Social fund of the year, North America: Bridge Investment Group

The Bridge Workforce and Affordable Housing Fund I (BWAHF) won Social fund of the year for building affordable housing communities "to meet the needs of the growing and priced-out 'missing middle'".

Bridge Investment Group has made 8,613 housing units available for rental fees no greater than 30% of 80% of the respective Area Median Income. Bridges said this represents 86.4% of total units in BWAHF.

Judges described the fund's thematic focus as an "important space to be in, with solid criteria and obvious impact".

Isela Rosales, the managing director and head of ESG & sustainability at Bridge Investment Group, said: "We clearly define affordable housing and I think that is what sets us apart - there are definitely a number of peers in this space where their definition is a lot more grey.

"For every one of the communities where we acquire an asset, those communities get a dedicated resource centre. So, we partner with a non-profit, which we pay for, and we put it on the property site, so all of those residents can access the services free of charge.

"The way we do that is: we take 25 basis points or what would have been in our pockets for management fees. We break that off and that is source of funding for those programmes."

EF Awards judges added that the fund has "good integration to public support" and commented: "On-site integration planning with the same non-profit partner is an advantage – creating vibrant and thriving communities of responsible residents who remain [in the properties for the] long-term."

In 2021, Bridge said it allocated $1.1 million in financial support as part of its Covid-19 Relief Fund II.