July 14, 2020

New Collaboration to Finance Cultural Heritage Sites

As the leader of the World Monuments Fund over three decades, Bonnie Burnham saw firsthand how cultural heritage sites around the globe stimulate local economies and strengthen communities. “Heritage sites, whether buildings, landscapes, or structures,” explains Ms. Burnham, “have enormous cultural or historical value that with careful stewardship can be translated into economic value and job creation for a broad range of stakeholders.” Unfortunately, many heritage sites exist in places that have limited public resources for their upkeep.

Enter the Cultural Heritage Finance Alliance (CHiFA), which brings together expertise in conservation, architecture, urban planning, business and finance to orchestrate long-term strategies that create revenue and economic sustainability for heritage assets while supporting a range of Sustainable Development Goals. The goal of CHiFA is to raise loan capital from foundations and other mission-lenders to provide working capital loans that will catalyze significant public and private investment in these important places.

As Ms. Burnham and her team prepared for CHiFA’s formal launch, they realized they needed a strategic partner to manage the operations of their loan fund. Co-Founder Gary Hattem, formerly Head of Deutsche Bank’s Global Social Finance Group, made the introduction to FJC.

As CHiFA raises philanthropic loan capital to invest in sites globally, FJC’s role will be to manage the operations of aggregating and deploying these funds, including servicing for its international project loan fund. This arrangement will allow CHiFA to remain lean and focused on mission, with FJC leveraging its scaled operational platform to deliver back office support and ancillary services. FJC will also manage payments for most of CHiFA’s day to day expenses.

“This relationship will benefit us both,” said Bonnie Burnham, President of CHiFA. “For CHiFA, FJC brings the advantage of more than 25 years of experience in loan servicing and financial management, which will give us, our partners and investors confidence that we will launch our initiative with a high degree of operational excellence. We hope this alliance with a foundation partner will accelerate cultural heritage as an emerging impact investing theme.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with CHiFA to execute this unique and innovative international program,” said Sam Marks, Chief Executive Officer of FJC. “The revitalization of cultural sites has enormous potential impact, not just as a worthy goal on its own terms, but as an engine for economic development and job creation. As a sponsor of Donor Advised Funds with a long history of lending to the nonprofit sector, it’s exciting to apply our operational model to advance the goals of partners like CHiFA, where money meets mission.”