FORT COLLINS — The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado has contributed $500,000 to the Larimer County Small Business Recovery Loan Fund.
“We are shifting dollars from traditional investments, primarily stocks and bonds, so that we can invest in Larimer County’s small businesses,” Ray Caraway, community foundation president, said in a written statement. “We are using a portion of the foundation’s investment portfolio in a creative, resourceful manner to positively impact the community.”
By contributing to the business recovery fund, the foundation supports loans to for-profit businesses for the first time, which helps sustain the local economy. The foundation, which was founded in 1975, established a loan program for local nonprofits in 2017.
“Small businesses play a vital role in our nonprofit community, and this loan program targets a sector that is seriously impacted by the pandemic,” said Tom Behr, a member of the foundation’s nonprofit loan committee. “We appreciate the leadership and structural support of the Bohemian Foundation as well as the opportunity to partner with others in Northern Colorado to support this program.”
The business recovery fund was launched in April by the Bohemian Foundation, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, and the city of Fort Collins as founding partners. In May, an additional $500,000 was donated by the First National Bank of Omaha with the city of Loveland contributing $100,000. The goal is to build the business recovery fund to $5 million.
The community foundation embraces the impact investment model that has proven successful for other foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation that coined this term in the mid-2000s. Impact investing refers to an investment strategy that generates financial returns and creates constructive outcomes linked to the mission of the foundation.
To be administered by the Colorado Enterprise Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the business recovery fund will offer loans of between $2,500 and $50,000 at a fixed rate of 3.5% with no origination fee. Loans are intended for stabilization and recovery of businesses. Eligible Larimer County businesses must employ 20 or fewer workers and must have been economically viable prior to March 15.
Information about the program and details about how to apply are available at NoCoRecovers.com.