Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) is inviting area organizations and businesses seeking to expand high impact community efforts in Kalamazoo to apply for Impact Investment Loans. These loans are a special financing option for projects that support community growth in three goal areas: increasing housing equity, creating an inclusive economy and developing nonprofit infrastructure.
“With Impact Investment Loans, our goal is to help bring visions of a more equitable Kalamazoo to life,” said Martha Gonzalez-Cortes, vice president of Community Investment. “This program broadens KZCF’s ability to support people who are thinking creatively about our future while removing the barriers of more traditional funding sources.”
Eligible projects work toward the following goal areas, which all further the Community Foundation's greater mission of improving equity in the Kalamazoo area:
- Increase access to housing
Community development projects that advance housing equity by increasing affordable rental housing and addressing housing insecurity in Kalamazoo.
- Support and expand BIPOC wealth-building opportunities
Programs and projects that aim to address the racial wealth gap and build wealth among Kalamazoo’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities through initiatives like home ownership and entrepreneurship opportunities.
- Develop nonprofit infrastructure
Capital projects for nonprofits seeking to improve a facility and/or infrastructure to advance equitable outcomes in Kalamazoo.
Impact Investment Loans from KZCF offer recipients an alternative to traditional lending sources, with low interest rates based on the Consumer Price Index plus one percent. This often places the loans below market rates, with the added advantages of flexible loan terms and a streamlined 2-page application process.
Formerly known as Program-Related Investments, Impact Investment Loans have been instrumental in supporting innovative community projects like The Creamery in the Edison neighborhood. Set to open in 2021, The Creamery will provide apartments for low- and middle-income people, a YWCA 24-hour childcare center, and a small business accelerator. Other loan recipients include area nonprofits and three Kalamazoo-based venture capital limited partnerships.
“Seeing forward-thinking projects like The Creamery become reality demonstrates how KZCF and community leaders can work together to create a stronger Kalamazoo. We are excited to see how we can support similarly ambitious initiatives that align with our values,” said Jim Escamilla, a member of the KZCF Board of Trustees and chair of the Impact Investment Committee.
The Community Foundation’s Impact Investment Committee will review applications four times a year using a Racial Equity Impact Assessment Guide to ensure alignment with investment priorities. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.