Secures places—urban, rural and wild—that are keystones of a sustainable future

Forterra image with bikers and car driving down road

Rapid growth calls on us to step up, commit to and invest in keeping our region special. That is why Forterra launched the Strong Communities Fund in 2016 as a tool to accelerate the strengthening of our communities by pooling, leveraging and directing social investment capital.

The Forterra Strong Communities Fund gives you a way to invest in community real estate for social and environmental impact and recoup invested capital plus a 2 percent annual return.

This $50 million private equity fund buys and deploys targeted community real estate to grow neighborhoods in King and Pierce counties into welcoming and affordable places for all and to keep ecosystems vital.

Public health outcomes are driven by where we live, work and play. The connections between our natural, built and social worlds are indisputable. Forterra has a strong history of saving lands to protect place; now they are investing in lands to also safeguard people and Seattle Foundation is proud to partner with them. The goals of the Strong Communities Fund are aligned with Seattle Foundation’s Healthy Community framework, specifically our priorities for impact within Basic Needs, Environment and Vibrant Communities.

Seattle Foundation is inviting philanthropists to participate directly using their Community Philanthropy Fund, Family/Personal Foundation or Corporate Foundation. Seattle Foundation’s goal is $3 million for the Strong Communities Fund and philanthropists may participate with a minimum investment of $25,000.

Forterra's pitch book (PDF)

Ron Sher

"Through my work as a real estate developer, I’ve been dedicated to building spaces that add to the vitality and health of communities. With the rapid pace of development that our community is currently experiencing, Forterra’s Strong Communities Fund plays a critical role in ensuring that spaces are developed well with the community in mind. This is an important investment in livable, affordable places that bring people together and enrich our community."

-Ron Sher, Seattle Foundation philanthropist, CEO of Sher Partners and Founder Third Place Books

How does a Seattle Foundation philanthropist participate?

1. Recommend $25,000 or greater from your philanthropic fund
2. Stay up-to-date with annual reports on the social and environmental impact of the investment as well as the financial returns
3. At the end of the investment term, the principal is returned* to your philanthropic fund and may be used for grantmaking or another impact investment

About Forterra

Forterra conserves wild lands, working lands and open spaces that support the health and well-being of all. Whether in the forest or in urban centers, Forterra recognizes the need to support real investments that sustain this place for future generations.

Forterra has permanently conserved 250,000 acres of land and improved the quality of life for people in over 94 Washington communities. For 25 years, Forterra has created positive change by conducting land transactions, stewarding land, engaging communities and conceiving and advancing forward-thinking policies.

Forterra believes that healthy, vibrant cities are key to addressing population growth and climate change. It works with local communities and partners to drive policies promoting livable cities that can accommodate our growing numbers while maintaining a good quality of life for all residents. It also focuses on restoring and maintaining urban green spaces and envisioning new uses for properties on which healthy, green mixed-use projects can be built close to transit corridors and town centers.

Strong Communities Fund Terms
- Term: 10 years, with up to two 2-year extensions
- Rate: 2% simple preferred return; actual return may be higher or lower depending on property sale amounts
- Repayment Schedule: as properties are sold; sales proceeds are distributed and not reinvested
- Position: limited partner
- Collateral: partnership assets (interests in properties and loans made by partnership)

Shaula Massena

"I was very excited when I heard about the Forterra Strong Communities Fund...Just earlier this year I read in the Northwest Asian Weekly about a property that local community development nonprofits were aiming for but lost out to a private developer because they were taking too long to get their project support aligned. The Forterra Strong Communities Fund is a great solution, to be able to move quickly on promising properties and hold them while community organizations arrange alignment, at a cost of capital that won't become yet another barrier for the community organizations to overcome."

- Shaula Massena, Seattle Foundation philanthropist, and experienced impact investor


October 20: Deadline to submit your recommendation form.

Seattle Foundation philanthropists may request a copy of Forterra Strong Communities Fund private placement memorandum or a summary of Seattle Foundation's due diligence by contacting Allison Parker (206.515.2128 or email).

June 26: A conference call to learn more and ask questions about this impact investment opportunity took place on Monday, June 26. Call participants included:

- Gene Duvernoy, President & CEO, Forterra
- Shaula Massena, Seattle Foundation philanthropist
- Michael Brown, VP of Community Programs, Seattle Foundation
- Jeanette Lodwig, General Counsel, Seattle Foundation
- Allison Parker, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Seattle Foundation

If you would like to listen a recording of the conference call, please contact Jesus Carbajal at

Allison Parker  For more information on getting started with impact investing, contact Allison Parker (206.515.2128 or email). 

*As with any investment there are risks and there is no guarantee that these assets will be returned to the Fund.