June 2022




According to the U.S. Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investments, sustainable impact investment strategies are now managing more than $12 trillion in assets. This presents a tremendous opportunity for our industry to attract the global capital it needs to build and preserve more affordable housing for people who are struggling to make ends meet. But as more investors enter the field, the more pressing it becomes to measure and report on an investment’s impact in a clear and consistent manner.


That is why a broad coalition of investors, property owners, lenders, and other leaders across the industry came together to form the Multifamily Impact Council. 


The Council has three main goals:


  1. Establish and maintain a framework of impact investing principles and reporting guidelines for the multifamily industry.
  2. Partner with external partners, research organizations, and ESG certification groups to broaden our perspective, increase our knowledge base, and simplify the certification process; and
  3. Expand and grow the multifamily impact investing community by serving as a platform for best practices, research, and collaboration.

We cannot achieve these goals on our own. Our industry is too large and complex for a successful framework to be developed with limited input. And so, as we begin our work, we are committed to taking an open, transparent, and inclusive approach throughout our process.


This monthly newsletter will be one of several tools we will use to engage with industry participants throughout the process to share information and invite input. Beginning next month, each issue will focus on a specific impact principle and dive deeper into best practices, challenges, and viewpoints from industry experts. July’s impact principle will deal with the importance of renter engagement and the value of resident service platforms that create closer connections between renters and property owners. If your organization has written examples of best practices in this area that you would like us to highlight, please send them our way.


Thanks for reading, and thank you for joining us on the journey.

Bob Simpson

President, Multifamily Impact Council

Q&A: Antonio Marquez, Comunidad Partners

Antonio Marquez serves as Principal and Managing Partner of Comunidad Partners. He serves on the National Multifamily Housing Council as Chair of the Workforce Housing Committee and a member of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee. He is founder and co-chairman of Veritas Impact Partners.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Antonio founded and co-led the Multifamily Impact Collaborative. That effort led to the creation of the Multifamily Impact Council.

Antonio talks about the Collaborative, the Council, and more in the interview below.

Antonio Marquez Headshot.jpg

How did you first get involved in impact investing?

It just stems from my background and the communities that I grew up in and my family. They started a company in really diverse neighborhoods. So community building, serving a need in a misunderstood market was how I cut my teeth and how I grew up and was raised.

In starting Comunidad, the whole intention was to provide more than just housing. I've always felt that housing should be considered more than just shelter. There are living, breathing souls that live under those roofs. And how do you think about creating a better experience and better outcomes for those residents?

When I started the company, yes, it was a housing strategy, but it was really more of a people strategy with housing just being the vehicle of opportunity for residents, for finding greater access to health care, access to education, and access to jobs. 

Why did you start the Multifamily Impact Collaborative?

I actually started the collaborative in response to COVID. And so what was occurring is I was just seeing, there was a lot of my peers and industry participants and capital markets and capital partners that were all just trying to figure it out. And there was some divergence, or maybe a misinterpretation of what was occurring, and a lot of different solutions that were going in a lot of different directions.

And so the thought behind the collaborative is let's get everyone to talk openly, talk openly about the issues that they're facing. Talk openly about solutions that they've found that worked. And, hopefully, those solutions can germinate and ultimately be adopted and supported so that overall the industry could come out of this and be more resilient.

Then it just organically grew and developed and evolved. And we had a very good following because the topics were not only relevant, but I think the content and the support was something that really helped solve a lot of the issues, not all the issues, but a lot of the issues that those members were facing.

And so it ultimately evolved into what is now the Multifamily Impact Council. Because a recurring theme in those conversations was how do I think about impact? What is valuable? What is meaningful? How do I measure impact? Because it's been the wild west for a long time and industry stakeholders wanted clarity and certainty to their impact strategies.

Who does the Multifamily Impact Council serve?

The industry as a whole and specifically members of the industry that are keen on addressing ESG and being thoughtful about. But even more specifically, how could the multifamily impact council solve a problem and provide tools and solutions and information to improve your business.

We believe improving your business also makes it incumbent on us to improve our residents' lives and outcomes because we think there's a symbiotic relationship. But we start with the industry and those decision makers and those capital markets participants, because we know that really to effectuate change at scale and to truly have impact at scale, you need those decision-makers from a capital perspective, from an infrastructure perspective, even from a legislative perspective, to really move the needle.

What are your goals for the Council?

It's really adding credibility through data and best practices and also giving the industry confidence in what they're doing so they don't have to make it up themselves. The objective is to collectively establish industry accepted principles that have been proven that they can add value and cultivate sustainable business models for those firms that are intentional on executing impact strategies within their portfolio.

And it's addressing pain points because ESG can be overwhelming, especially because it's kind of all over the map right now. So kind of synthesizing it into something that's palatable and executable to members so that they can really grow that side of the business and ultimately reduce risks.

