Pres House Secures $11 million Impact Investment

National Coalition of Church Lenders Invest in Mission-Driven Student Housing Center

Madison, WI – June 1, 2022 – Madison-based Pres House secured $11.25 million in funding through a coalition of church lenders. The investment expands Pres House’s capacity to serve students attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison with affordable housing and purpose-driven living communities.

Pres House serves 1000 students and is home to 240 residents in the heart of UW’s campus annually. More than 95% of residents of the Pres House Apartments participate in programming beyond simply living in the building and half receive rent scholarships as part of purposeful living communities that support wellbeing, volunteerism, and community-building.

“This investment is a win-win-win,” said Pres House Executive Director, Mark Elsdon. “It supports our vital programming for our students and residents. It allows us to be financially sustainable and maximize our impact in the lives of students. And we pay a return back to our partners so they can support other mission-focused activities elsewhere.”

This loan is the latest example of a growing trend to use church-owned land and assets to launch and sustain social enterprises that generate social good and sustainable revenue.

In 2011 Pres House secured a trailblazing form of funding from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies of the Presbyterian Church, USA to help finance the Pres House Apartments. That impact investment served as the model for this expanded investment which now covers 100% of the remaining debt Pres House carries.

“I’m thrilled that we are now fully funded by church partners, 11 years after an experimental loan sparked a new way of investing,” says Elsdon. “This is an approach we can do much more of throughout the wider church ecosystem to encourage and fund new expressions of church and support social entrepreneurs.”

All interest Pres House pays back to the lending collaborative is used by those lenders to support churches and programs in other places around the country. James Rissler, President and CEO of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program says, “We are excited to be partnering with Pres House in the wonderful mission they offer in the heart of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. We and our ecumenical partners see this as another opportunity to walk alongside the changing face of mission and ministry in today’s world.”

About Pres House
Pres House is a vibrant Presbyterian campus ministry located in the heart of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Founded in 1907, the organization has grown to serve over 1,000 students annually through church, purpose-driven student housing at Pres House Apartments and Candid, a campus-wide wellness initiative that encourages students to engage in self-care and mental wellbeing activities. Pres House Apartments is also home to residents in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction through the Next Step sober living program. Residents in the Next Step program receive staff and peer mentorship certified sober housing support, and a scholarship to assist them with their recovery.

Pres House Executive Director, Rev. Mark Elsdon, is a pioneer in church-based impact investing. Elsdon tells the story of Pres House his recent book, “We Aren’t Broke: Uncovering Hidden Resources for Mission and Ministry,” Elsdon’s upcoming book “Gone for Good” is an interdisciplinary look at how the social fabric of cities and neighborhoods will change as tens of thousands of church properties are sold or repurposed over the next decade.

About the Coalition
Three denomination-affiliated church organizations collaborated to create this first-of-its-kind impact investment. They include the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Investment and LoanProgram, serving as the lead lender, the United Church of Christ – Church Building & LoanFund and the Mission Investment Fund of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Contact: Rev. Mark Elsdon