New York, NY – Domini Social Investments LLC (DSIL) announced today the launch of the Domini Social Bond Fund, a socially responsible bond fund with an innovative community development component. The Fund commenced operations on June 1, 2000 and is available for individual and institutional investors. The Fund is managed by DSIL and sub-managed by ShoreBank, the nation’s oldest and largest community development bank. Domini Social Investments is also the manager of the $1.7 billion Domini Social Equity Fund (Ticker: DSEFX), the nation’s oldest and largest socially and environmentally screened index fund.
"The Domini Social Bond Fund takes a new approach to community development investing, which has long been an important component of socially responsible investing. Our fund will be the only mutual fund we’re aware of that is managed by a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), an exciting innovation that will allow our shareholders to pursue their investment goals while channeling critically needed capital to areas that have been largely ignored by our economic expansion," said Amy Domini, Founder and Managing Principal of Domini Social Investments. "This partnership will help build a bridge between the investor and the community that will strengthen ShoreBank’s ability to continue to model new ways to meet the needs of these underserved communities.”
The Social Impact of the Domini Social Bond Fund
The Domini Social Bond Fund will use the same social and environmental screens applied to the Domini Social Equity Fund and will also seek to play a positive role in the economic and social development of communities by investing up to ten percent of its assets in debt instruments and other investments that support and promote community development.
"While an equity fund such as the Domini Social Equity Fund can have an impact on corporate behavior through its screening policies, its proxy voting and shareholder activism a socially responsible bond fund provides a special opportunity to make a significant and immediate difference to people and their communities," Ms. Domini continued.
"The Fund’s community investments will be focused in two critical areas: affordable housing and economic empowerment for low-to-medium income entrepreneurs through the financing of small business loans. For example, the Fund expects to invest a portion of its assets in mortgages, loans and pools of loans issued by community development banks and financial institutions and by community loan funds. These investments will be targeted to underinvested areas, low- to-moderate income individuals, and small businesses."1
ShoreBank, the Domini Social Bond Fund’s sub-manager, is the nation’s oldest and largest community development bank, founded with the purpose of serving the financial needs of residents and businesses in traditionally underserved urban areas. Between 1974 and November 1999, the Bank loaned $600 million for local rehabilitation and commercial development to approximately 12,500 borrowers. ShoreBank currently has $910 million in assets and $57 million in capital. The Bank’s parent company, Shorebank Corporation, has founded a variety of other for-profit and not-for-profit development enterprises in the U.S. and abroad. Shorebank’s investments—which include loans to minority-owned businesses, housing loans in urban neighborhoods, and real estate development–exceeded $100 million in 1999 and are on track to at least equal that amount in 2000. Shorebank is responsible for more than 900 jobs created, placed or retained, and for the rehabilitation of over 3,300 units of multi-family housing.
The Domini Social Bond Fund seeks to provide its shareholders with a high level of current income and total return by investing in bonds and other debt instruments that meet the Fund's social and environmental criteria. The Fund will primarily invest in investment-grade fixed- income securities issued by domestic entities, including government agency and corporate bonds, mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities and U.S. dollar-denominated bonds issued by non-U.S. entities, and will seek to maintain a dollar-weighted average effective maturity of between 2 and 10 years. All securities will meet comprehensive environmental and social criteria. The minimum initial investment will be $1,000 ($500 for our Automatic Investment Plan) or $250 for IRAs and UGMA/UTMA Accounts.
Investors seeking more information about the Domini Social Bond Fund should contact Domini Social Investments at 1-800-762-6814 or visit our website at www.domini.com. The Fund is also available through Charles Schwab and most major fund supermarkets.
Domini Social Investments
New York-based Domini Social Investments manages more than $1.7 billion dollars in assets for individual and institutional investors who are working to create positive change in society by using social and environmental criteria in their investment decisions. The firm is currently the 15th fastest-growing mutual fund family in the country, among fund families with more than $1 billion in assets.2 The firm's flagship product, the Domini Social Equity Fund, is a socially screened no-load index fund. Domini also offers an FDIC-insured community development money market account through its partnership with ShoreBank.
1. Some of these community development investments may be lower rated or unrated and may subject the Fund to more credit risk than other types of debt instruments.
2. Source: Strategic Insight Simfund. Domini Social Investments was ranked 15th in growth of assets out of 232 mutual fund complexes for the year ended 3/31/00. Ranking is based on net flows as a percentage of assets for all mutual fund complexes with more than $1 billion in assets under management. Money market fund assets were excluded. Strategic Insight supports the research efforts of over 125 fund companies who collectively oversee more than 85% of mutual fund industry assets. Their subscribers also include service, distribution, finance, and equity research firms, as well as non-U.S.-based organizations.