Catholic Impact Profile: Bon Secours Health System

Bon Secours Health System

Bon Secours Health System (“Bon Secours”) is a not-for-profit Catholic health system sponsored by Bon Secours Ministries and founded by the Sisters of Bon Secours. With operations in Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida and New York, Bon Secours owns, manages, or joint ventures 19 hospitals and 28 post-acute care facilities or agencies including skilled nursing facilities, home care and hospice services, and assisted living facilities. The Mission of Bon Secours is to bring compassion to health care and to be Good Help to Those in Need, especially those who are poor and dying.

Socially Responsible Investing

A reflection of the charism of Bon Secours is the health system’s Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) policy.  Through the SRI policy the Health System recognizes and accepts its moral and ethical obligation to steward its investable assets in a manner consistent with its mission, vision, values and core strategies.  Bon Secours understands this stewardship responsibility within the context of the social teachings of the Catholic Church and its commitment to advocate for systemic changes to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities.  In order to fulfill its mission and to be a socially responsible steward, Bon Secours will not only refrain from investing in companies whose products, services, or actions are contrary to its mission, but will also participate through its community investments and shareholder advocacy to promote the health of the people and communities Bon Secours serves and society at large.

Bon Secours prefers to invest in companies that are pro-active in support of

  • The gift of life from its earliest stages through end of life, by promoting the wellbeing of all, providing affordable goods and services in areas of health and wellness, housing, food, education, access to utilities and transportation with renewable energy sources.
  • Respect for the environment, by having clear environmentally sustaining policies and products, by promoting energy conservation, by using and/or developing clean, renewable energy sources, and by providing environmental reporting.

  • A commitment to peace and investments that promote peace.

Bon Secours has also established an Advocacy Fund to engage in corporate dialogues to advance ESG concerns through its membership in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

Program Strategy and Criteria

Bon Secours’ Community Investment Program aims to invest up to five percent of its Long-term Reserve Fund (LTR) with intermediaries that serve low-and moderate-income communities, primarily through community development financial intermediaries (CDFIs).  The goal of the program is to make impact investments with institutions and/or projects to promote access to jobs, housing, food, education and healthcare for low-income and/or minority communities. Metrics employed to evaluate return on investment include the number of jobs or housing units created for low- and moderate-income populations. Bon Secours also tracks the return of principal and interest earned.  

 Local Entrepreneur Supported by Bon Secours Health System

Local Entrepreneur Supported by Bon Secours Health System

The program was established through the board’s socially responsible investment policy, and is reviewed every 3 years.  The Executive Management Team approves all investment decisions. The Pension and Investment Committee receives annual updates on the program.

The minimum investment is $100,000. Bon Secours seeks a modest annual return (1 to 2.5 percent) and the historical return has averaged 2.25 percent. Generally, loan terms begin with three years and are extended with renewals with semi-annual interest payments and principal repaid at the end of the term.

Bon Secours has adopted a tiered priority system for how dollars should be invested in:

  • Local Bon Secours Health System communities;
  • Communities that correspond to Bon Secours global health initiatives;

  • A Green Revolving Fund;

  • The Fund is seeded with Community Investment funds.  Its investments are managed in consultation with the organization’s Green Team.

The Green Revolving Fund is an internal mechanism to finance energy-efficient projects that have a payback of less than three years.  The initial $700,000 project replaced an inefficient medical gas chiller saving millions of gallons of water as well as corresponding expenses.

Performance:

Since 2008, Bon Secours has allocated more than $34 million or approximately 2.6 percent of its current $1.3 billion LTR to support affordable housing, economic development, community facilities, and other projects that benefit community members.  Bon Secours currently has 20 outstanding investments.

 Over 800 units of affordable housing for seniors and low income residents across 11 developments

Over 800 units of affordable housing for seniors and low income residents across 11 developments

Among the impact of various loans are:

  • Addressing housing affordability: In West Baltimore, in response to a community engagement process, Bon Secours helped build more than 800 units of affordable housing and worked with residents to convert more than 640 vacant lots into green spaces. In Greenville, South Carolina, Bon Secours helped develop a community land trust through staff support and seed funds for the Sterling neighborhood as well as collaborated with Mercy Housing to increase capacity of affordable housing.
  • Supporting local and small business development: In Richmond, Bon Secours partnered with the community development intermediary LISC to grant more than $300,000 over four years to support locally owned businesses through a program called Supporting East End Entrepreneurship (SEED).  It recently committed to providing another $150,000.

  • Support for international micro-financing:  Through Seattle-based Global Partnerships, Fonkoze in Haiti, and Shared Interests in South Africa, Bon Secours has placed $3,050,000 to be invested in micro-financing instruments to foster women’s cooperatives as well as entrepreneurial business development among low-income populations of Peru, Haiti, and South Africa.  

  • Addressing lack of access to health and affordable food: With loaned funds from Bon Secours Virginia Community Capital is providing financing to a grocer in a Newport News, Virginia neighborhood.  Bon Secours has been an advocate for a grocery store in several neighborhoods that have been identified as food desserts.

  • Addressing energy efficiency for fixed income populations:  Bon Secours provided the Solar and Energy Loan Fund with $100,000 to provide efficient clean energy technologies to lower and fixed income populations in Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL through no-interest loans.   These loans have the double benefit of mitigating poverty and carbon reduction in a climate sensitive locale.

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Front Porch Cafe

 

Part of Sarah Jones Garland Center, which also includes instructional kitchen and program space