The word commitment is a powerful word in several contexts. Synonyms include dedication, devotion, and loyalty.
As the REVocity team started the journey in 2011 to create Community Real Estate Funds, the profile of all investors has been of those committed to their community. I had the pleasure of joining the REVocity team in 2020 to build on the Fund concept and lead the team to expand into areas across Minnesota, Iowa and beyond.
To support prioritizing our resources, we utilize a process to analyze quantitative factors to help identify the key profile of communities where a Fund would be most successful. Based on this work, we have determined communities of 4,000-30,000 in population are our core focus. At the same time, we have found that qualitative factors are just as important and for that reason, we are partnering with communities smaller and larger than the profile. Specifically, the qualitative factor of the commitment of the community leaders.
During the last year and a half, I have had the opportunity to meet with leaders in over twenty communities to share the benefits of Impact Investing through a Community Real Estate Fund. The response has been very positive, due to the commitment of these leaders to support the economic vitality of where they live, work and play.
It has been a wonderful experience to learn about the unique aspects of each community. As I have connected with the leaders, their dedication shines through, sharing why they chose to raise their family, retire, or other reasons for returning to their town.
The theme I have noticed through this process, is that the communities who have embraced the Fund concept most quickly are those who have leaders who are committed to taking action around future growth and development. Of course, there are different types of actions, but the actions I have observed to be most inspiring include:
- Creating Vision – While a vision at times can be just theoretical, a vision is needed to start a roadmap for the future. I appreciated meeting a small group of leaders in one community who took the initiative to ensure that their vision didn’t just sit on a shelf. Instead, clear actions were prioritized and implemented. Specifically, they gathered a group of investors to start a brewery in an area of town that had been identified as needing improvement to elevate the assets of the community.
- Giving Spark – Sometimes it takes just a small project to foster the excitement and motivation to do more. This could be taking an old vacant building downtown and renovating it for second-floor housing or a main floor shop or an entrepreneur starting a business in their hometown. I met one leader who opened a coffee shop with the primary purpose of giving the community spark with something new.
- Leveraging Partners – All communities have amazing talent and strengths through their people. At the same time, bringing in expertise from other resources can be helpful. Organizations such as CEDA (Community and Economic Development Associates), SMIF (Southern MN Initiative Foundation), and APEX are all valuable resources I have had the privilege to partner with.
Our REVocity team is excited to support action happening in communities. Individuals, businesses, and non-profits can invest in their community by pooling their capital into a Fund and investing in real estate. We love to partner with leaders to help give a spark to promote energy or be a part of a particular project that will bring the community’s vision to life. Our process is to listen and learn through the leaders of the communities on what they are most proud of and dedicated towards for future success. We then become committed and loyal partners who share in the excitement of building on the vibrancy of a community.