Our mission is to create more opportunity for locals to invest in their own communities. We believe that the financial industry is in desperate need of local innovation. Many of the decisions we make about how we build our homes, businesses, and communities are made by underwriters and financial advisors who don't represent the people living or working in those communities.
That’s why locals need more opportunities and resources to invest in their local economies. Local businesses and investors are more connected and committed to the communities they do business/invest in. They are more likely to see and experience the impact of their contributions, investments, and entrepreneurial efforts. Even more, they are more likely to stay dedicated through challenging times; supporting the businesses and communities they live and work in.
Helping Communities Rebuild
In the absence of a nonprofit Loan Fund, philanthropic individuals, investors, and institutions are only able to “donate,” but not “invest,” towards local, mission-driven, and innovative projects.
The five counties of the “North Bay” (Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Solano) face serious obstacles on the path to recovery from the 2017 North Bay wildfires. Conventional governance, development, and finance will be challenged to meet the sheer volume of demand for affordable housing. The region’s unsustainable housing, childcare, and labor costs will stifle economic growth, jeopardize the recovery, and force working families out of the region. As of Summer 2018, at least half of disaster-affected homeowners remain underinsured with an average $317,000 shortfall (~$1.7B in total) and growing due to increasing labor and material costs. Many homeowners will be unable to acquire conventional financing from conventional institutions because of market conditions and risk criteria that these institutions must consider. Seniors on fixed incomes and mid- to low-income families were particularly vulnerable to the effects of losing their home (and wealth) without adequate insurance or financial support. Furthermore, nonprofits and local businesses (builders, contractors, subcontractors, etc.) are being squeezed by a labor shortage and don’t have access to sufficient working capital, which would enable these businesses to maintain/hire additional crews and expand into the disaster affected neighborhoods. Timing is critical as the North Bay families risk further displacement due to the expiration of rent protections/additional living expense from the disaster-declaration/insurance coverages.
In response, California Community Lender Inc. has created a nonprofit Revolving Loan Fund to organize financing for affordable housing, community facilities (schools, libraries, hospitals, etc.), sustainable development projects (“green” multi- and single-family), and communities rebuilding from natural disasters. The Loan Fund will serve as an vital conduit that can leverage, coordinate, and deploy disaster recovery funds and CRA funds (Community Reinvestment Act) and impact notes; allowing investors to invest alongside public donations and grants for balanced financial, environmental, and social returns. In addition, the Loan Fund will convert public grant and donation funding into a long-term, renewable asset that can be reinvested perpetually back into the local economy. The Loan Fund aims to provide a replicable business model that can be employed by other communities affected by climate change and natural disasters.