Community Foundation echoes this sentiment, adding that this social investment pays dividends to the foundation as well.
“The interest we collect, though lower than what we might expect from conventional investments, remains a revenue stream that we can divert to other meaningful programs in support of local community projects,” she explains.
Harmony Centre, a charity run and maintained by volunteers, has emerged as a model social enterprise in Owen Sound. Every year, thousands of individuals attend performances, workshops, rehearsals, meetings, and banquets at the 150-year-old former church that was saved from an uncertain future more than a decade ago.
Created in 1994, Community Foundation Grey Bruce has a mandate to enhance community vitality by fostering open discussion about local need, sharing knowledge, and growing endowments to provide strategic granting and support to a wide range of non-profit organizations. Community Foundation Grey Bruce established its Social Impact Investing Fund in 2022. The fund commits one per cent of the foundation’s total assets to local investments that generate a financial return and makes Grey Bruce a better place to live.