The Community First Foundation, Rose Community Foundation, and Denver Foundation — the largest community foundations in the metro Denver region — have launched a loan fund designed to help local nonprofits manage the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and counter historic racial and gender disparities in access to capital.
Seeded with a $1 million investment from each of the three foundations and an additional $200,000 from the Colorado Nonprofit Loan Fund, which is managed by the Denver Foundation, the Metro Denver Nonprofit Loan Fund will help support the recovery and sustainability of the region's nonprofit ecosystem with no-interest loans and technical assistance. To be managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, the fund will give priority to organizations led by and/or serving Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and women — groups that have long faced barriers in accessing capital and more recently have struggled to access federal government assistance for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To that end, loans ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 over as many as forty-eight months will be awarded to 501(c)(3) nonprofits located in the seven-county Denver metro area or that have an endowment at one of the three foundations. Other requirements include demonstrated financial need, evidence that loan capital is the appropriate financial tool to meet the need, reasonable expectation of payment, and an organizational budget of no more than $5 million.
"We know that when organizations led by and serving communities of color and women have sufficient resources, they excel," said Rose Community Foundation president and CEO Lindy Eichenbaum Lent. "This no-interest loan program not only provides immediate funding to vital community organizations, it offers a low-risk way for these nonprofits to manage debt and build credit, making them better candidates for financing from the commercial market in the future."
"This fund will help dozens of organizations, primarily from underfunded communities, employ a financial resource that institutional barriers may otherwise bar them from accessing," said Denver Foundation president and CEO Javier Alberto Soto. "While the fund is starting out with $3.2 million, we are hopeful that additional funders will join us as well."
(Photo credit: Metro Denver Nonprofit Loan Fund)