In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy killed more than 150 people in the U.S. and caused an estimated $65B in damage – making it the 2nd costliest U.S. hurricane.

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As the second anniversary of Sandy approached, Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Foundation and their advisors at UBS had a clear goal: help affected New Jersey counties build back better.  They wanted to partner to better understand ongoing housing insecurity in these counties and continue refining opportunities for how the Foundation and others could support those still in need.

A coalition spearheaded by UBS Private Wealth Management, built around a place-based investment strategy and convened by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation is poised to rebuild the Jersey Shore from the ground up. Philanthropic capital, though generous, was insufficient to offset the high cost of repair and housing-related expenses of homeowners and renters. And, as a result, years later many affected residents now face depleted savings, homes still in disrepair, and significant mental health challenges and other stress.

As we explored the details of Impact New Jersey, Amplifier noted several aspects that make this particularly innovative. In our research on place-based investing and below market rate returns, one of the key challenges is how do you make it appeal to a much larger audience? Key principles of success are evident in this approach:
First, collaboration invites each partner to do what they do best, whether it’s managing market-rate investments or focusing on local rebuilding.

Second, Impact New Jersey has mainstream appeal. By bundling multiple offerings into a single portfolio, those seeking market-rate returns are satisfied as are those looking to have impact.

Third, mainstream appeal speeds transformation. Because this approach satisfies diverse investors and features the unique convening power of a beloved musician, we believe it can drive a higher volume of capital into place-based strategies, namely New Jersey.

Until now, Sandy has been a story of place-based devastation. But the final verse to the song is still being written. All involved in this effort believe it will soon be a local story of the power of place-based investing, and that this model could be applied to any number of distressed communities.

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