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Post From Community Close Ups

The Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund II, New England, USA

Written by Build Healthy Places Staff on July 26, 2023

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Build Healthy Places Network is re-launching our Community Close-up series. In this latest series, the featured case studies provide in-depth details of how cross-sector partners are collaborating on longer-term, community-driven, and community-owned investments that tackle historical disinvestment and advance health and racial equity.

The Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund II (HNEF II) is a $42 million private equity fund. HNEF II invests in mixed-income, mixed-use real estate developments in communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, in areas that often endure significant health and economic inequities. The fund uses a unique underwriting process that pairs lower-cost equity and longer investment periods with rigorous screening for community, health, and environmental benefits using Conservation Law Foundation’s HealthScore. We hope this community close-up provides a guide on how cross-sectors partners can institutionalize an investment practice that prioritizes community well-being as much as financial incentives.

This community close-up is broken up into three parts:

Case study 1: Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund II

In this case study, readers will learn:

  • How HNEF II’s structure and investment strategy allowed the fund to prioritize developments that have robust community health impacts while growing the fund to $42 million in investments.
  • About the design of HealthScore, an impact scorecard designed to screen developments for their responsiveness to residents’ needs, impacts on community health and wellbeing, and environmental benefits.
  • Approaches to raising capital from health investors, who are potentially as motivated by health impacts as they are by profits.
Case study 2: 1463 Dorchester Avenue, an HNEF II Investment

In this case study, readers will learn:

  • About a specific HNEF II investment and how the HealthScore is used to evaluate the health impacts of a project.
  • How the real estate developer incorporated the community’s vision and priorities to help earn the project a high HealthScore.
  • Methods to engage residents in critical decision-making points throughout the development process.
Video snapshot: Healthy Neighborhoods Study: Participatory Action Research and a Community First Approach

In this video snapshot, viewers will learn more about the study that helped inform the HealthScore, including:

  • About strategies on how to use participatory action research (PAR) methods.
  • How the use of PAR can support a community first approach to development.
  • How institutions working to prioritize community-led development can identify their impacts on neighborhoods, build trust, and create meaningful investments for residents.