Philanthropist is a catalyst for impact creators
Seacoast philanthropist Tom Haas had donated twice to help the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund explore energy efficiency in manufactured homes. But it wasn’t until he toured Pepperidge Woods, the country’s first EnergyStar-rated manufactured home community, that he felt the impact of his gifts.
“I was blown away,” he said. “That was the cutting edge of saving energy. It was an eye-opener.”
“The Community Loan Fund helps people to help themselves, to not only stabilize their lives but to become empowered within their communities,” says Tom.
Philanthropy runs deep through the Haas family, back to his grandparents. His Thomas W. Haas Foundation makes gifts to numerous community, environmental and educational causes, including gifts of food, fuel and shelter.
He sees the Community Loan Fund as complementing those crisis services by providing opportunity.
“Once people’s emergencies are taken care of, how do you put them on a path?” he asked. “The Community Loan Fund helps people to help themselves, to not only stabilize their lives but to become empowered within their communities.”
Tom was excited to learn about the Community Loan Fund’s Farm Food Initiative, not only because the farm-to-table movement is a passion he and his son share, but also because “I’m excited by people trying new things, and using their tools in different ways.”
“The Community Loan Fund has a real entrepreneurial, creative, spirit. You’re always pushing the boundaries, saying ‘What’s the next unmet need in New Hampshire?’ ”
To ensure that the Community Loan Fund continues to meet those needs, Tom made a different type of gift this year. He donated a million dollars to our permanent fund, money that will be loaned again and again as long as the organization exists.
A robust equity pool helps the Community Loan Fund maintain a 100% repayment record to its investors. It’s the “shock absorber” that cushions their money against the rare loan that isn’t repaid.
And because equity gifts are leveraged four times over, Tom is a catalyst not only for others who want to invest in N.H.’s communities, but also for donors seeking the same kind of impact.
“That’s music to my ears,” he says. “It’s nice to present a check, but when I can inspire other people to match what I’ve given, it just makes me feel like we’ve accomplished so much more.”
This story originally appeared in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s 2015 annual report.