From 2017 to 2018, the Connecticut Green Bank ("CGB") experienced a dramatic change in fortunes. In July of 2017, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government gave the bank its prestigious Ash prize in policy innovation. Less than a year later, the Connecticut legislature "raided" the bank’s revenue streams, throwing its existence into doubt.
While CGB managed to claw back enough money to survive, the quasi-governmental agency recognized that it needed fresh innovations to fulfil its mission.
The Connecticut Green Bank (CGB) began work in 2011 when the state legislature authorized the new entity to invest a fund supported by existing surcharges to electricity payments. The CGB used its funding to unlock private capital and co-invest in various programs. CGB became a veritable Swiss Army knife of finance techniques. While many in the state legislature appreciated the CGB’s efforts, the state faced a massive deficit for FY2018 and FY2019. The legislature, as a revenue-raising measure, swept over half of CGB's earmarked revenue stream into the state's general fund. In response, CGB restructured its operations with an eye to self-sufficiency. Rather than concentrate solely on leveraging private dollars, CGB required that its investments return at least five percent over a ten-year period. To reduce overhead, CGB also established a not-for-profit subsidiary, Inclusive Prosperity Capital (IPC), to take over programs with less lucrative returns that benefited low- to moderate-income (LMI) households.
IPC employed eight key people from CGB. The new nonprofit was funded by contract from the CGB as well as program-related investments from foundations. CGB and IPC leadership believed that IPC's independence from CGB would allow the organization to scale the programs in its purview both within Connecticut and beyond, making IPC self-sustaining. The reorganization prompted the leadership of both the CGB and the new IPC to formulate new strategies. The CGB had to consider how it would structure its programs to meet its self-imposed funding targets. At the same time, the IPC had to consider how it would scale the legacy programs it operated to become viable in its own right.
2019 Aspen Institute Business & Society Competition Case Study
Publication Date: March 27, 2019
Suggested Citation: Jaan Elias, Vero Bourg-Meyer, and Stuart DeCew, "Connecticut Green Bank 2018: Finance and Marketing After the Raid," Yale SOM Case 19-010, March 27, 2019
Keywords: Bonds, Loan Loss Funds, Interest Rate Buydown, Solar Energy, Hydrogen, Inclusive Prosperity Capital