CRA Qualified Investment Fund Bond Purchase Helps Finance Agriculturally Sustainable, Locally-Sourced Producer of Award-Winning Premium Goat Cheese in Maryland Investment showcases how investors can combine financial returns with positive sustainable impact.
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Community Capital Management, Inc., on behalf of its flagship fund - the CRA Qualified Investment Fund CRA Shares (Ticker: CRAIX), recently invested $4.1 million in a Small Business Administration (SBA) Pool that includes a loan to FireFly Farms, a producer of cheese in Accident, Maryland, that uses agriculturally sustainable, locally-sourced fresh goat's milk and time-honored, traditional methods of goat cheese making.
"Sustainable agriculture involves food production methods that keep farms economically viable while also caring for the environment and providing healthy choices for consumers," said Brian Snyder, executive director at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), one of the nation's largest membership organizations for sustainable farmers. "The sustainable food movement is really hitting its stride across the country, and operations like FireFly Farms are helping to lead the way."
"FireFly Farms is a great example of how the CRA Qualified Investment Fund, through its purchase of this SBA pool, is helping finance sustainable small businesses to help create jobs, provide access to capital, and increase the supply of locally-sourced food," said senior portfolio manager Barbara VanScoy. "We are committed to helping expand the scope of traditional community development as it continues to evolve by investing in bonds that finance a variety of initiatives from healthy communities to sustainable agriculture to ecosystem restoration."
The loan to FireFly Farms was authorized under the SBA's 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program, which was established to serve small business borrowers that cannot otherwise obtain private sector financing under suitable terms and conditions. The SBA 7(a) program is SBA's primary vehicle for providing small businesses with access to credit and loan proceeds can be used for a variety of sound business purposes.
"FireFly Farms is committed to caring for our land and protecting our environment for today's communities and future generations," said Michael Koch, president. "We offer award-winning premium handmade goat cheese produced and sourced locally from Maryland's Allegheny Plateau."
FireFly Farms is located in a moderate-income census tract and a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone). The HUBZone program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. It helps promote job growth, capital investment, and economic development by providing contracting assistance to small businesses located in these economically distressed communities.
Since the CRA Qualified Investment Fund's inception in 1999, its total investments in small business development and job creation initiatives nationwide are approximately $127 million. Overall, the Fund has invested approximately $3.7 billion in impact investments on behalf of its shareholders. As of March 31, 2012, the average annual total returns for the CRA Qualified Investment Fund CRA Shares for 1-year, 5-year, 10-year and since inception (August 30, 1999) were 6.96%, 5.07%, 5.02% and 5.23%, respectively.
About Community Capital Management, Inc. and the CRA Qualified Investment Fund
Community Capital Management, Inc. is an independently owned, client-focused fixed income investment adviser and the registered investment adviser to the CRA Qualified Investment Fund. The firm was founded in 1998 and the Fund was launched in 1999. The firm's primary goal is to produce above-average, risk-adjusted returns while providing added diversification and simultaneously having a positive impact on the community and the environment. Clients include public funds, foundations, financial institutions, faith-based investors, and other types of impact investors. Community Capital manages over $1.5 billion in fixed income assets. For more information, please visit www.ccmfixedincome.com.
The performance data quoted represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Performance reflects fee waivers and expense limitations that had been in effect. The Fund is not currently waiving any fees or expenses. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. An investor's investment return and principal value will fluctuate, so that your shares when redeemed may be worth more or less than your initial cost. To obtain the most recent month-end performance, call 1-877-272-1977. Performance of other share classes may vary.
Investing involves risk including the loss of principal. Bonds and bond funds are subject to interest rate risk and will decline in value as interest rates rise. The Fund is non-diversified. Carefully consider the risks, investment objectives, charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. The prospectus contains this and other important information. Call 866-202-3573 for a prospectus. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. As of 5/31/12, this investment represents 0.31% of the fund's assets. The CRA Qualified Investment Fund is distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (SIDCO) which is not affiliated with Community Capital Management or any other affiliate.
About FireFly Farms
FireFly Farms offers nationally and internationally award-winning goat cheese that features the distinct regional flavors of Mountain Maryland's Allegheny Plateau. Each cheese is artfully handcrafted and aged with precise detail; and, each offers distinguished flavor, exceptional texture, noteworthy composition, and unprecedented aesthetics. The cheese is produced using agriculturally sustainable, locally-sourced fresh goat's milk and time-honored, traditional methods of goat cheese making. For more information, please visit www.fireflyfarms.com.
About Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
The Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) was formed in 1991 by funders with a shared interest in economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible systems of food production, processing, distribution and consumption. SAFSF is a broad international network of grantmakers that works to foster communication, shared learning and information exchange about issues connected to sustainable agriculture and food systems. For more information, please visit www.safsf.org.
SOURCE Community Capital Management, Inc.