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Investing in Sustainable, Community Built Housing in México

R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund, an initiative of Realize Impact and Sprout Enterprise®, announced that the fund has joined Beneficial Returns, an impact investment manager, in an investment to improve the lives of rural Mexicans through community-built housing and infrastructure. R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund is participating in the loan that Beneficial Returns has extended to Échale, a social enterprise delivering community development and financing services to communities in rural México.

Échale boosts sustainable community development through social inclusion in the planning and self-construction of housing and community infrastructure in rural México for marginalized, or disadvantaged communities. Through use of appropriate technology, access to financing and participatory processes, Échale has delivered more than 250,000 housing solutions in 28 states in México, benefiting more than one million people.

Communities are trained to produce Ecoblocks, a building block constructed from local soil and a mixture of cement, lime, sand and water. The blocks are thermal and acoustic insulation, ecological, and more resistant to deterioration than cement blocks. Ecoblocks are produced on site using a patented, hydraulic machine, avoiding the significant costs of transporting materials to rural locations. Produced locally, the Ecoblocks are then used by the community in their construction of their housing and community infrastructure.

Échale also operates a community financial society providing access to fair financing for home and land purchase to enable home ownership and secure tenure. These community financial centers provide financial advice and education to develop financial literacy and a culture of saving among borrowers. The loan extended by Beneficial Returns will enable Échale to finance home construction for more than 400 families and home improvements for more than 800 families.

Beneficial Returns manages impact investment funds designed to support leading social enterprises operating in emerging markets. To date, Beneficial Returns has lent almost USD $7 million of impact capital in social enterprises that use market-based solutions to reduce poverty and protect the natural environment.

Ted Levinson, Founder and CEO of Beneficial Returns, expressed the need for impact capital in supporting social enterprises. “We believe that capital, when used consciously, can catalyze positive change,” he said. “Alleviating poverty and protecting the natural environment are our priorities in lending to social enterprises. Échale accomplishes both of these goals by engaging local communities in the self-construction of their own housing and infrastructure, and using materials and processes that are socially and environmentally sound.”

R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund was created by Realize Impact and Sprout Enterprise® to invest in early- stage enterprises creating sustainable livelihoods for rural communities with few economic alternatives. Sustainability and clean energy innovation are key investment themes of the fund.
Named as one of the Transformative 25 Funds in 2021 and 2022, R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund has been recognized by Integrated Capital Investing for transforming finance to benefit people and the planet.

For more information, please contact Ellen Fish at [email protected] or visit:

Échale www.echale.mx

Beneficial Returns www.beneficialreturns.com

Realize Impact www.realizeimpact.org

R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund www.riseartisan.fund

Sprout Enterprise® www.sproutenterprise.net

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