WaterEquity, an Innovation of Water.org, Launches New $50M Social Impact Investment Fund

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Bank of America commits $5 million loan for WaterCredit Investment Fund 3 (WCIF3)

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WaterEquity demonstrates the profound impact we can all have by leveling the playing field for the world’s poor to gain access to affordable financing to meet their water and sanitation needs.

WaterEquity, an innovation of Water.org, has launched WaterCredit Investment Fund 3 (WCIF3), a new $50 million social impact investment fund that will invest in enterprises serving water and sanitation needs among the world’s poor. WCIF3 will raise and deploy social impact investment capital to scale Water.org’s proven WaterCredit solution, and is projected to empower at least 4.6 million people in South and Southeast Asia with access to safe water and/or sanitation. This new Fund builds on the success of WCIF1, WaterEquity’s inaugural $11 million Fund, which has already helped over 100,000 people.

“WaterEquity demonstrates the profound impact we can all have by leveling the playing field for the world’s poor to gain access to affordable financing to meet their water and sanitation needs,” said Gary White, co-founder and CEO of WaterEquity and Water.org. “The launch of WCIF3 brings us one step closer to creating a more financially inclusive ecosystem around water and sanitation that can end the global water crisis in our lifetime.”

WaterEquity is also pleased to announce that Bank of America, one of the world’s leading financial institutions, is supporting WCIF3 with a $5 million zero interest loan. This commitment to WaterEquity builds on the long-standing strategic partnership between Bank of America and Water.org.

“Access to safe water is integral to helping the global economy move forward,” said Anne M. Finucane, vice chairman of Bank of America. “Our investment in WaterEquity is an example of how Bank of America is able to deploy capital to support innovative, scalable solutions that address global challenges. WICF3 will help empower millions around the globe to participate in ending the water crisis.”

“We are grateful to Bank of America for their visionary leadership to make a $5 million loan,” White said. “They recognize the catalytic power of social impact investing required to end this global crisis, and we look to others to follow their lead.”

Research has identified $12 billion in demand among families at the Base of the Economic Pyramid (BOP) for access to affordable financing, such as small loans, to meet their water and sanitation needs. This represents at least 565 million people who are waiting for the market to reach them. Building on WaterCredit’s progress and impact, WaterEquity’s social impact investment funds will strive to respond to this market demand.

“At Water.org and WaterEquity, we think about the billions of people who are living and dying for water and sanitation access a bit differently than a traditional charity – we see them as customers with financial power, rights, and the energy to design their own futures. We see them as catalysts for change,” said Matt Damon, co-founder of Water.org and WaterEquity.

For nearly 15 years, Water.org has implemented its WaterCredit solution, which brings microfinance to the world’s poor to help them meet their water and sanitation needs. Water.org has partnered with 65 local microfinance institutions (MFIs) across nine countries, providing $17 million in smart subsidies to help them develop WaterCredit loan portfolios. With this support, MFIs have attracted $280 million in local investment capital to provide more than one million WaterCredit loans, empowering more than five million people at the BOP to pay for the construction of a water connection and/or toilet at home. Globally, WaterCredit loans have a 99% repayment rate, and every repaid loan empowers another family with access to safe water.

Water.org’s MFI partners have the capacity to make many more small, affordable loans but face capital constraints. And a growing ecosystem of local water and sanitation businesses across the supply chain reaching the BOP also require additional, affordable capital to scale their services. WaterEquity was created to meet this demand and build the market between social impact investors and enterprises – including MFIs – that have the potential to reach hundreds of millions of people at the BOP. WaterEquity will bring more funds to regions where they are needed, and investors will be paid back, because WaterEquity is a loan, not a donation.

Proven success
WaterEquity has successfully raised and deployed its first social impact Fund. WaterCredit Investment Fund 1 (WCIF1) launched in 2014 and closed with investors in January 2016. From August through November of 2016, funds were disbursed to seven of the highest-performing Water.org partners in India. These microfinance institutions have already put this capital to use, disbursing thousands of loans. Through the fourth quarter of 2016, WCIF1 capital financed 21,195 loans to provide water and sanitation reaching 101,735 people.

Introducing WaterCredit Investment Fund 3
WaterEquity, a fully dedicated and staffed social impact investment manager, launched WaterCredit Investment Fund 3 (WCIF3) in the first quarter of 2017. A social impact investment Fund with downside protection, WCIF3 will offer investors a target pre-tax financial return of 3.5%. The target fund size is US$50 million, providing affordable debt capital to enterprises — including microfinance institutions — that expand access to household water supply and sanitation solutions at the BOP in India, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines. The Fund will target investments in enterprises that have significant capacity for scale, a strong financial track record, and a deep reach into the BOP. Reporting will include social impact measures recommended by IRIS, the catalog of performance metrics managed by the Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN).

About WaterEquity
WaterEquity is an innovation of Water.org. WaterEquity builds on the decades of experience and success of Water.org – helping millions by breaking down the barriers to safe water and sanitation. Our goal is to attract and deploy social investment capital to high-growth, purpose-driven enterprises that have the potential to serve hundreds of millions of people at the BOP who lack access to safe water and sanitation. Our approach is unlike any other in the sector. By tapping into global capital markets, we can unlock the ability to scale and accelerate solutions that have the potential to end the global water crisis in our lifetime. To learn more, visit http://waterequity.org

About Water.org
For more than 25 years, Water.org has been at the forefront of developing and delivering solutions to the global water crisis. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, Water.org pioneers market-driven financial solutions to ensure all people have access to safe water and sanitation -- giving women hope, children health and communities a future. To date, Water.org has positively transformed the lives of more than six million people around the world. Learn more at http://water.org and http://www.facebook.com/water.

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