YouthBridge Continues Impact Investing

YouthBridge has made a second round of investment in Justine Petersen in the amount of $300,000, as part of our ongoing commitment to invest more of our endowment in projects that strengthen the St. Louis community. “Our mission is centered on the wellbeing and success of children, and we know that when our families and communities thrive, our children can as well,” says Barbara Carswell, YouthBridge Chief Executive Officer. “These are investments in their future, and with each one, we’re looking to generate measurable social impact alongside a financial return.”

It’s a concept that has a particular appeal to Nina Needleman. When the “recovering financial planner” turned philanthropist listened to YouthBridge’s plans around impact investing in 2019, she was impressed. “I thought it was a creative and impactful idea; as a donor, it’s an opportunity to do more than just write a check. It’s a way to simultaneously address unmet needs while also realizing income for my fund.”

Needleman opened the Needleman Charitable Fund, a donor-advised fund at YouthBridge Community Foundation, that same year. She is co-investing with assets from her fund in our recent loan to Justine Petersen, a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) providing credit building, financial education, home-ownership preparation and micro-enterprise lending to low-to-moderate income individuals and families. In future investments, Needleman says she would also like to support nonprofits with real estate needs, mortgages, bridge loans and other “expenses that can be difficult to get funding for or special consideration by banks.”

Carswell says, “We are excited to partner with Nina in this initiative and are continuously looking to identify new investment opportunities, as the needs of the community continue to rise in the current economic climate.”