IIC Helps Housing Choice Partner Create Opportunities For Fair Housing

November 14, 2013 at 10:51 pm

 Christine Klepper, Executive Director of Housing Choice Partners shares how being an IIC Partner helps create opportunities for fair housing.

About Housing Choice Partners

Housing Choice Partners Clients

Housing Choice Partners Clients

Housing Choice Partners of Illinois, Inc. (HCP) was founded in 1995 by metropolitan area Fair Housing organizations. Advocates were concerned about concentrations of poverty and race that had developed as a result of the suburban rent subsidy program (then called Section 8).

HCP was created to promote racial and economic diversity in housing. We work primarily with low-income families who have a housing choice voucher, helping them move into opportunity areas that are more racially diverse, have less poverty, better schools, lower crime and more job opportunities. Our goal is to encourage low-income families to have access to these areas. Over the last 17 years, we have been able to serve over 800 families and relocate them to opportunity areas in over 85 different communities.

We were referred to Michael Pink, our broker, and the founder of IIC, through the wife of one of my board members, who runs a Chicago foundation. She interacts with a lot of non-profits around the city and was aware of the great work that IIC does.

IIC Helps Partner Woodstock Institute Further Research on Vacant Properties in Cook Country

November 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Dory Rand, President of Woodstock Institute shares how being an IIC Partner helps further the mission of her organization.

About Woodstock Institute


Woodstock Institute President Dory Rand

Woodstock Institute is a leading nonprofit research and policy organization in the areas of fair lending, wealth creation, and financial systems reform.  Woodstock Institute works locally and nationally to create a financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities of color can safely borrow, save, and build wealth so that they can achieve economic security and community prosperity.

Woodstock Institute has been a recognized economic justice leader and bridge-builder between communities and policymakers in this field since it was founded in 1973 near Woodstock, Illinois. Now based in Chicago, we work with community and philanthropic groups, financial institutions, and policymakers. Funded by foundation grants, consulting fees, and charitable donations, we conduct research on financial products and practices, promote effective state and federal policies, convene a coalition of community investment stakeholders working to improve access to credit, and help people use our work to understand the issues and develop and implement solutions.

IIC Supports 101 Soldiers of the 101st Airborne with Operation Homelink

November 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Dan Shannon Owner of Aspire Tenant Improvements and President/Founder of Operation Homelink shares his experience as a broker Member of IIC and non-profit founder.

$2,290.00 Check Presented to Operation Homelink in support of their mission to help our troops stay connected with their families.

Featured in photo from left: Michael Pink, Stephanie Sapp, Burgess Wilson and Dan Shannon
$2,290.00 Check Presented to Operation Homelink in support of their mission to help our troops stay connected with their families.

About Operation Homelink

Stack of Fort Campbell Computers

Stack of Fort Campbell Computers

Operation Homelink is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 to support service members and their families with donated computer technology. Our mission includes providing laptops to wounded warriors and veterans and the facilitation of e-mail communication between American service members deployed overseas and their families back home. We offer this service on behalf of our donor corporations, as a way of showing their support for the courageous men and women serving our country.

We provide access to technology so that:

  •  Families can stay in contact with one another
  • Veterans can look for employment
  • Wounded warriors can reintegrate into the workplace after they’ve suffered injuries

Doing Business Doing Good SM

August 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Doing business, doing goodIn 1995, Sharon and I began incorporating something into the practice of our brokerage company MAP Real Estate, Inc. that we thought would both:

  • Get us more business
  • Do something good for the world

We called that new approach to doing business, Investing In Communities®.

We continued the practice for many years, and began to realize that it could become much more important than “just our company.” The business practice got us a lot of business that we would not otherwise have gotten. That’s why we call it doing business, doing good SM; and it’s for this reason that we founded the nonprofit, Investing In Communities. Although it’s a nonprofit, Investing In Communities is the opposite of a charity. IIC funds charities.

The right way to be a human – and the smartest way to be a business person. It’s also the smartest way to be a consumer. More on that, in another post.

