Innovative Platform to Close Funding Gap in U.S. Communities,
Improve Access to Safe, Sustainable Drinking and Wastewater Systems
Washington, D.C. (December 1, 2020) – Millions of people across the U.S. lack access to safe, reliable, and affordable drinking and wastewater services. To address this challenge, a new non-profit platform, the Water Finance Exchange (WFX), is launching to increase investment in the nation’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure and to help meet the growing needs and funding gaps of small and mid-sized utilities across the U.S. Seed funding for WFX is being provided by leading impact investors, the Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the Water Funder Initiative.
WFX’s vision is to bridge the growing water funding gap by combining public and private financing with philanthropic funding to help communities develop safe and sustainable water and wastewater systems. WFX will help break down the financial and structural barriers that have historically stymied water financing by partnering with communities to provide not just supplemental funding, but expertise needed to accelerate water and wastewater infrastructure investments on a broad scale.
To help address the growing needs of rural communities, WFX has partnered with CoBank, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation to establish a rural community predevelopment fund that will serve as a catalyst to more fundable projects in rural America.
“The Water Finance Exchange is working to close the water infrastructure funding gap, helping communities across the country invest in their future. More than 300 million Americans depend on the nation’s public water systems for safe and reliable drinking water and by designing solutions that fit local needs and approaches, the experienced team at WFX will close deals that will build on – not duplicate – regional plans and innovations,” said Matt Crommett, Director, Lyda Hill Philanthropies and LH Capital, Inc.
“WFX is filling a key need in the US water sector, bringing together key organizations, financial institutions and water experts to support communities struggling to maintain and finance sustainable water systems,” said Hank Habicht, WFX Managing Co-Founder and Principal at Global Water 2020.
“The importance of handwashing during the pandemic has highlighted water infrastructure problems throughout the U.S., especially in small and rural water systems where clean water can be unreliable, unaffordable, or both. The Water Finance Exchange will help these communities draw in both public and private dollars to invest in their infrastructure needs.” said Jennifer Kurz, Strategy Lead at the Water Funder Initiative and a Governing Board member of WFX.
In addition to Habicht, a water sector leader for three decades, WFX co-founders include Usha Rao Monari and Brent Fewell. Rao-Monari will provide oversight to the finance and investment activities of WFX, bringing 30 years of investment experience and specializing in infrastructure. Brendan McGinnis will serve as WFX’s Chief Operating Manager of the new non-profit.
“The pandemic has substantially exacerbated water and wastewater issues in small and medium-sized communities. There has never been a more urgent time to bring in the finance necessary to provide solutions to these issues,” said Rao-Monari.
Fewell, a former senior EPA water official, will spearhead business development activities of WFX, working with communities to identify and pursue fundable investments. “Our goal is to serve as a change-agent of sorts, working closely with communities, establishing trust, and identifying the unique and individual needs of the communities we seek to serve,” said Fewell.
For additional information on the Water Finance Exchange, visit www.WaterFX.org.
For additional information on Lyda Hill Philanthropies, visit www.lydahillphilanthropies.org.
For additional information on the Water Funder Initiative, visit www.waterfunder.org.
Fiscal sponsorship for WFX is provided by the US Water Partnership & the Global Environment & Technology Foundation.