Calvert Impact-managed New York Forward Loan Fund 2 opens
Jul 20, 2023 | Bethesda, MD
Gov. Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of the New York Forward Loan Fund 2, with Calvert Impact as manager. The New York Forward Loan Fund was one of a number of state and regional funds stood up during the pandemic and arranged by Calvert Impact to promote small business growth. Now in its second phase, the program is welcoming applications and will look to lend to thousands of additional New York small businesses and nonprofits.
Part of New York's broader State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) efforts led by Empire State Development, the Fund will be in place for the next eight years and will focus on helping small businesses and nonprofits, particularly those in low-income and historically underbanked communities, access flexible working capital. Small businesses and nonprofits from anywhere in the state can now apply for fixed-rate loans of up to $150,000 from participating CDFI partners.
This program leverages lessons from the first New York Forward Loan Fund and four similar funds structured by Calvert Impact over the last three years. Together these funds have supported nearly 6,000 small businesses with access to affordable, flexible credit and free business services. Results from these programs are included in the recently released report entitled "Small Business Community Finance: Scaling with Integrity," which outlines the importance of access to credit in helping small business owners retain employees, grow business assets, reduce stress levels, and operate through uncertainty and proposes ideas for scaling up the small business finance infrastructure.
"We're thrilled to welcome applications for the New York Forward Loan Fund 2," said Joe Meginnes, Strategy Director at Calvert Impact who has been leading the fund's development. "This program has a fantastic track record – helping to keep businesses open and people employed during the pandemic – and now will enable eligible small businesses and nonprofits to not only sustain operations, but to grow and thrive by accessing capital."
The Fund will provide the loans through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that have decades of experience serving historically under-resourced and underbanked communities from all regions of the state, including communities of color, women, veterans and individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community. Participating lenders include Accion Opportunity Fund, Ascendus, NDC's Community Impact Loan Fund, Pursuit, and TruFund Financial Services.
During its first round of loans, the New York Forward Loan Fund distributed $97 million in working capital loans to more than 1,700 small businesses in 57 counties across the state.
Commenting on his experience with New York Forward, Trent Griffin-Braaf, owner of Tech Valley Hospitality Shuttle, said, "The process was simple and they understood our business plan and where I wanted to see it go. They believed in Tech Valley and approved a loan."
Calvert Impact's small business programs have been supported by the Citi Foundation and Wells Fargo over the last several years.
"Affordable access to capital continues to be the number one need of small businesses, particularly those owned by low to moderate income and underbanked communities" said Jenny Flores, Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. "As one of the largest funders of the first round of the New York Forward Loan Fund, we are proud to support the State of New York, Calvert Impact, and Community Reinvestment Fund, on their mission to leverage the State Small Business Credit Initiative to put more capital in the hands of small businesses so they can start, operate, and expand."
Calvert Impact and partners are recipients of grants through Citi Foundation's Community Finance Innovation Fund, which provided grants to support collaboration and scale across the industry.
“As a seed funder of the New York Forward Loan Fund, the Citi Foundation witnessed first-hand how the Fund served as an important tool to help small businesses and nonprofits keep their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “Given the Fund’s tremendous impact, we are once again providing support to help scale the program and help connect more local organizations with access to capital.”
The Fund is administered locally by Community Reinvestment Fund, which is also providing the technology solutions for the program.
For more information and to apply, visit NYLoanFund.com.