How can people engage with the Council?

There's certainly a way to engage. Right now, we're crafting what membership looks like in the future. We do have founding members that are leaders in the space, and I think will be very impactful in terms of how this is all crafted. We will release it (research, principles) out to the industry at large.

But in the meantime, while that is kind of being developed and incubated the way that other other folks can get involved is to engage, sign up for the newsletter, and we do have a monthly call that we're working on rebooting as well so there are ways to get content and information in the meantime. So stay tuned.

Q&A: Lacy Rice,FCP

Lacy Rice is co-founder and managing partner of FCP, a privately held real estate investment company. He has 34 years of experience in real estate investment and corporate finance and serves on FCP’s Investment Committee.

Before founding FCP, Lacy was a Principal at The Carlyle Group. In addition, he served on the company’s real estate fund’s Investment Committee. Prior to Carlyle, Lacy worked at companies including Alex. Brown, Haas & Haynie Corporation, and Chemical Bank.

Lacy is a National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) board member, serves on the NMHC Affordable Housing Council, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute. 

Below, Lacy talks about his background in impact investing and how he hopes the Multifamily Impact Council's work can affect affordable housing.


What attracted you to impact investing?

Multifamily workforce housing has a better impact story than many, if not most, all other investment opportunities, both within commercial real estate and beyond, and that the industry wasn't telling the story of what is in effect, the double bottom line benefit of impact investing in workforce multifamily housing. And I'm a big believer that in addition to the internal rate of return that we calculate everyday when we underwrite acquisitions, our investments in multifamily have historically missed the return that benefits the tenants and the community. 

And we have for many years done a lot of the traditional impact services that other firms are doing, but we just considered it a day-to-day operations and just kind of how you created a better community. But we didn't do any calculus of what that benefit meant for the tenants and for the broader community. And those are real dollars that are saved to generate it.

It became evident to me that if we were going to get into impact, we needed to have a set of rules that were applicable.

What do you hope the Multifamily Impact Council will accomplish?

Again, there's a need for a common set of standards. And then I think the second need I hope we will get to with the Council is calculating this impact internal rate of return so that the whole industry can begin to report the double bottom line benefit of investing in workforce housing. And I think when they do investors will begin to see that there's a lot more to be gained by investing in workforce housing than just the monetary internal rate of return.

And I'm hopeful that that'll help bring down the cost of capital for workforce housing, a lot more capital will flow in and effectively make housing more affordable.

Tell us more about how the Council's work could help bring more capital into workforce housing.

The impact investing 1.0 involved the view that you can generate returns that are both monetarily favorable and provide an impact and that providing impact services didn't necessarily require a diminution in the financial returns. And I think that that's certainly true in many cases, but I think that as we better report on the impact internal rates of return people will see that investing a little bit more money that might bring down the monetary return can have radical impacts on the impact internal rate of return I think many fold higher than the sacrifice to invest into programs that constitute impact services.

And I'm hopeful when they see that they'll say, "Gee, you know, I'm rather than a levered 15% internal rate of return on this deal, given all the good that we do, I might take a 13 or 12." 

And if that happens, that will reduce the cost of capital for investing in multifamily housing. And we're already seeing signs of that. The family offices and endowments that have more impact orientation seem to be more willing to sacrifice monetary return for impact return.

Who do you see benefitting most from the Council's work?

I think institutional investors in the sector will benefit because there will be true industry, applicable definitions of what impact investing means. And in time clear numeric measurements that take the mystery out of impact. This mission is entirely focused on, "We're going to get rid of the mystery. We're going to have real numbers and real facts. So no greenwashing here."

I'm a big believer in efficient capital markets. And so I think if investors are better off, more capital will flow in. And as I said, that brings more and lower cost capital to the industry.

And I think it's going to shine a real light on the value of preservation of affordable housing. One of my other sort of missions is to try to communicate to the broader society is that one of the key solutions to the housing problem in the U.S. is preservation of existing affordable housing.

It's really great to build new housing and that needs to be done, but that costs three times as much and takes years and sometimes decades. Whereas, every day firms like ours are buying, renovating old properties. And if they can do it with an impact perspective where we're focused more on maximizing occupancy than maximizing rent, where we're focused on the longevity and benefit, the financial and physical health of our tenants, as opposed to just maximizing rents and minimizing turnover.

Those benefits will show up for the tenants as well. So I think investors, owners, and residents will all benefit.

How will you know if the Council achieves its objectives?

A distinct set of impact standards for the multifamily industry is step one. 

Step two is getting those embraced by all the groups domestically and globally so that they agree that those are the right standards and the folks on our team and other teams don't have to fill out three or four different reports annually to conform with ESG investing standards that their investors imposed.

Then the sort of holy grail is this ability to calculate an impact internal rate of return on every multifamily investment.

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