When Jessica Brooks started at Boston Community Capital, it was one in a handful of impact investors in Boston. The kind of work the community development financial institution—now called BlueHub Capital—was doing wasn’t called impact investing then. That was 17 years ago. “Impact investing” came later.
Led by Elyse Cherry, BlueHub has grown from a financial institution managing $60 million to one with more than $1.4 billion on its books. It accomplished that by investing in areas in Boston that mainstream financial institutions had written off as uninvestable: low-income and underserved communities in need of affordable housing and better jobs. BlueHub’s track record has proven that such communities are not only investable, but that betting on their growth is a viable investment strategy.
BlueHub’s story is fitting in an American city known for challenging the status quo (Boston Tea Party anyone?) and inventing new ways to connect and engage communities (patents for the telephone and electronic voting machine and, controversially, the algorithm behind Facebook were all made in Boston.) Today, it’s just one of Boston’s many players proving that there’s business to be done and money to be made in serving the greater social good.