Press Release

Calvert Impact Capital Doubles Down on Small Businesses to Build a Lasting, Equitable Economic Recovery

Jul 26, 2021 | Bethesda, MD

Calvert Impact Capital Doubles Down on Small Businesses to Build a Lasting, Equitable Economic Recovery

*Calvert Impact Capital, a non-profit investment firm dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable world, has made and facilitated more than $415 million in loans to help small businesses recover from the pandemic *

To help small businesses facing an uneven and shaky recovery from the pandemic, Calvert Impact Capital, a non-profit investment firm dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable world, has invested, structured, and facilitated more than $415 million for affordable, flexible small business loans since March of 2020. With a focus on reaching businesses in historically under-banked communities, these investments in small businesses through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis are key to building a lasting, inclusive economic recovery.

"The pandemic exacerbated what those of us in the small business lending space already knew: There is a structural gap in the credit market for our smallest businesses," said Jennifer Pryce, CEO of Calvert Impact Capital. "We've been moving capital to responsible small business lenders since 1996, but we've never seen a more urgent time to invest in the small business sector than right now."

Today, small businesses are leading the way in creating a stronger, more resilient post-pandemic economy, especially as people turn to entrepreneurship to replace lost or low-quality jobs. In 2020, Americans started 4.4 million businesses, a 24% increase from 2019. But many of these small businesses won't thrive – or even survive – without access to the responsible funding they need to build and grow. This funding is particularly important for business owners in low-income communities, women, and entrepreneurs of color, who have been chronically excluded and underfunded and were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic yet largely deprioritized in many relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program.

To reach these small businesses, Calvert Impact Capital has doubled down on investments in and alongside Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other mission-driven lenders with a strong track record of reaching underserved communities. Since the pandemic began, Calvert Impact Capital has structured and raised $335 million in affordable liquidity from private, public, and philanthropic sources to purchase loans from more than 25 CDFIs through the New York Forward Loan Fund, the California Rebuilding Fund, the Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund, and Washington State's Small Business Flex Fund, supporting small businesses in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

Nearly 70 percent of loans made with these funds are going to businesses owned by women and/or entrepreneurs of color and more than 90 percent are going to businesses with under $1 million in revenues and less than 10 employees.

In addition, they have recently lent more than $80 million to intermediaries in the US and globally who are addressing small business credit gaps, including $14 million to Accion Opportunity Fund to support their lending to the smallest businesses across the United States, $5 million to Acrecent Financial as a part of a $15 million syndicated facility to support their lending to small and medium-sized businesses in Puerto Rico, and $8 million to the Fund managed by Finance in Motion which supports small businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean that contribute to biodiversity conservation, the sustainable use of natural resources, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

"As we move towards rebuilding our Main Streets, Accion Opportunity Fund is accelerating the delivery of integrated financial solutions to small businesses including affordable loans and business coaching," said Luz Urrutia, CEO of Accion Opportunity Fund. "We are deeply grateful to Calvert Impact Capital for this investment, which enables us to scale our impact and help the small businesses that need it the most."

Prior to the pandemic, Calvert Impact Capital used capital raised through its Community Investment Note™ from 18,000+ investors to make more than $155 million in loans to 33 small business lenders in the United States and around the world – organizations that have supported small businesses through past crises including the Great Recession, hurricanes, wildfires, and more, so they know the importance of community lenders as economic first responders. However, the breadth and depth of the pandemic's impact on small businesses was unprecedented and called for new structures and partnerships.

"Our small business lending partners met this crisis with courage, compassion, and collaboration," said Pryce. "And the new financing structures and cross-sector alliances born from necessity have now set the bar for what this industry can accomplish. With the passage of the State Small Business Credit Initiative in the American Rescue Plan and the new infusion of capital for CDFIs in the December stimulus bill, we see a path to scale that was unimaginable 18 months ago. But we can't lose our focus as the economy recovers and the news cycle moves on. The need is too big."

Equitable small business lending is key to not only building back from COVID-19, but to creating an inclusive, diverse, and more equitable economy for years to come. Even before the pandemic, small businesses faced an $87 billion financing gap – leaving behind some of the nation's most talented entrepreneurs. Investors have an opportunity now to work with CDFIs and other mission-aligned lenders to help close this gap.

Learn more about Calvert Impact Capital's small business lending efforts and portfolio:

About Calvert Impact Capital Calvert Impact Capital uses investment capital to create a more equitable and sustainable world. Through our products and services, we raise capital from individual and institutional investors to finance intermediaries and funds that are investing in communities left out of traditional capital markets. During our 25-year history, we have mobilized nearly $3 billion of investor capital. Calvert Impact Capital also offers loan syndications, where we originate, structure, and administer loans for institutional and accredited lenders seeking environmental and social impact. To date, we have syndicated and/or administered more than $430 million of capital for impact-oriented transactions. More at

For press inquiries: Cat Ulrich (202) 630-7839