We didn’t know in 1995 that we were turning our for-profit real estate brokerage firm into a social enterprise. As time went by, we learned more and more about social enterprise and why that business model makes so much sense.

Over the years, the world has only become more needy and more crowded, with fewer resources. It would be impossible for us not to be “investing in communities.” It’s simply the right way to be human – and it’s the smartest way to be a business person.

Since 1995, we’ve distributed well over $400,000 dollars of our own commissions. That’s in addition to everything that we’re doing to fund the creation of Investing In Communities. It may seem strange, but we’ve been going so fast that it wasn’t a priority for us to find out what was done with the money we gave to the 50 or so organizations which received funding before we activated the nonprofit. It was enough to know that these were very good organizations, doing great work – even if the work was being done for the benefit of someone that we didn’t know and would never meet. Now that we’re building the nonprofit and all funding is directly from Investing In Communities, we take a more formal approach to tracking impact.

Investing In Communities is something that we’re very passionate about and very fortunate to be doing. If we could go back to 1995, we would definitely do it all over again.

For the Happiest of New Years, Let’s all win!

January 7, 2013 at 9:17 pm


With this post, we both close the old year and bring in the new. While Investing In Communities® has accomplished a lot in the year past, we have far to go – probably around the world.

IIC’s community of communities – those seeking to strengthen and expand collaboration between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors for their mutual benefit – has nearly 400 participating charities. Because of our history, about 60 % are located in Chicago metro. The others range from St. Croix to Hawaii, from ME to WA, and from Mexico to Canada!

Feed the Hungry San Miguel

Because of a very active IIC volunteer who lives there, many of our 50 Member agents work in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We just made our first distribution to an IIC Nonprofit Partner not located in the US, Feed the Hungry San Miguel. What makes this event even more notable is that it’s the first time that the Member’s pledge was matched by their client. In fact, the client more than matched it. IIC requires only that the fortunate agent who is awarded the brokerage assignment pledge a minimum of 10% of that commission for distribution through IIC to their client’s favorite charity.

How Real Estate Helps Children Grow Into Leaders

June 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

“I’m a Dream Leader … I have to help people now.”



Despite the hard work of his single mother in raising J.L. and his siblings, J.L. experienced a difficult childhood.  In order to ensure that his family always had enough to eat, J.L. would regularly shoplift.  He was heading down the wrong path.  That was until he attended his first Dream Leader Conference.

Dream Leader Conferences are programs created by Dreams for Kids in which at-risk youth and children with disabilities are brought together with their peers for the purpose of learning and helping others.[1]

After opening up and sharing his difficulties at home during the Dream Leader Conference, J.L. began the process of becoming a true leader.  In discussing his old practices of stealing, J.L. said, “I’m a Dream Leader now. That isn’t what a Dream Leader does. I have to help people now. There are so many people who need more than I do and I have to help them. I need to be a good example.”

Tracking Social Impact with Ashoka Changemakers: How Dreams for Kids is Getting it Right

April 18, 2012 at 6:31 am

Wonderful news! Investing In Communities is excited to announce a new partnership with Ashoka Changemakers. As a Funding Partner on Changeshops Beta, IIC will require all funding recipients to set up a free Changeshop so they (and we) can track the social impact of IIC’s funds.

What is social impact, anyway? When we talk about measuring social impact, we generally mean measuring social or environmental outcome – the result of implementing a program, producing a good, or consuming a product or service.  Outcomes are distinct from outputs – the amount of goods produced or products delivered [1].

Create a Changeshop

Grow and track your impact – and we mean your outcome!

And why is this distinction important? Suffice it to say that the past ten years have seen an incredible upsurge in both the intensity and extent of outcome-oriented philanthropy [2]. Put another way, let’s face it: tracking the impact of social ventures has become an integral factor in determining which organizations receive funding. Foundations, corporate donors, and the government are all starting to evaluate impact. Funding is scarce, and you don’t want your organization to miss the boat. But it’s not just about funding. The real goal of impact assessment is to understand how to better serve your beneficiaries. (To read more about the broader implications of this industry shift to outcome-oriented philanthropy, we encourage you to check out a recent article by IIC’s Colleen Poynton: “The Challenges of Measuring Impact Assessment”).

