ImpactAssets, a nonprofit impact investment firm, has launched the ImpactAssets Covid Response Fund to respond to a variety of needs created by the current pandemic.

The $1 billion fund will be used for rapid-response charitable giving for such things as helping small businesses and individuals who have been hurt by the coronavirus, and for impact investing, said Margret Trilli, ImpactAssets president and chief investment officer.

The money also will go to companies and projects that advance the immediate fight against the pandemic, including development of treatments and vaccinations, personal protection equipment manufacturing, and the delivery of health services. Funds also will be invested in companies that have materially advanced progress on climate change and social equity, the firm said.

"Now more than ever, the world requires the robust and scalable power of impact investing and philanthropy to support those in need and to create a more resilient and equitable future," Trilli said. “Our goal for the money is impact and speed.”

ImpactAssets will use its network of nonprofits and qualifying investments to disburse the money, with the first round going to those working on the front lines fighting Covid-19, she said. The funds come from contributions to ImpactAssets and through the firm’s donor advised fund,

Some of the money could go out as low-interest or no-interest loans. When the loans are repaid the money will be recycled to help others impacted by the coronavirus, Trilli said.

ImpactAssets worked with the Rockefeller Foundation in developing the fund and with the portfolio companies, fund managers and community banks that are part of its network.