Community Foundation Announces Below-Market Loan Program for Arts, Environment, Animal Care

by Aaron Scott, CFO

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is launching a new program to support nonprofits affected by the ongoing pandemic with below-market loans to help sustain activities and services that benefit our communities.

This Program-Related Investment project is targeted at central and southern Missouri nonprofits working specifically in the areas of arts and culture; conservation and environment; and animal care and advocacy. While these organizations serve important community needs, they have struggled to access traditional grant dollars and other resources directed largely at health and human needs during the pandemic.

This project is a new element of the CFO’s existing Mission-Related Investing strategy. This portfolio uses revolving loans as impact investing to create a “double-bottom line” of serving a public purpose while generating repayment for future investments.

“Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in our region,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “During the pandemic, we have rightfully focused on immediate relief needs such as food insecurity, health, and other human service areas. There will be a day, however, when this pandemic is past history, and it is critical that other nonprofits providing such richness to our region survive now, so they can thrive later. We hope this offers some patient capital necessary to get to the other side.” 

Eligible organizations in the three focus areas must hold 501(c)3 IRS status and have annual revenues of at least $100,000. The range of loans is $20,000 to $50,000 with a maximum level of 25 percent of 2019 revenues. The loan repayment period is four years at 2 percent interest. The repayment can be made anytime up until maturity in four years, with at least interest-only payments due semi-annually.

More information and the application are available at cfozarks.org/pri-guidelines. The deadline for applications is Jan. 15, 2021, with notifications planned by Feb. 5, 2021.

The CFO Board of Directors made this Program-Related Investment commitment to enhance the CFO’s response to COVID-19. This additional strategy is intended to support nonprofits that are struggling, but aren’t considered traditional providers of services for pandemic-related needs such as food, rental and utility assistance, health and educational needs.

To date, the CFO has granted more than $3 million for pandemic response through discretionary grants from the CFO and its 51 affiliate foundations; corporate benevolence funds to assist employees; and grants recommended by donor advisors. The CFO and affiliate foundation discretionary grants total 417 to 285 agencies in 84 communities in 52 counties across Missouri.

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