With these two objectives in mind – funding and social good – let’s look at just how Investing In Communities’ partnership with Ashoka Changemakers will help nonprofits, consumers, and real estate professionals make a difference in their communities. 

The Challenges of Measuring Social Impact

April 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Read the full article at Sustainable Brands.

Social ventures are launching rapidly across the globe and striving to build sustainable business models that drive social or environmental progress. Yet to achieve progress through enterprise, social entrepreneurs must confront a challenge that has long plagued the nonprofit sector – quantifying and tracking social impact.

Substantive impact measurement can be costly and complex, but it’s critical for social ventures pursuing greater scale and efficacy. Recently, sector heavyweight Ashoka launched an open resource that will encourage and facilitate impact tracking across the social change sector – to the benefit of social entrepreneurs, ventures, funders, and investors globally.

Colleen Poynton

Post by Colleen Poynton, Manager of Business Strategy and Development at Investing In Communities

When we talk about measuring social impact, we generally mean measuring social or environmental outcomes – i.e. the result of implementing a program, producing a good, or consuming a product or service.  Outcomes are distinct from outputs – the amount of goods produced or products delivered.[1] While traditional business is concerned with profitably generating outputs, a social enterprise must produce outputs profitably (or at least sustainably), while also advancing a desired social or environmental outcome.

Unfortunately outcomes are not as easily quantified as outputs. They are messy results of numerous variables, only a few of which a social enterprise can hope to influence effectively.[2] The measurement challenge that social businesses face is to demonstrate a connection between output (say, # jars of honey made by formerly incarcerated workers) and outcome (i.e. increased employment and reduced local recidivism rates), and to describe that connection quantitatively (i.e. “Our operations lowered recidivism by 15% relative to control populations over 5 years.”). Quantifying and tracking this relationship is costly. It requires greater data collection and analysis upfront (before launch) as well as over time….

Read the rest of Colleen’s article at SustainableBrands.Com

Deals that Make a Difference: A Beautiful New Space and Professional Furniture for Delta Institute

April 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Delta Institute’s long-range vision is to transform the Great Lakes Region into the center of the rapidly growing green economy.

And now the follow-up you’ve all been waiting for: so how did Delta Institute use its over $10,000 in funding from Investing In Communities?

In addition to getting a beautiful space at a very affordable rent, Delta used its no-cost funding from Investing In Communities to buy the furniture necessary to make its new office space truly professional. In fact, we were thrilled to get a sneak peek at their new space! And wow – check out the number on that check. What could your favorite nonprofit do with that kind of funding?

Chicago-based Delta Institute generated over $10,000 in free funding for itself by working with a socially responsible real estate professional.

Want to learn more about how this deal made a difference for an amazing nonprofit? Make sure to check out our first post in this two-part series about Delta Institute’s nearly $11,000 in free funding.

TWO Real Estate Deals Make a Difference: Operation Homelink and Circle of Parents

March 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

We’re excited to announce that TWO fantastic nonprofits have just received funding through Investing In Communities! Investing In Communities (IIC) recently distributed over $3,000 to two Nonprofit Partners: $881 to Operation Homelink and $2,313 to Circle of Parents. What made this philanthropy possible?

Operation Homelink

Dan Shannon of Aspire Properties makes his deal make a difference – over $800 in free, unrestricted funding for Operation Homelink!

An anonymous client generated free funding for Operation Homelink by working with a socially responsible real estate professional - Dan Shannon of Aspire Properties. And Metropolitan Group generated free funding for Circle of Parents by working with Michael Pink of MAP Real Estate - another broker committed to serving his community.

As IIC Real Estate Members, Dan and Michael are making real estate deals make a difference. For these transactions, Dan and Michael both pledged to send 10% of their commissions to IIC, dedicated to the nonprofits of their clients’ choices. Now that’s commitment to client and community!

And what do these great nonprofits do?