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Calvert Impact

Calvert Impact and partners launch New Jersey Capital Access Fund to support small businesses through community lenders

Calvert Impact and its partners today announced the launch of the New Jersey Capital Access Fund, the third loan participation program under Calvert Impact's strategy to leverage the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). Created in partnership with New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), the program aims to reach unbanked small businesses throughout the state by supporting the growth of community-based lenders.

“We’re continuing to expand our efforts to get capital into the hands of underbanked or unbanked small businesses across the U.S.,” said Joe Meginnes, the director of strategy at Calvert Impact who led the Fund’s development. “We’re grateful to collaborate with a partner like NJEDA who shares our commitment to building up the small business lending ecosystem and making more capital available to more borrowers across the state.”

The SSBCI loan participation programs were adapted from the work done through a series of pandemic recovery funds launched over the last three years by Calvert Impact, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA, Grow America (formerly National Development Council) and their community development financial institution (CDFI) partners across the U.S. To date, these funds have supported approximately 6,000 small businesses through nearly 40 community lenders nationally. The launch of the New Jersey Capital Access Fund follows after the launch of two other state-wide SSBCI programs, the Nevada Battle Born Growth Microloan program and the New York Forward Loan Fund 2.

“By partnering with Calvert Impact, we’re building out a financing structure that will improve the ability of small business owners in the Garden State to access essential credit,” said Christina Fuentes, vice president of Community and Business Development at the NJEDA. “Enabling CDFI lenders to reach under and unbanked communities will create a stronger small business sector.”

The Fund will provide small business loans through 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. The Fund is currently seeking additional lenders from local New Jersey CDFIs to participate in the program alongside Ascendus, Accion Opportunity Fund, Grow America Community Impact Loan Fund, and Pursuit Lending. Calvert Impact is the fund’s lead servicer and manager, and Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is the fund administrator.

“CRF is proud to continue our work with Calvert Impact and other community partners to maximize the impact of SSBCI programs like New Jersey Capital Access Fund,” said Patrick Davis, SVP Platform and Technology Services at CRF. “Together we can help support thriving communities by increasing access to capital and other resources for small businesses with a history of underinvestment.”

Program design and development were supported with grants from the Citi Foundation's Community Finance Innovation Fund and Wells Fargo.

“Community-based lenders have a central role to play in bolstering the small business ecosystem and we are excited to see our support for Calvert Impact help expand this program to benefit a third state lending initiative,” said Kristen Scheyder, Senior Program Officer at the Citi Foundation. “Leveraging the expertise of CDFIs is an important tool for unlocking access to affordable capital so that small businesses throughout New Jersey can thrive.”

“This new program will help CDFI lenders reach businesses that were previously unable to access affordable capital,” added Wells Fargo Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy Jenny Flores. “Now, small business owners across New Jersey will have access to loans that can help them grow their businesses, hire new employees, and expand their critical contributions to our communities.”

The New Jersey Capital Access Fund builds on Calvert Impact’s nearly thirty years of supporting community-based small business lenders so they can expand access to credit for small business owners across the country. Calvert Impact’s recently released entitled, “Small Business Community Finance: Scaling with Integrity” documents the evolution of small business finance sector and impact of these community-based lenders. More information about the loan program can be found at