As more individuals and institutions move to mission-related investing, the moment could be ripe for bringing some of that capital to the field of arts and culture. A report released Monday looks at how to bring more impact investing opportunities to the creative economy, and use that money to shape an equitable and sustainable field.

“Given the political climate at the time of writing, new sources of funding for creativity and community development are more important than ever,” the authors write. (The report is from Upstart Co-Lab, a nonprofit organization founded last year to connect investors with people working in creative spaces, and the Calvert Foundation.) “With stronger ties between impact investing and creative places and businesses, more capital can be channeled to help anchor communities, create jobs, and improve quality of life across geographic and demographic boundaries.”

The report, “Creative Places & Businesses: Catalyzing Growth in Communities,” found that at $704 billion, the U.S. creative economy accounts for 4.2 percent of the U.S. GDP, yet has largely been left out of impact investment. Although community development finance institutions have been putting capital into creative places and businesses for decades — through affordable housing, community facilities, small businesses and more — there has been little attention paid to the “creative characteristics” of these ventures.

The report’s authors peg this as a major missed opportunity, particularly given that “creative placemaking” is a rising buzzword at the moment. Creative placemaking, they write, has shown how the work creatives do in their communities can strengthen economies, build engagement across the city and help support resiliency efforts, and has become “a core component of comprehensive community development.”

The need for better education goes both ways. Many of the creative business owners the researchers talked to had never heard of CDFIs or community lenders, and preferred “bootstrapping and organic growth” to borrowing because they did not believe they would qualify for a loan. When they did take on a loan, many of these businesses preferred equity over debt, fearing “pressure to repay the loan would interfere with their creative vision and commitment to social impact.”

Read the full article about impact investing by Kelsey E. Thomas at Next City.