Our approach to lending is different from more transactional financial institutions: we understand that the legacy of systemic injustice means that the communities most in need of patient, nonextractive capital are those least likely to get it. For example, the supposedly “objective” notions of risk and creditworthiness used to evaluate business ventures are deeply racialized in the mainstream financial system.
We also understand that growing a democratic economy at the community level requires a supportive infrastructure to teach the cooperative business skills that are key to success. Our model leverages philanthropic contributions to fund hands-on technical assistance and cooperative teaching support in the lending process, simultaneously making the pool of projects we can support more inclusive while increasing the likelihood of loan repayment.
In our pilot phase, we are prioritizing helping finance cooperatives and other democratically controlled economic institutions that:
- shift capital into traditionally marginalized communities, with a particular emphasis on racial equity
- help demonstrate the promise and power of cooperative business models in strategic sectors
- convert existing businesses to worker ownership
- and/or offer opportunities to expand the pool of capital available for financing the local cooperative economy
If you’d like to schedule an initial conversation with one of our staff members to explore the loan process further, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.