In 2009, the Board of Ecotrust Canada made the decision to begin a structured wind-up of its coastal lending program. As a pioneer in this field, ten years of experience and $12 million dollars worth of loans had more than demonstrated the positive impact of small loans to power community enterprise development. But equally this work had demonstrated the risks associated with operating a small fund in the absence of a supportive national or provincial government policy framework. In the wake of the recession, the Board’s assessment was that it was time to let more established institutions with greater risk tolerance move into this space.
In the next few months of 2011, we will release a report, authored by a third party consultant, that offers a review of the loan program – highlighting both the successes and the challenges associated with this body of work. Our intention is to have our lessons support the next wave of social finance activity sparked by the recommendations of the Social Finance Task Force earlier this year.
Ecotrust Canada is currently assessing its next role, as a leadership organization, in the field of social finance. In the meantime, we continue to develop important, timely and innovative solutions aimed at balancing profit-making, people and the environment. We welcome investment in our work in the form of loans, philanthropy, venture capital or equity. We have the internal mechanisms to structure-to-suit the participation of people interested in our projects and processes.