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New fund to spur urgent Indigenous infrastructure projects

Russell Hixson
New fund to spur urgent Indigenous infrastructure projects
PROVINCE OF B.C. - Ksan Dancers perform the "Chiefs Competitive Dance" at Gitxsan Cultural Days near Hazelton, B.C. A new infrastructure fund aims to begin addressing critical infrastructure projects in Indigenous communities.

Graham Capital is teaming up with North 35 Capital Partners to operate an infrastructure fund to build projects that benefit indigenous communities.

The Indigenous Infrastructure Fund (IFF) will focus on equity investments in revenue generating infrastructure projects involving Indigenous communities. The fund is constructed to deploy its own capital and attract additional private sector investment to infrastructure projects that will contribute to closing the gap in Indigenous infrastructure while generating market returns for investors.

North35 Capital Partners is an Indigenous-led advisory firm and Graham Capital specializes in the development of public infrastructure and public private partnerships (P3s).

“Graham will certainly provide back office support, they are a long-standing company with P3 experience and have positive relationships with First Nations across the country,” said Clint Davis, CEO of North 35 Partners. “When we approached them, they could see the value in what we were trying to do and they are well aware of the infrastructure gap.”

Davis added that the need in Indigenous communities is immense.

“This is for critical infrastructure. There is a $30 billion infrastructure gap for assets that many of us take for granted,” said Davis. “This is unique because we are targeting indigenous trusts that manage indigenous capital and money. We are trying to attract a unique source of capital and deploy it into a unique market. The partnership with Graham gives us back-office support and helps to bolster the credibility of the fund.”

Davis explained that the team is still raising funds and is expecting first close by the end of the fourth quarter. The IIF will focus investment in utilities, transportation, social, renewable energy and telecommunications. Under the Development Agreement, Graham Capital will provide services regarding the IIF such as due diligence, investor reporting, asset management and the raising of project level debt.

Davis said the goal is to raise $100 million and investors have a $5 million minimum requirement. He said several investors have already showed serious interest.

“Starting new fund, it’s a longer process, it’s a unique group of investors and unique markets. It will take some time, but we have built that into our planning. We are inspired about the potential opportunities,” said Davis. “And the fact that we are partners with Graham is phenomenal.”

In a press release, Graham expressed its commitment to assisting Indigenous communities.

“Graham is very proud of our Indigenous partnerships, which have spanned western and central Canada, and so our relationship with North35 Capital Partners fits well with our commitment”, said Tim Heavenor, CEO Graham Capital.

“We believe the Indigenous Infrastructure Fund will be a catalyst in developing a robust Indigenous infrastructure market that will have a positive impact on Indigenous communities.”

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